BrightHaus Digital Marketing Agency

How Apple TV is killing Traditional Media

November 24, 2016

I’m a fan of all media.  Well, almost.  But in 2014 and 2015 there was a radical shift on how I consumed media.

It actually happened nearly a decade ago, but the shift has been slowly tilting across the past couple of years.

I, like most other consumers want to decide how and when I consume my media.  Although I haven’t always been given the choice, ads are served to me when advertisers decide they should be, because it’s a condition of my entertainment choice.

The first shift started back in 2000, when digital radio started appearing in the UK.  No one really thought anything of it, other than that it was super expensive and that it wasn’t available in cars yet (where most people consume Radio).  The boil simmers, we all continue to consume via the internet or other channels.  Ten years later, I subscribe to Sirius.

My first major shift was buying an Apple TV.  I’d been a cable guy since cable was cable, and I loved it.  But, of course the ads were annoying.  I also had some privilege of growing up in the UK where ads aren’t a huge dominance over TV shows.  You realistically get one 30 second spot in between a 30 minute show.  There’s no commercials in between the credits.  In America, the tone is a lot different, commercials take over and there’s at least 3-4 commercials between a 30 minute TV show.  Something was of course about to give.  But not any time soon.

In comes Apple TV.  It gave me the choice of doing things my way.  I could select the shows, seasons and anything else I wanted to watch and I paid for it.  I would on average maybe buy 5 seasons of something each month.  Ranging anything from $10 – $20 per season.  My cable bill was $149 per month.  So I cut out cable.  I also subscribed to Netflix (again, ad free)

If the numbers are anything to go by, the sales have continued to increase for Apple TV over the years.  As of January 2015, 25 million units were sold, and with the release of the new model last week, pre-sales were shown to be through the roof.

BrightHaus - Apple TV

Courtesy of TechJournal

It now accounts for 14% of household television consumption, which is a pretty big number.

All of the shows (and more) that I watched on cable, was available on Apple TV.  All of them.  So why would it make sense for me to spend more money on cable, and have to consume ads.

The world has changed whereby people are taking an active approach to searching for what they want, versus reactively allowing ads to be served to them.  I don’t want to be sold anymore.  If I want something, I Google or Yelp it.

I canceled cable.  Saved myself $50 or so a month and didn’t have to be consumed by ads.  Hey, if I consumed approximately 100 tv shows in any given month, that would be up to 4 ads a time, which is for arguments sake 1 minute of commercials for every show.  I saved myself 100 minutes of TIME every month.  I decided to use that time effectively to make snacks for each of those shows.  Coincidentally, I had to spend more time at the gym, so I technically lost time – but I’d say my health balanced out.  Kind of!

Moving on.

The major shift for me happened this year, and it was all thanks to Apple.  Apple gets the TV experience.  They continued to make deals with major networks, and major networks started to feel the shift.  Hulu being the biggest adopter here.  This year I started paying Hulu an additional $3.99 per month so that I didn’t have to be bothered by ads.  And the difference is palpable.  

I now consume much more media via Hulu, and they continue to build their arsenal of everything you can find on TV.  I can even watch The View without ads.  The latest View too.  I watch todays View, tonight.  You know by now that I watch a lot of TV.  I love it.  With the App market in tow, you’ll be able to just about consume anything you want, on demand.

As a result, I’m also more consumed in current affairs.  I watch more news.  I watch more political shows.  All of this is done because I’ve built a relationship with Apple TV and I am able to build my routine around it.  Essentially, I do the same as everyone else with cable TV, but it’s on my terms rather than the networks.  Oh – you were too busy making the kids breakfast and missed CBS’ morning brief?  Wah wah, I made my breakfast and pushed a button for that brief.  Actually, with the latest Apple TV I asked Siri to do it for me.  The shift is being recognized and big TV networks are worried.  The FT wrote about the situation back in February and noted in one specific graph just how much of a decline is happening with Cable TV.


The result of this, is people becoming less and less tuned to Advertisers.  There are still some places that Ads can reach you though.  I.e. the Internet.  I find the internet less intrusive, because again, it’s on my terms.  I’m using the internet at my leisure and I visit websites that are tuned to my lifestyle.  Therefore the ads that are served to me, are either less bothersome, or minimal.

Facebook ads don’t bother me in the slightest, because their frequency isn’t huge.  Instagram ads don’t bother me either, because like Facebook, they’re minimal.

The final nail in the coffin, and this will take a while to shift further, is Radio.  I’m lucky to have Sirius Radio in my car, and with this comes a plethora of stations that are completely ad free, because I’m paying $20 per month for it.  My favorite station is Howard Stern.  Stern’s team have mitigated the ad model by mainly focusing on Host Read Ads.  I.e. Howard reads most of them.  They are always more fun, he puts his own spin on it and I recall much more of the ad than I could from any standard spot.  I famously recall signing one of the first Host Read Ads back in the UK around 2005.  It was for a Ford car.  The host, Nick Ferrari (of the UK’s first commercial Radio Station was a bit of a character, and drove a Rolls or something to that accord, so we were all readily skeptical on what he’d do.  ‘Tired of that Bentley?  Ready to give up your Porsche?  Drive on down to Ford Motors and pick up the latest Ford Focus for $9,995.’  It was hysterical and got some attention, albeit Ford were less than impressed.  The majority of the US does not have satellite Radio in their car, and so this shift will take a while.  When it does, I’m placing a bet that the Radio industry will be up in arms.  5 years max.

So – my final point to all of this, is.  More people are moving to subscription based models.  You pay for what you get and On Demand has changed the game.  And if you want to reach your audience in a way that will convert easier and quicker, Google it.