Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Prime time: Just another brick in the wall

In part 2 of what is shaping up as Accenture Week (see part 1 here), I'm catching up on Accenture's Consumer Broadcast Study. The document has lots of lovely findings from their global look at consumer interest in the medium formerly known as television.

To quote the challenge being made to the traditional definition of the network television model:

"Consumers are seeking out the content brands they want regardless of channels, rather than sticking with a channel they know. The message is clear: the days of the line-up are numbered − and the value of “must-see TV” in prime time is falling."

Another way to say this is that technology separates the value of the network from the content that rides it. Network television has always tried to own both.

Now, though, if you are a content owner, you want your content on every network that will distribute it. If you are a network owner, you want all the content you can get. YouTube for instance. Or Flikr. Millions of content owners seeking their own audiences. So there's that.

And in addition to the usual youth-is-the-trend-to-watch findings (they want what they want and they want it when they want it on any device they choose...who'd have thought it!), there is a set of charts in the report that caught my eye(s) on the relationship between advertising and economics:

Looking at both charts, regardless of age: more people would choose to pay to download a TV show they want to watch than would choose to watch advertisements in lieu of paying.

Of course I'd like to see how the question was asked and to explore the nuance of the responses (e.g., how much would you be willing to pay, for instance), but it certainly seems that, in a broad sense, advertising's perceived 'underwriting value' to consumers isn't something to bank on.

Then again, online you don't have to implement mass-media approaches. Let those who would pay, pay. And for those who would trade their time on the planet for ad-supported content? Well, let them eat advertising.

Diversionary link on the value of being a brick in the wall:

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