Time: Not on the Recording Industry's Side II

Wednesday, February 18, 2004 | 05:56 AM


We previously noted a chart out of the WSJ detailing the many competing demands on the consumer's time.

Consider this data within the context of decreasing CD sales. Yet another reason sales are down: lack of time. There are simply many more attractions and forms of entertainment for the consumer dollar:

"The scramble for consumer attention is having ripple effects for other industries as well, particularly technology and advertising. So much is changing so quickly that NBC's head of research, Alan Wurtzel, predicts the period of 2003-2005 will in the future be seen as a "watershed change ... the beginning of a very different era."

Media options aren't just competing with each other. Consider this: Since 1973, the median number of hours that people say they work has jumped from 41 a week to 49, according to Harris Interactive, which does an annual survey of adults about their work and leisure time. That has mostly come out of people's leisure time, which has dropped from 26 to 19 hours a week over the same period, Harris reported."

Source: WSJ

Note who is failing to respond here:

"Media companies are scrambling to adapt to the new realities. While viewing of traditional broadcast TV is down dramatically in recent years, people are spending a lot more time watching cable and satellite channels, lifting overall household viewing over the past decade. Not surprisingly, the companies that own broadcast networks are buying up major cable channels. General Electric's NBC now owns Bravo and has agreed to buy USA and Sci-Fi. Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, also owns ESPN and ABC Family channel. Viacom Inc. owns MTV and Nickelodeon along with CBS.

As videogames siphon off young male viewers, some media companies may expand into that industry, possibly by buying existing videogame makers such as Electronic Arts, maker of such popular games as The Sims and Madden Football. Time Warner's Warner Bros. recently announced formation of an interactive gaming division. Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone has accumulated a significant personal stake in Midway Games Inc., a videogame maker.

Surprise! The music industry is nowhere to be found amongst the media groups seeking diversification into other venues.

And as we've previously discussed in a different context, one simply cannot oversimplify a complex mulitvariate system to one simple cause and effect equation.

Lastly, consider two other consumer technologies: DVR and Satellite Radio. These both are part of a trend where harried entertainment consumers are taking more control over the viewing/listening habits:

Technologies that help consumers manage and maximize their own time are gaining popularity, including cable-TV "on-demand" services that let viewers order movies or TV shows on their own schedule rather than a network's. The spread of low-cost DVD players is having a similar effect, as is TiVo and other "personal video recorders," which also let viewers skip through commercials. Such devices are now in roughly just 2% of U.S. households but growing fast, and increasingly available as part of cable-TV boxes.

This shift from passive to active consumption works against tightly scripted radio playlists. Yet another tastemaker -- radio -- is in the process of being marginalized.

Buddy, Can You Spare Some Time?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004 | 05:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)
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» wsj picks up on that attention thing from meta-roj blog
no surprise, one of our favorite wall-street-journal-reading, market-strategizing, philosophizing, take-it-back-to-new-york freaky money geeks picked up on it and gave me something to link to. here, we've done a whole series of things on the attention ... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 18, 2004 9:35:18 AM


I'm not sure I agree with your point. Music lends itself well to multitasking, for instance during those long transit and exercise hours that the WSJ's chart points to. Now, whether the CD is the right format to conveniently fill in those time slots, that's another question altogether.

Posted by: Olivier Travers | Feb 18, 2004 6:40:44 AM

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