Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pick One: TV or the Internet - Which Do You Keep?

Right now it’s neck-and-neck, with the Internet pulling ahead of TV. A new study from Edison Research and Arbitron – the TV ratings people – says just over 49% of Americans would give up their TV before their Internet service, with 48% saying they’d rather keep TV than the Internet if they had to make a choice.

Edison, a respected research firm, says when the question was first asked in 2001, nearly three-quarters of those polled (72%) said they’d give up the Internet before they’d give up TV. Every year since then, the Internet has trended toward being our favorite choice, to the point now where it’s pretty much 50-50.

The way we get news, and the way we consume media, is rapidly changing.

More than a quarter of American adults now say they get news on their cell phone. Three-quarters of smart-phone users say they get their weather forecast from their phone. And now, just about every American (92%) say they use multiple sources (TV, radio, print, Internet, phone) to get their daily dose of news.

Local TV news still ranks top among news consumers, but national network news is a close second. Next in rank order is online news….like what you’re reading right now….followed by radio news, local newspapers, and national newspapers. Only half of the Americans surveyed now say they actually read a local newspaper, while 78% say they get it from TV, and about half say they listen to radio news at home or in the car.

Half of the people surveyed by the Pew Internet and American Life Project say they use four to six different “platforms” every day to get their news.

We’re also becoming far more “interconnected” in our own homes, as TV and the Internet continue to blend together. Liechtman Research Group data says a quarter of American homes have an Internet-to-TV connection, and 5% of us are watching stuff like YouTube and Hulu on our TV’s, not on a computer screen.

My friend, top-notch radio consultant Holland Cooke pulled all this information together. He’s the guy doing his best to help AM radio stations stay alive in the midst of all this new competition.

One other tidbit: Cooke writes slogans for a living (among other things) and his headline on this item is “Are you ready for some phone-ball?” Verizon Wireless has just signed a $720-million four-year deal to stream NFL games – yes, stream to cell phone users – who will pay $13 a month.

To watch NFL games on their phone.

No thanks….I’ll be seated in front of my 65-inch HDTV on Sunday afternoons this fall. The times are changing, but, in my opinion in this case, not for the better.

Football on a phone. No thanks.


  1. TV is just a passive interface device.

    Internet is an interactive delivery system, a disruptive technology (ask the radio, TV and newspaper folks) and the greatest communication tool since the invention of movable type.

    The fact that you can watch the same event on a giant screen or a telephone suggests the question of choosing one or the other is close to being moot.

  2. Definitely Internet-heavy, here. We haven't had a cable TV subscription for over 10 years, we don't subscribe to any newspapers and only two magazines. The Gannett web sites are uniformly awful but if I want to check local news that's where I go (Appleton Post-Crescent). I like news director Jonathan Krause (a fellow blogger of yours, Colonel) at WMGV/WOSH, but I don't listen to radio much...just in the car.

    I'm looking forward to affording a new laptop or slate to use in bed. My wife has an iPod Touch which she uses to check the weather every morning. You should have heard her yesterday: "WHAT?!?!? FIVE INCHES OF SNOW???!!!!"