According to Nielsen’s forthcoming Advertising & Audiences Report, the average U.S. TV home now receives 189 TV channels—a record high and significant jump since 2008, when the average home received 129 channels. Despite this increase, however, consumers have consistently tuned in to an average of just 17 channels.
Remarkable piece of data, especially how the number of regularly watched channels has stayed constant over time; clearly people see no need to expand their viewing habits, so most channels are there just to justify the bills from cable operators. This is more-or-less how I use TV these days: despite having around 150 channels available, me and my family are regularly tuning in to 10-20 of them and many people I know have given up on TV altogether.
There are a number of problems with the current situation: on one hand customers are paying for services they rarely need; on the other, with channels exclusive to some operators, some market segments are untapped and revenues lost. The bundling practiced by cable companies is raising artificial barriers in the market, somewhat similar to how you needed to buy an entire album from music companies to listen to a song or two – before streaming services came along. There is great potential here for new business models, for example Internet providers offering TV streaming with the option to pay for the number of hours watched or per TV show – imagine paying for sports channels only when an important championship is on. The content producers would get much more accurate information about the viewing habits of their customers, but they could also see a big revenue drop initially – which is why the current system is unfortunately here to stay…
via Om Malik