“What’s this ‘television’ contraption you keep going on about?” - Son-father conversation

According to a Nielson study that comes out today, kids are watching their stories less and less on actual TV sets. Phones, tablets, and computers fill the gap nicely for Americans, ages 12-34. Kids, and let’s just think of a 34-year-old as a kid for a moment, want to watch everything, everywhere, any time, which often leads to improvising when there’s not TV set available. From the New York Times, “It has long been predicted that these new media would challenge traditional television viewing, but this is the first significant evidence to emerge in research data. If the trends hold, the long-term implications for the media industry are huge, possibly causing billions of dollars in annual advertising spending to shift away from old-fashioned TV.”

You’d think that YouTube might be able to make a little scratch off the 4 billion videos people are watching every day. According to a recent New Yorker article, that hasn’t been the case so far: “Advertisers spend some sixty billion dollars a year on television; they spend only about three billion on online video.”
For now traditional television watching is holding steay (phew!), thanks in big part to Americans over 65, who are watching more TV than ever. Still, I have to wonder, how many parents are trying to watch Downton Abbey while getting a major eye-roll from their teens. Solution: let mom and dad watch the TV box, while junior swipes through some videos on the phone. Everybody wins and the sea change in how we watch our media begins.

About the author

Marc Sanchez is the technical director and associate producer for Marketplace Tech Report where he is responsible for shaping the sound of the show.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation