Many PR people don’t pay attention to national TV ratings, but at Mediabistro it’s part of our job description.
Even those who don’t track Nielsen numbers know that people aren’t watching as much basic cable as they used to because of more channels, more options, more annoyances, and a lack of compelling programs.
Check out the Emmys next time to see how many statues HBO, Showtime and AMC win…and if you’ve seen “House of Cards” or “Orange is the New Black,” then you know why Netflix is now a powerful player in this conversation.
OK, but the company’s CEO Reed Hastings just predicted that TV as we know it will be dead by 2030.
The self-serving statement came from Hastings during a trip to Mexico City, according to The Hollywood Reporter. His open door was a reporter asking about a recent Wall Street Journal article revealing that ratings master Nielsen will use “audio on televisions to identify shows, but the measurement will not include mobile devices.”
“It’s not very relevant. There’s so much viewing that happens on a mobile phone or an iPad that [Nielsen won’t] capture.”
In other words, Hastings doesn’t need no stinking ratings — he’s got the complete obliteration of live, ad-sponsored TV. In his opinion.
“It’s kind of like the horse, you know, the horse was good until we had the car. The age of broadcast TV will probably last until 2030.”
This isn’t the first time Hastings has proclaimed the demise of TV as we know it.
“People love TV content and we watch over a billion hours a day of linear TV,” Hastings wrote in 2013 as part of an 11-page manifesto on the future of TV. “But people don’t love the linear TV experience where channels present programs at particular times on non-portable screens with complicated remote controls.”
While he’s right about mobile eating into the traditional TV model, he’s wrong about people being unwilling to pay for it.
He might want to remember that a vast majority of Netflix customers are also both TV owners and cable subscribers.