The television industry continues to see a drop in its overall viewership numbers. Some media industry experts argue that TV's viewership decline is the result of the tremendous growth in the online space over the last year. This leads to the enduring question: Will the Internet and online video cause the downfall of the television industry?
Strong growth trends in online video don't appear to favor a positive outlook for TV viewership. Online videos were watched by a total of 138,576,000 million unique viewers, according to comScore (March 2008). This was up over 11 million unique views from March 2007.
Even more disturbing to some is the thought that online video may potentially spell the end of television broadcast dollars. But it’s a little premature to talk about the television’s demise, and I do not believe that online video will be the end of broadcast television.
We should look at the online space as complementary, one that is adding value to both new and existing (television) properties by offering additional touch points with the consumer. The single caveat is the content’s "uniqueness."
As long as we continue to simply move the existing experience of television and its programming to the online space, it will continue to cannibalize. When we embrace the “uniqueness” of the online medium (the interactive unit on which you are viewing the content) and create content that is actually different from its offline counterpart, then we will meet the complementary status.
On the Web today, there remains an infinite amount of content choices, including long and short form content, exclusive interviews, behind the scene footage, and deleted scenes. In the near future, the online space will eventually add a new kind of content that utilizes the interactive power of the unit it is viewed on, and find new fans by exposing the brand outside of the broadcast medium.
— Bryon Evje, Chief Operating Officer of Broadband Enterprises