Voice had a Life Cycle; Does TV Also Have a Life Cycle?

It has been a shocking revelation that voice service is a product like any other, with a product life cycle. Up to this point, it has been fixed network voice that has encountered the cycle.

Mobile voice is on the way, as is text messaging.

Now TV is starting to look as though it will demonstrate it also is a product with a life cycle. 

As with voice and messaging, the maturation of a particular product doesn't always mean people abandon an activity, but that the activity occurs in new ways.

Those new ways of behaving often change the business and industry context, as a result. People still talk, but use Skype. People still send messages, but use WhatsApp.

As television starts to change, people will still watch video and films. But they might consume that video in different ways.

So there are many good reasons why John Malone, Liberty Media chairman, now argues U.S. cable operators need to band together to create a single content-buying entity. 

Among the advantages would be the ability to create a branded over the top video service that could compete with the likes of Netflix.

That likely will be more important in the future if people continue to shift viewing towards online content, and especially if content owners decide to shift more content availability in the online direction.

The evidence for a shift in behavior continues to mount. And though content owners will not move prematurely, so as not to upside their lucrative deals with cable, satellite and telco TV distributors, sooner or later they will have to move.

A third (34 percent) of Millennials surveyed on behalf of the New York Times watch mostly online video or do not watch broadcast television.

The study of more than 4,000 online video users also found that news sites were more popular than sports for online-video watchers, but they were far less popular than video hosting sites like YouTube.

Millennials generally are defined as people born between 1980 and 2000 and includes over 75 million people.

The data likely would not surprise many, given the widespread shift to use of online video. In fact, so common is online video consumption that the next frontier has become mobile consumption of video, and that also is growing significantly.

About 10 percent of all video viewed in the first quarter of 2013 globally was watched on a mobile or tablet device, representing an increase of 19 percent, year over year.

In the U.S. market, the trend is even more pronounced. Mobile consumption of video in 2013 in the United States probably will surpass time spent watching traditional TV screens.

U.S. adults will in 2013 spend an average of two hours and 21 minutes per day on non-voice mobile activities.

That includes mobile Internet usage on phones and tablet, while mobile device is up nearly an hour from 2012 levels.

The share of viewing on smart phones and tablets is still rising at a pace similar to that of 2012, according to Ooyala.

The kind of video being watched online is changing as well. Viewers are watching more longer-form video. About 25 percent of the content watched on tablets globally in the first quarter of  2013 was 60 minutes long or more (long form content).

And nearly an additional 20 percent was at least 30 minutes long. In all, more than 50 percent of all content watched on tablets was more than 10 minutes long or longer.

To be sure, the New York Times survey excluded people who say they do not watch online video. But one wonders how many people are in that category. A Canadian study confirms that people of every age group watch online video. So does a study of U.K. Web users.

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