Evolution of Television, Binge Watching + TV Advertising [Infographic]

Posted on April 4, 2017 by Media Culture

In our latest infographic, we review the evolution of television and many of the most important trends in TV and media consumption over the past century or so (yes, including binge watching!).  When we took a deep look into the history of television, we see all sorts of changes and developments in TV trends, statistics and viewing habits over the years.

Our timeline for this infographic starts in 1927, when American inventor Philo Farnsworth designed the first TV. About 14 years later in 1941, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) authorized commercial broadcasting, also known as private broadcasting, or programming put out by privately owned media. Fast forward to present times and by 2016, 50.8% of the U.S. population was consuming digital TV.

Television statistics by generation

As you might expect, each generation has its own ways of consuming, enjoying and managing its TV habits:

  • We found that Baby Boomers prefer watching live programming on their television sets, are very loyal to networks and tend to discover TV programs through ads.
  • Gen X is most likely to go out of its way to avoid commercials by recording and watching TV shows on a DVR, and its members are almost equally likely to find programs via TV ads, word-of-mouth and loyalty to networks.
  • Millennials most value the ability to stream their shows anytime/anywhere on a mobile device. Trends in millennials media consumption show this generation relies most heavily on word-of-mouth to discover TV programs. 

What about binge watching?

For many, binge watching as a way to watch multiple episodes of one TV program in a short period of time is all the rage with viewers these days.

In fact, 70% of Americans binge watch TV shows, with the average number of episodes per binge session at five. While it is a widespread trend today, this kind of all-in-one-sitting-TV-consumption was unheard of just a decade (or less!) ago.

As far as a generational breakdown of who is doing the binge watching, Millennials come in first at 84%, Gen X at 76% and Baby Boomers at 58%. About one-third of binge watchers are engaging in this activity at least once a week.

Netflix and Hulu are the most watched streaming services for this TV viewing activity. The most popular TV programs include names you likely recognize well, including Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Pretty Little Liars, Westworld and The Flash. 

What is the impact on TV advertisers?

Of course, advertisers have had to adjust to ever-evolving TV viewing habits over the years, and the streaming trend is no different.

For instance, since viewers are watching less live TV and opting for their DVR and other subscription services, advertisers rely on live viewership to measure linear ad views and generate TV ad revenues.

In our infographic below, you can also see the projected TV vs. digital ad spending covering 2015-2020. The projected significant increase on the digital ad spending side is impressive, while TV ad spending is expected to have a bit of a bump, also on the upside.

Finally, we take a closer look at cross-channel video advertising, including in-stream video ads, display video ads, mobile video ads and programmatic TV ads.



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