Paul Taylor and Wendy Wang of the Pew Research Center on Social & Demographic Trends released an interesting report on 19 August 2010 entitled "The Fading Glory of the Television and Telephone". Accordingly, the television and landline phone have seen a steep drop in public perception rates among US households. Given the predominant role each of these devices have traditionally played, this is a significant development.
Here are a few of the key findings: only 42% of Americans consider the TV to be a necessity. This is a decline of 10% from 2006 when 52% of Americans considered the TV essential. For the telephone the decline is less steep, yet it is still significant. 62% of Americans consider the landline (hard-wired) phone a necessity, down from 68% last year. Significantly, though, the cell phone is considered a necessity by 47% of Americans, 5% more than the previous consideration.
What's more interesting and something that I can personally relate to is how the data skews among young adults. Of 18-to-29 year olds surveyed, only 46% consider the landlline a necessity, and only 29% feel the same about the TV. This trend speaks to better alternative options that disruptive technologies such as Internet TV and the cell phone provide. To fully understand the decline of the landline consider the following
- 74% of US households now have a landline, down from the peak of 97 in 20021
- 82% of US adults now use a cell phone, up from 53% in 2000
- Blumberg et al, 2007, Chapter 3 in Advances in Telephone Survey Methodology, edited by James M. Lepkowski, et al, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Aaron Smith, July 7, 2010, Mobile Access 2010, Pew Internet & American Life Project