Media: increasing Audience Fragmentation is certain

…as the chart blow shows (I just ran across this on Tumblr somewhere, and added it to my photo stream which means I can’t find the original source anymore – sorry about that, attribution-lovers ;). The percentage of US TV viewers that have watched the same show has steadily declined over the past 6 decades – choice and diversity is apparently the enemity of conformity and mass consumption. The so-called LongTail is getting to be very real, indeed – my take has always been that once there is no punishment i.e. technical or financial hurdle for not watching what everyone else watches, people will start ‘consuming’ media quite differently (see Spotify versus iTunes, as well).

Mass markets will eventually be replaced by masses of niche markets; or rather, they will converge in entirely new ways that will redefine what ‘television’ actually means. Re-aggregation (see Facebook’s social graph search), curation, filtering and programming will become increasingly important as all users aka consumers aka viewers face the tyranny of choice, and (probably regretably), the end of boredom.  Good news for social networks (as they are indeed becoming the new broadcasters), OTT video / TV offerings, and mobile content, I’d say.

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