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Published:May 9th, 2007 09:54 EST
Changing of Channels

Changing of Channels

By Sean Stubblefield

Apparently, there is a decreasing audience for live prime time viewing of Television. However, just because ratings are down, does not necessarily mean that people are not watching. Larger numbers of people seem to prefer not being required to watch their shows at a certain time, and like the freedom of making their own viewing schedules. It's the new trend that I-- and anyone paying attention-- noticed developing over the last few years. And television networks have been slow to adjust; either due to negligence, naivety or lack of alternative solutions.

Nielsen ratings are grossly limitted, have never been an accurate measure of viewership, and are increasingly becoming even less reliable in our changing media climate.

With VCRs, DVRs, TIVOs, DVDs, as well as online streaming and downloading sources in common usage, fewer people are watching TV shows at their appointed time. Many people record their TV shows to watch later, which allows people to see shows when most convenient for them rather than at a scheduled time. Such recording for later viewing also let's people skip commercials... not that most people aren't already largely ignoring the commercials anyway, even during scheduled broadcasts. This being the case, the advertiser supported model of TV programming is not only foolish, but ineffective and obsolete.

If the medium continues to insist on being funded and managed by advertising revenue, then a new method of reaching the public with commercials is needed. And if the medium wants to keep track of how many people are watching what, then they need to install a means of taking into account alternative sources and viewing habits.