TiVo: Rumors of Traditional TV’s Death Greatly Exaggerated

Thu May 5, 2016

Kathy Crosett

If the latest reports are to be believed, nobody’s interested in watching TV anymore. Of course, people want to write about exciting new trends.tvviewersportsfan But when excitement leads to exaggeration, it’s time for a second look. TiVo’s new study has great news for media sales reps who specialize in  selling traditional TV.

TiVo recently surveyed 30,000 of its opt-in subscribers about their TV viewing habits. This approach may seem a little bizarre since TiVo already knows exactly what everybody is watching. But, the purpose of this survey was to discover consumer attitudes about what they consider to be “must-keep” programming. This information is especially helpful in the era of cord-cutting and online video streaming.  Here’s what respondents say they must keep:

  • ABC 77%
  • CBS 76%
  • NBC 75%
  • FOX 57%

TiVo didn’t divulge whether it also asked its subscribers why they value the networks. But, we can guess that local programming certainly plays a role. Consumers want to know what is happening in their local markets and they turn to morning and evening news programming for that information. In an election year, as a recent GfK Voting Funnel survey found, local TV stations are extremely effective at generating awareness of issues and candidates.

Cable TV networks also fare well when consumers consider their ‘must-keep’ lists.   A Pew Research Center report recently found that 24% of U.S. adults don’t currently subscribe to cable or satellite TV service. At least 71% of these folks say it’s all about money. But, Klint Finley pointed out in a Wired.com article, cord-cutters often start paying piece by piece for their must-have programming and before they know it, they’re paying as much as they were before they cancelled their service. The TiVo survey finds that 3 popular cable TV networks, AMC, FX and USA are in the 8, 9, and 10 spots for must-have programming.

Much has been made of original programming offered by new services who might pose a big challenge to traditional TV media providers. These services are gaining audiences but they don’t have the numbers or the loyalty that the traditional networks and cable TV stations have established. About 28% of TiVo subscribers said that Amazon Prime is a ‘must-keep’ service while 8% say the same about Hulu originals.

When your accounts start talking about how TV advertising might be effective, share the TiVo survey numbers with them and encourage them to boost their TV ad budgets to reach more potential customers.

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About Kathy Crosett

Kathy is the Research Director for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel.

View all posts by Kathy Crosett