Did you know that market research plays a massive role in what you watch on cable TV? When big executives and television producers have numbers they can refer to in order to see which shows are succeeding and which are being ignored, they have all the ammo they need to either sign-up for another season or kill a series flat out.
Look at what’s happening here: a video service powered by some of the top TV companies are using a service where they don’t have to rely on selected households or response bias or surveys or diaries. Hulu lets TV producers immediately see accurate numbers for the shows they’re putting out. What does this mean for you? It means that you can expect more of the good stuff (at least, in terms of universal popularity) coming to your TV set or web browser in the near future. No longer do TV companies have to rely on third-party reports or half-assed surveys to see what people want to watch on TV, they can see the numbers for themselves, instantly, and in real time. We can expect other companies to jump on board down the road too. Or, perhaps, even companies like Netflix (which stream thousands of TV shows from hundreds of different networks) are capable of sharing the viewing habits of subscribers with TV companies in order to better plan for worth-while shows down the road.
Things are changing for TV, that’s certain, but will the ability of directly seeing what people are watching, when they’re watching, and how long they’re staying “tuned in” affect the studios down in Hollywood? What do you think?