Impact of Writers' Strike on Viewing Habits

Survey: Viewers are Still Tuning In but Channel Surfing

NEW YORK -- What were celebrities talking about on the red carpet at last weekend’s Screen Actors Guild Awards?

It wasn't just gossip and couture.

The buzz was about the writers' strike.

To gain a better understanding of consumers' media habits and attitudes as a result of the strike, Carat fielded an online survey of 1,000 primetime TV viewers in the United States.

The survey was conducted among primetime viewers ages 18 and older.

The findings shed light on the fact that fans are not deserting TV, but people are shifting their viewing patterns.

72 percent of respondents report that they are watching the same amount of primetime TV than before the strike, while 25 percent of people are watching less and 3 percent are watching more.

The survey also discovered that in addition to their typical television viewing, consumers are changing what they watch during primetime.

For example, they are willing to watch different genres, watch repeat episodes and channel surf to hunt for different programs. Additionally, they are open to expanding their use of other entertainment options such as online, DVDs, magazines and video games.

For those who "would not" or "may not" continue to watch their favorite shows in repeats, the top choice was to go online (54 percent), followed by channel surfing until they found something else interesting to watch (51 percent).

"We would certainly like the strike to come to an end. But in the meantime, our interest is in protecting our clients' investments," said Carat and Isobar U.S. CEO Sarah Fay. "As an integrated on and offline agency, we are perfectly poised to help our clients manage their marketing dollars across every media channel. This research is a part of our company's ongoing interest in observing media consumption and unlocking and activating consumer behavior."

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