This post isn't about business per se, but it does have long term ramifications for the marketplace in general, so bear with me. Last night, I realized I REALLY HATE commercials. Despise - Abhor - Loathe - Detest . . . You get my drift. I know, we all hate commercials — but they have become irrelevant to my viewing habits. They're just a nuisance.
My wife and I were watching 'Fear The Walking Dead' on AMC. We made the decision to record it on our DVR and then watch it with FF capability at 10 PM. At 10 PM, we started the recording and it seemed like there were 8-10 commercials during each break during the show (the show runs 43 minutes).
We really wanted to measure the span of the episode vs. the accumulated time of the commercials — we were almost sure they were the same. Here's the interesting part — we even hated commercials that we had to FF through. Why?
We've moved on. We have Netflix and Amazon on our TV (Roku), we watch them also on our iPads and MacBooks. Guess what? No commercials. In fact, my wife and I have been binge-watching The Good Wife (never saw it before) and are very comfortable flying through episodes with no breaks, commercials, or advertising. All for a small Amazon Prime payment each month.
We also use our DVR for almost all of our TV viewing habits. We record the shows and FLY through the commercials. So we don't even see them anymore — just fast moving pictures flashing on our screen — an annoyance for 5-10 seconds.
Here's the kicker — we're in our early 50's. I know that all generations after us, GenX, GenY, Millenials, etc., have even more fleeting TV viewing habits. In fact, most kids I know don't even watch TV anymore — they get all their entertainment from their iPhones, iPads, PC's, Twitch, YouTube and gaming consoles. Families rarely gather in front of the TV to watch shows together.
There's going to be a tipping point soon where advertisers quickly realize no one is watching their commercials. The rating systems are antiquated and really don't produce true viewer habits (read this and this and this). The viewing public is slowing moving away from conventional TV viewing and quickly abandoning any type of commercial exposure.
What will happen to TV and shows like The Good Wife, Arrow, and Fear The Walking Dead? I don't know — each episode probably runs the network millions of dollars to produce and the money needs to come from somewhere. Maybe the Netflix/Amazon model will take over (see what happened to Longmire). I love watching House of Cards and Daredevil — I wouldn't even mind paying more for Netflix/Amazon Prime if they substantially increased the amount of shows they release.
In the end, commercials are irrelevant to me. If things keep going the way they are, the only generation who will care about commercials are the people who care about the "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercials. Again, I understand commercials 'pay' for my show — but I really DON'T CARE.
If you're a business who advertises on TV, and you haven't started already, you better start anticipating major changes soon. This will greatly affect all aspects of TV as we know it — so if you're a network, you probably see the writing on the wall.
"Come gather 'round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you Is worth savin' Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin'"
The Times They Are A-Changin' — Bob Dylan