Everything’s fine. It really is.

I know this is harsh, but I’m tired of industry attempts to prove that everything’s just fine. It’s not.

In a real shocker, a study by the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB) finds that people prefer watching video on TV instead of on the internet. I don’t object to the cable industry trying to make itself look good (that IS the role of the CAB), but I have problems with press releases that spin numbers without providing the numbers and the questions that produced them.

For example, MediaDailyNews reports that the study finds that viewing videos online is far down the list when it comes to why people use the internet (search is first). And this is a bulletin? They then use this finding to bolster other statements.

The study found that 60 percent of people prefer watching TV to computer activity, and 65 percent of the time when compared to a video iPod or a PlayStation.
Again, you don’t need a “study” to validate common sense, but here’s the real gem:
The tolerance level of advertising on mobile devices isn’t the same as on traditional TV, the survey found. The CAB study says viewers can only tolerate ads that are 10 seconds or less on mobile devices, even when there is a promise of free content.
Who says viewers “tolerate” 30-second ads on TV? There’s plenty of evidence to the contrary among TiVo users.

I’m sorry, but this is a self-serving bunch of crap that offers no insight and no relevance to what’s really taking place in the world of television (including cable) today. The latest Guardian column by Jeff Jarvis, on the other hand, offers plenty.

…the definition of television is up for grabs. What is TV now? We don’t know yet, for every time I think I’ve spotted all the sticks of dynamite set to explode under old, linear television, I discover new fuses sizzling.

…All the old definitions of TV are in shambles. Television need not be broadcast. It needn’t be produced by studios and networks. It no longer depends on big numbers and blockbusters. It doesn’t have to fit 30- and 60-minute moulds. It isn’t scheduled. It isn’t mass. The limits of television — of distribution, of tools, of economics, of scarcity — are gone. So now, at last, we can ask not what TV is, but what it can be.

Go read Jeff’s whole column for the evidence and then ask yourself why the cable industry is paying Magid big bucks to produce the kind of stuff you’ll find above. The answer is the essential conflict between Media 1.0 and Media 2.0.

No observer I know (including Jeff) is suggesting that watching TV on TV is going away. We like big screens. But to hide behind that and then suggest that advertising on new platforms is somehow less “effective,” because people won’t “tolerate” anything beyond 10 seconds is manipulative and foolish.

One of the hallmarks of Media 2.0 is that it respects people (after all, they’re in charge anyway), something that the cable industry clearly does not.


  1. thedetroitchannel says


    if you think about it, would they have even asked these questions (people prefer to watch video on tv vs. the internet) 2 years ago?

    one year ago?

    kennedy used to say: there are 3 kinds of people in this world; those that make things happen, those that watch things happen and those who say “what happened???”


  2. Am I the only one that finds this a classic shell game, (you know, tell me which shell the ball is under)? People prefer watching a video on TV (an electronic device), instead of the internet (an evolving medium).…Of course people prefer watching their favorite video on the comfort of their couch in front of their big screen television, rather than on a computer screen. ( A computer screen is not the internet). But what happens when that big screen television becomes the screen to view all things “internet?” The CAB should know all about multiplexing servers that will soon become as common in the household as a DVD player.

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