So Passé To Watch TV On A Plain Old TV Set

Television viewing is moving in two different, opposing directions: An increasing amount of TV is watched on oversized screens. (A sad report last week noted a rise in the number of toddlers killed when big TV sets topple over onto them.) At the same time, an increasing amount of TV is viewed on screens small enough that people can carry them hither and yon. As to the latter variety, a study by research firm Telephia finds that the mobile-TV audience in the U.S. grew 45 percent in the second quarter, reaching a total of 3.7 million subscribers. News, weather and sports programming garner the biggest shares of mobile-TV viewing. Elsewhere on the exotic-TV front, an Ipsos Insight study finds that 14 percent of 18-24-year-olds have downloaded TV shows from the Internet. So have 7 percent of 25-34-year-olds. Predictably, males age 12 and up are more likely than females to have downloaded TV shows (6 percent vs. 3 percent). While the overall incidence of such downloading has climbed sharply since 2005, the report cautions that downloading of full-length TV shows and movies remains “firmly entrenched as an early-adopter activity.” Still, a separate Associated Press/Ipsos Public Affairs survey makes it clear that downloading of video clips has become a mainstream phenomenon. Among adults with Internet access, 54 percent have used the Internet to download or watch a video clip. As the chart below indicates, a majority of downloaders regard their computer screen as the natural place for watching such material. Thus far, the ability to do this has had relatively little effect on their basic TV-viewing habits. Among those who have downloaded video, 10 percent said they now watch conventional TV less than before, while 3 percent watch more and 87 percent watch the same amount.