Why TV Ratings Are Way Down

04.23.12 6 years ago 12 Comments

TV ratings are currently down across the board, according to the New York Times, not only affecting low-rated shows like “Community,” but also mega-hits, such as “American Idol” and “Modern Family,” which got a season-low 4.0 in the ever-important 18-49 rating last Wednesday.

In the four television weeks starting March 19, NBC lost an average of 59,000 viewers (about 3 percent) in that 18-to-49 age category compared with the same period last year, CBS lost 239,000 (8 percent), ABC lost 681,000 (21 percent) and Fox lost 709,000 (20 percent).

In the last few weeks, new viewership lows for network series have been recorded nightly among 18- to 49-year-olds, the group that still commands the highest advertising prices. (Via)

Even cable networks, which usually reap the benefits of the Big Four losing ratings, were down “409,000 viewers” during March. The article gives four explanations why this is happening: Daylight Savings Time (people are outside later — those monsters!); “Idol” ratings, which are usually so high that they boost overall TV ratings, are down 30%; a glut of late-season reruns; and “nonlinear viewing.” Meaning, most people aren’t watching TV live as much anymore — they DVR or watch online, either legally or illegally. (I watch roughly 20-25 shows per week, but only three of them live: “Game of Thrones,” “Community,” and “Mad Men.”) Hopefully networks realizing they’re potentially losing “billions of dollars in sales” is the first step toward a better ratings system than what exists now, and then we can stop worrying about the fate of shows like “Parks and Recreation.”

Either all that, or NBC canceled the sure-to-be blockbuster “The Paul Reiser Show” far too soon.

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