Friday, February 26, 2010

Media consumption has definitely changed

Reuters reports that more people watched live webcasts (http://bit.ly/bWnejI)of Obama's inauguration than watched it on TV.

I noticed my own media consumption habits changing several years ago. As a journalist and early adopter of technology, I can't regard my own behaviour as typical. But it dawned on me last Wednesday, while watching a webcast of the U.S. House Committe on Oversight and Government Reform grilling Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda (http://bit.ly/cTx81P), that it's been almost a decade since I looked to TV for breaking news.

Even my entertainment requirements have shifted to my laptop, as I prefer to use it and an HDMI cable to feed DVDs and other media to my TV. The TV's actually a recent addition (I don't subscribe to cable), because it was awkward to have more than two people gather round a laptop to watch something. When I'm alone, I still tend to just watch a DVD on my laptop, unless it's something with special effects that are more spectacular on a larger screen. Unlike my TV, I can watch things on my laptop while walking on my treadmill, soaking in the tub, or as I nod off at night.

If every news outlet synced up webcasts with live broadcasts of news, and every TV show provided downloads of episodes as they were airing, I'd happily download them, instead of buying seasons on DVD or, the alternative for many, watching torrents.

TV and the Web aren't just merging. They already have. Just as in traffic, some folks are early mergers and some are late mergers.

But we're all merging and it's time for broadcasters to catch up by providing streams or downloads with geotargeted ads.

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