Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Five years ago, I did a little top-of-my-head analysis of the stark expansion in media/entertainment expenses for the average American household since the ’70s. The topline results:

In 1975:
- Telephone (single line, long distance, no frills): About $15
- Daily Newspaper: About $4
- Magazine Subscriptions: About $4
(That’s just about it, unless I’m missing something big. Cable TV was around in the mid-’70s, but didn’t really start catching on until the early ’80s; the average person still went with over-the-air fare.)
TOTAL: $23

In 2005:
- Telephones (landline with long distance, call waiting, etc.; second line, cellphones, Blackberry pagers, etc.): About $200
- Internet (broadband): About $40
- Cable/satellite TV: About $80
- Magazine Subscriptions: About $10
- Daily Newspaper: About $10
- DVD/Video Rentals: About $25
(We can probably add satellite radio subscriptions to this lineup in the next five years; and I realize that the newspaper subscription is probably getting dropped in most households these days.)
TOTAL: $365

Turns out that my guesstimation is more or less accurate. Entering the century’s second decade, we are spending more, and on more options, to keep ourselves occupied:

It used to be that a basic $25-a-month phone bill was your main telecommunications expense. But by 2004, the average American spent $770.95 annually on services like cable television, Internet connectivity and video games, according to data from the Census Bureau. By 2008, that number rose to $903, outstripping inflation. By the end of this year, it is expected to have grown to $997.07. Add another $1,000 or more for cellphone service and the average family is spending as much on entertainment over devices as they are on dining out or buying gasoline.

And those government figures do not take into account movies, music and television shows bought through iTunes, or the data plans that are increasingly mandatory for more sophisticated smartphones.

And that all lump-sums into about 400 bucks per month per household. Amusement-slash-edification certainly ain’t cheap.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/09/2021 11:27 PM
Category: Media, Society
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Deeming that the National Hockey League lost the battle to get serious television exposure long ago, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is aggressively cultivating online social media:

“Where we should be advantaged is our customers are younger, more educated, Web-savvy than the NFL audience, which is older, less wired. So let’s pick a fight we have a shot at winning, and if our consumers are younger, and they love video games, and they have shorter attention spans, and they love interactivity, and they love social media, and everyone blogs, and everyone’s on Facebook, why wouldn’t we put ourselves right in the middle of that?”

Leonsis has been at the forefront of advancing his team into what he calls “the new world,” starting with launching a Web site for the Capitals soon after his purchase and becoming the first NHL owner to make available his direct e-mail address.

The Capitals have more than 95,000 fans on Facebook and more than 11,000 followers on Twitter. Players with accounts include defenseman Mike Green, who Twitters as GreenLife52 and has more than 6,000 followers, and forward Eric Fehr, who only recently began using the social networking Web site at the suggestion of the Capitals.

This is, in fact, the latest evolution of Leonsis’ longstanding plans to grow his team via the Web. I remember reading about his plans to emulate baseball’s Atlanta Braves, who built a national following in the ’90s via their exposure on budding TV superstation TBS. Leonsis had intended to use America Online — where he was a key executive when he bought his team — as the online platform to make the Caps the hockey equivalent of “America’s team”.

That was then, of course, and it never did come off. But Leonsis, owing to his background as a Web business maven, is sticking with the online avenue for growth. It’s consistent, if nothing else.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/09/2021 11:02 PM
Category: Hockey, Social Media Online
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