By Gord Mummery

By Gord Mummery

Director of Canadian National Accounts

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Welcome! I’m hoping this blog provides the opportunity to reflect on historical influences in our business, allows you to reflect on drivers for change, and perhaps adjust your business model to remain competitive.  I’ve tried to keep this relatively light, with links that provide access to whitepapers and datasheets that might help you with your next business challenge.

I invite comments, personal anecdotes, and questions. I look forward to responding.

The Beginning of Channel Surfing

What was the single greatest invention of the 20th century? The airplane? The transistor? Fibre optic communications?

If you were to ask my father in the mid 70’s, he would have held up the remote control for the 32” console television he had just brought home. And if you consider the impact on human behaviour that manifests with the introduction of technology, perhaps he was right. At least it was, growing up in our house.

Prior to this, that top dial on the television did not get a lot of attention. It may have stayed stationary for two or three hours, supplying continuous entertainment. Imagine watching the same channel, starting off with Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and Jim wrestling snakes in the Amazon ( the river, not the online shopping experience ), followed immediately by Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, then 60 Minutes, and then off to bed. What was the show that kept you glued to the television?

Now with the remote in hand, we learned to pay attention. My father had the ability to watch two, three, maybe four television shows at the same time, all on the same screen. Filling in the plot details didn’t seem to be much of a problem. Television ads were a thing of the past. In fact, the ads were a vehicle to enhance one’s ability to watch even more programs, god forbid that one might have to watch an entire thirty-second ad. I think this is important to note, as I don’t believe my father was alone with this behaviour.

The introduction of the remote was a problem for the people who produced and paid for ads on television, or at least it forced them to up their game and create ads that demanded our attention.

The Attention Span of Today’s Viewer

What I find interesting now is my father’s behaviour foreshadowed the typical behaviour of today’s content target. Gone are the days when an individual could focus on half an hour of continuous content. I would suggest any content longer than 5 minutes risks interruption.

The only possibility of this to change would be for the Toronto Maple Leafs to become a Stanley Cup contender, but that is doubtful. Why should next year be any different than the last 53 years?

Of course, the Leaf comment was in jest, but the point is that human behaviour is significantly different than a generation ago, and the effectiveness of the advertisements that have funded our historic television infrastructure is a large factor in shaping the content systems of the future.

Here is the big difference today.

I have two children. Ages 13 and 15. My children have never touched a TV remote. Does this mean they take in less content? To the contrary, my personal observations indicate that anyone under 30 years of age takes in more content. The majority is on a small screen, not a large screen. Advertisers have learned to embrace this with the help of internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Apple. Instead of adopting my father’s behaviour of switching programs when an ad comes on, ads are now targeted so that they may pique the interest of a viewer in a way that traditional delivery of content can not compete.

What does this mean for your incumbent television provider?

Want to Learn More?

Want to learn more about current technology changes? We have an entire Industry Report on the Pay-TV industry in 2021 where we explore key trends, predictions, and opportunities for growth.

Read our Report – The WISI Pay-TV Industry Report 2021

By Gord Mummery

By Gord Mummery

Director of Canadian National Accounts

With over 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, Gord has worked with companies across North America, Europe and Asia to deliver industry-leading video and data solutions. Based in Toronto, Ontario, if you can’t find Gord in a customer headend or boardroom working to solve the next challenge, you just might catch him fishing in a tournament.