TSTP (Time Shifting Tipping Point)

timeshiftTSTP is not a 70s band best remembered for its music for Soul Train. That was TSOP (also known as The Sound of Philadelphia). Good sound, by the way.

TSTP is my abbreviation for the Time Shifting Tipping Point, which we have now reached. My definition of the tipping point is simply that the majority of TV viewing is not live– and we are now there. According to Hub Entertainment Research’s most recent study, Time Shifting … “Viewers time-shift more TV than they watch live. The average viewer says that 47% of the TV shows they watch are live and 53% are time-shifted.”

While the concept of time shifting is now 40 years old, the reality is that today’s DVRs make it easy to do so. The introduction of the VHS VCR (and the Betamax, remember them) back in the 70s created the idea that TV needn’t be viewed live, but the complexity of taping and later viewing made the reality back then far less than was originally envisioned. But today’s technology makes time shifted viewing far easier. For younger demos time shifting is even more common as according to the same study viewers 16-34 say that only 39% of the TV they watch in a typical week is live. Time shifting is still mainly through a set top box though that could change over time as well. Together, DVRs (34%) and Video on Demand (VOD) from a pay TV provider (19%) account for more than half of all time-shifted viewing.

There are obvious implications for advertisers. Live and event programming, always a premium, has even greater value. There’s less appointment viewing overall, but when it’s live and important to the viewer—sports, awards, etc—the advertising is more powerful and advertisers pay a signifcant premium for larger audience programming largely consumed live.

On the other hand, programming that is not viewed live still has value to advertisers. Obviously VOD viewing programming where fast forwarding is blocked certainly has significant value to an advertiser. But even recorded programming where many viewers fast forward through commercials still has value for those who get a quick recap of a spot they’ve seen and liked.

From the early days when TV was introduced to the American household in the 50s, it has rocked the way we get information and entertainment. It’s no news that today “TV” is far different. We get video where we want, when we want, in mobile and fixed devices, at home and away. And the advertising embedded in the programming always is and always has been an “uninvited guest”.

Great advertising, with a real idea and some entertainment value, is still welcome and becomes invited into our homes and into our minds.

Bad ads were never really welcome anyhow.

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