The people who make TVs are, for the most part, Boomers, and the people who watch TV are not while representing the majority of people who you want buying TVs. Nope. When it comes to emerging user, recent data suggests that they don’t want anything to do with past generations’ ideas of what TV watching is or should be. Overwhelmingly, new generations of TV watchers are growing up with a mobile first mindset.
This doesn’t really signal the end of big screens or the home cinema experience. Video didn’t kills the radio star, and all that. Short form video is by far the largest and most accessible format for many generations who are getting their viewing experiences from Tik Tok, YouTube, and other social media outlets. If you ever want to lose a night without blacking out in a drunken haze try scrolling through Tik Tok’s videos. It’s amazing how it can suck you in, whatever age you are.
What the data does how, however, is that priorities change for buyers, and over time, habits become ingrained, the kind of habits that have you thinking, do I really need a new TV or just a better phone. But there’s more to it than just the change in tastes in form factors. Maybe the pandemic had something to do it, and maybe it was inevitable, but social watching is an established cultural touchstone for many younger audiences. Instead of sitting with the family to watch something that everyone can agree on – something that everyone can agree on doesn’t exist, by the way – generations are growing up picking and choosing exactly what they want, and sharing the experience with the people that really matter: their friends and peers. Maybe that’s why there’s something like VIZIOgram.
Gamers are notoriously good at social watching experiences being both players of massive multiplayer online games, and also watchers of other people playing those same games while they crowd around a chat window with their friends. The social context of TV viewing has moved from a fixed location, the living room, to a virtual one where shared viewing is happening across the internet.
We are in the middle of an economic downturn in the display industry, like many other industries are experiencing, and demand is going to be down for a while. The question remains, will it come back and if so, why? You can probably say that manufacturing had been overstocking channels thinking the good times will never end, that we are seeing a readjustment in the markets, an arc that bends towards normality, after the heady days of the pandemic. We all brought a lot of crap while we trapped at home thinking that we should hunker down and enjoy it while we could. There is a popular adage that says if you stick to something for 8 weeks it can become a habit. Great for exercise and healthy eating, but not so good for markets waiting for you to go back to your old shopping ways.