Fall TV 2016 – NBC Data Guru Alan Wurtzel on How People Watch TV – And Want to Watch

Alan Wurtzel, NBC’s President of Research and Media Development, barely finished speaking to television critics at last summer’s TCA fall TV event about new TV viewing behaviors before Deadline.com summarized his presentation into a succinct headline: “Viewers Won’t Adopt Existing Series If They Can’t Easily Access All Past Episodes.” Sound familiar? It should to those immersed in “stacking,” time-shifted viewing, C3 ratings, binge-watching, and anyone else interested in understanding why viewing hours are increasing and live ratings are on the decline. Here are some other key points, quotes, and insights from his the state-of-the-viewer:
– 8 out of 10 people agree they’re watching TV differently than they did several years ago
– Video consumption now is 5 hrs 46 min, up from 4 hrs 55 min in 2000. In 2007, it was 5 hrs 24 min.
– “Streaming is a big deal.” The average individual streams about 1 hour and 35 minutes daily
– “I think we can fairly say that the DVR’s reign is about to end.”
– “The real story are the Internet-connected devices, the smart TVs.”
– 67% “no longer feel the need to watch new episodes when they first show up.”
– Time shifted viewing is that it’s now become a choice. It’s not a default.
– 80% say, “With so many good shows to choose from, I’m more selective than I used to be.” And 47% say, “I usually wait until I’ve heard good things about a show before I start to watch.”
– 57% are likely to choose a TV source that makes discovery easy, and that’s versus 48% just a year ago. So it’s a 10% increase, because people are getting overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that’s out there.
– 57%, say there are so many shows to choose from, it’s very, very hard to know where to start. And 7 out of 10 consumers, viewers, say they want some kind of curation to make the job of finding and choosing contend easier.
– 75% of our respondents said, “I would watch more primetime broadcast TV if the networks made it easy for me to catch up to the current season by making all the past episodes available online or on demand.”
– 72% said, “I’m more likely to start watching a returning series this fall on broadcast networks if I have access to all the past episodes on demand or online so I can catch up.”
– “If there’s one thing I think you need to take away in the stacking world is the following statistic: 54% of people said, “I will only watch or start a current TV series that has basically been airing for a while” I’m sorry 54% said they won’t start watching a show if they don’t have access to prior episodes. So over half of the sample says, “If I can’t see stuff before I go to the new episodes, I’m not going to watch it.” That’s a big deal. And I had a third grade teacher, Mrs. Hurschler, who said, “A word to the wise is sufficient.” And I think that everybody in the business has to take heed of that 54% because it’s a huge issue. This is what people want, and we have to figure out a way to get it to them.”
– “All of this means that there are new ways to watch television.”