Is The Strike Really Sending TV Watchers To Video Games, DVDs?

Persistent prediction since the writers strike kicked off three months ago: Consumers would bail on TV, and turn to the Web, or video games, or whatever. And we think that might be true — one day. But we don’t think it’s happened yet, and we haven’t seen any stats that support it.

Which is why we’re shocked to see this Hollywood Reporter summary of a report from market research firm Interpret, which claims that 9 out of 10 Americans are aware of the strike, and 3 out of 10 have changed their consumption habits because of it.

Interpret finds that 27% of respondents are spending less time watching network series and 12% are watching less cable and satellite series.

Conversely, 43% of respondents say they are spending more time watching DVD movies and 23% say they’re watching more TV-DVDs. Another 26% say they are spending more time playing video games.

We haven’t seen the Interpret report ourselves, and we’d love to see a copy. But our gut is that this is wish fulfillment, not reality: None of the networks have reported significant fall-off in ratings since the strike started, and any growth rates we’ve seen for other media – say, Web video usage — don’t seem to have spiked, either.

We’d also note that NBC’s parent company GE just told Wall Street that it saw no impact from the strike in Q4, though it acknowledged it may see a “slight” tweak this quarter.  Could NBC be underplaying the strike’s impact  because it doesn’t want to convey any weakness to the writers? Yes — in the same way that overestimating the exodus from TV to the new media plays well in certain corners of the Web.

See Also:
Why The Strike Hasn’t Helped Web Video 

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