Traditional TV programmers should feel uneasy about some of the findings out today from consulting firm Deloitte’s seventh annual State Of The Media Democracy study. Only 64% of U.S. consumers ranked TV watching as one of their three favorite media activities, down from 69% in 2011 and 71% in 2010, the firm found in a November online survey of 2,129 people. Just 40% of 14-to-23-year-olds put TV among the Top Three. About 51% of TV viewers have connected their sets to the Internet — and another 16% have the equipment to do so. And there’s a sharp increase in the number of people who frequently watch shows on platforms where ratings aren’t measured, or where ads can be avoided. Some 21% (up from 11% in 2011) watch free online video services while 14% (vs. 9%) watch discs of previous seasons and 13% (vs. 4%) watch on a smartphone or mobile device. The number of people viewing shows from an online peer-to-peer network was up to 8% from 3% in 2011, and includes 16% of Millennials. Viewers also are distracted: Just 19% said that they always or almost always just watch TV when they tune in. But 27% said that they browse and surf the Web, 26% read email, and 23% either send text messages or use a social network. Here, too, the numbers are much higher among viewers under 30. The changing behavior “impacts both the entertainment and advertising industries, and highlights the continued importance of using multiple platforms and devices to build brands and engage consumers,” says Deloitte Consulting Director Alma Derricks.
Watching TV shows online has become the norm for young viewers, and most networks have embraced that. (The CW even started selling spots in full episodes of its shows streamed online this past upfront as part of “convergence packages”). But there have been two notable holdouts, Fox’s American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance,