Entertaining America is our No. 1 job at CBS, so staying on top of the latest home entertainment gadgets and technological trends is central to everything we do. Times change, strategies shift, yet certain themes persist. Time and time again, platform innovations have sparked revolutions in programming, from radio to television, black-and-white TV to color, standard-definition programming to HD. With each breakthrough technology comes new potential for creative storytelling and an enhanced home entertainment experience.
Here’s a list of three noteworthy trends we’ve got our eye on in today’s digital home.
- More televisions, more viewing: According to Nielsen’s latest Television Audience Report, the average American home now has 2.93 TV sets per household, up from 2.86 sets per home in 2009. This is the largest year-over-year increase since 2006. Television is an indispensable part of the American household; on average there are more TV sets per home than people. This goes to show that roughly 70 years since it was introduced to the American public, television continues to serve as one of our greatest cultural connectors. At the same time, people are using the abundance of screens to watch more television than ever. Daily viewing has grown steadily for the past three decades. The average viewer watches 8.5 hours of TV per day!
- More choices: The number of channels available on the average programming package more than doubled over the past decade, yet most TV households actually view less than a fifth of the channels available to them. The proliferation of new digital options has become so complex that Nielsen has officially discontinued the measurement of how many TV channels people watch. The important takeaway is that an overabundance of choice does not always translate to actual viewership. Consumers still gravitate to known and trusted programming sources like CBS and look to us for help with guidance and discovery.
- More ways to watch: A few years ago, pundits were speculating that the Internet would kill television. Increasingly, however, the Internet is being used and perceived as TV’s “wingman.” One in seven people who were watching the Super Bowl and the Olympics opening ceremony this year were surfing the Web at the same time. According to Nielsen, Americans are using TV and the Internet together 35 percent more than they were a year ago. That’s a big change in a short amount of time. As programmers, our goal is to give people what they want to watch, how they want to watch it. Increasingly that will mean offering a multiplatform experience that brings together the television set, the PC, and the mobile phone.
The common thread running through each of these trends is that people watch programs, not technology. Great stories and characters continue to drive the home entertainment space, and the best new technologies act as enablers of the experience.