TV remote controllers in trouble with 18-34 demographic


In the present-day configuration of the average American living room, the person with the remote controls what appears on the television screen. But the day may not be far off when everyone in the room with a mobile device can duel for control.

As with most changes to the way we use media, the younger generation figures to drive the television remote control into extinction. In this case, they would prefer to control the television set with a smartphone, tablet or a computer keyboard. 41% of the demo would make the change right now if they could, according to a new survey.

According to Business Wire, the study comes from Altman Vilandrie & Company and Research Now.

Other points: Only about a third of the demo watch programs on TV at the time they are scheduled for broadcast, using various time-shifting techniques instead (as opposed to 58% of 35+ individuals); and the practice of “cord-shaving,” or reducing the menu of cable TV options ordered is also increasing, as the younger crowd uses alternative methods of accessing the programming they want.

Altman Vilandrie’s Jonathan Hurd said, “Instead of the age-old argument about who holds the TV remote, families will soon be squabbling over whose smartphone is controlling the TV. More and more, a new generation of viewers wants to watch TV and movies on their own schedule and with their own smartphones, computers and tablets. Consumers are removing the shackles of the traditional primetime TV lineup and creating their own personal networks of preferred programming and viewing times.”

According to the study, use of the internet is increasing the practice of cord-shaving in general, and about a quarter of 18-34s have seriously considered going all the way to cord cutting. However, less than 5% have taken that step as of yet.

The study notes that cable still has an opportunity to compete, but it must differentiate in a positive manner from new emerging online program distribution platforms.

RBR-TVBR observation: We remember when the concept of lead-in programming was a key network scheduling consideration since for most viewers, changing a television channel involved walking across the room to the set and actually turning a knob, something which some were too lazy to do. Our own household 12-17s have no idea – but of course, the first time they saw a typewriter we had to explain to them what it was.