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Published on February 25th, 2008 | by Tom


Oscar’s Weak Showing Speaks Volumes About State of TV, Movies

Jump points throughout history bring big change, but arrive in small doses. The trick is to watch the trend lines.

If we read the writing on the wall from two very fresh data points on popular media, TV and movies as we know them are in for a rough transition.

Point 1.

The overnight results announced today by Nielsen Media Research says preliminary ratings for the 80th annual Academy Awards telecast are 14 percent lower than the least-watched ceremony ever. In other words, TV that celebrates cinema is apparently a dud with viewers who would rather use their attention in new ways.

Point 2.

Meanwhile, a report from tech and media consultancy IDG issued a few days ago says that the Internet is where people spend the most time browsing–32.7 hours per week.

Results are based on a sample of 992 U.S. residents 15 years of age or older, who frequently use the Internet, including quotas by gender, age group, ethnicity, region, and income.

The firm says people spend 70.6 hours per week on average with all media. They spend 16.4 hours glued to television and 3.9 hours with newspapers and magazines.

Karsten Weide, the study’s program director of digital media and entertainment, confirms what the ad media market has been doing for the past few years, as broadband Internet access has mostly supplanted narrower conduits making the Web a video medium. “This suggests that advertising budgets will continue to be shifted out of television, newspapers, and magazines into Internet advertising.”

There is growing evidence that the old exchange of content for attention is changing and the resulting tsunami could wipe out those players who fail to pay heed to the trend lines. That means you Hollywood.

Maybe next year’s Academy Awards celebration should be webcast instead.

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