TV Fragmented in Delivery, Not in Consumption

Anybody recall the Bruce Springsteen song, “57 Channels and Nothin’ On” from 20+ years ago?

We’d like to give Bruce props here for being somewhat prophetic, especially since he’s a Jersey guy. Had the same song been written today, the lyrics might be a little different, given the concentration of TV viewing in households with 200+ channel systems.

TV Viewing Remains Concentrated

Citi analysts released a report showing, even with the explosion of television channels, TV viewing remains concentrated in a small number of channels (read: broadcast stations are squarely anchored in the “most watched” group).

From the article:

In a report released Thursday, Citi analysts Jason Bazinet, Thomas Singlehurst, Michael Rollings, Mark May, and Catherine O’Neill shared this chart of number of cable channels received (light blue) by cable subscribers and the number of channels actually viewed (dark blue). “Back in 1994, US consumers watched about 25% of the channels they could receive,” they wrote. “By 2013, there were nearly 200 channels, but the average household watched just 17 channels.”

Next time you hear the oft-cited objection “Yeah, but television is so fragmented today … so many channels!” (Wait for it … here it comes again in 5, 4, 3 …), you have a great data point to share.

Long story short: Television is fragmented in delivery only. It is not fragmented in consumption.

Read the full article here: Number of Cable Channels Received vs. Viewed | Business Insider.


Dave Eckstein, ESA & Company | Real. Local. Results: 2012Dave Eckstein is a Partner in the firm ESA & Company. He specializes in highly profitable market share growth for local businesses and gets a kick out of demonstrating a declining cost of customer acquisition. He plays baseball, but isn't that Dave Eckstein.

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