The Hollywood writers’ strike is not only causing an increase in reality TV programming, the strike is also causing a once loyal primetime TV audience to go online. According to surveyed research from MindShare, the writers’ strike, which is believed to continue for another three weeks or a month, has significantly impacted and changed TV viewing habits. MindShare reports that going online topped the list as the respondents’ preferred alternative to watching their favorite TV shows. NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker warns, “a strike could be a ‘watershed event’ that drives more people away from primetime.”

Online media content bears no time restraint, with streamed TV episodes and video’s available on sites such as uTube. Read Write Web’s Josh Catone further explains how, “the strike could hasten a paradigm shift in the media landscape that sees content shift from television to web distribution,” adding that, “as the writer strike drags on, and original primetime TV content dries up, advertisers may begin to jump ship for other mediums.”

It’s true, more and more viewers are turning to the web for entertainment and information, and major brands are following closely. A shift in allocating advertising dollars from TV to the web could impact TV programming content and quality long after the writers’ strike is over. Catone offers the example of Chrysler, the third-largest automaker in the US, has pulled ad money from primetime television and redirected funds towards running ads on sports and internet platforms.

Could the Web become the cable of the future? What do you think? 

-By Tessa Rudd, Account Executive – Advertising Media Division