April 13, 2009
Network Numbers: Scary and Getting Scarier
This week's Time (yes, I mean the hard copy - I still read magazines :-), has a piece on the collapse of TV, the reason networks are fading and includes a series of numbers they got from Nielsen Media Research.
Take a look at their stats on percentage of households watching ABC, NBC and CBS in prime time through the years:
1952-1953 - 75% (I Love Lucy on CBS, highest of all the numbers at 67%)
1962-1963 - 55% (Beverly Hillbillies high at 36%)
1972-1973 - 56% (All in the Family big)
1982-1983 - 51% (60 Minutes had 26% on CBS)
1992-1993 - 37% (60 Minutes still hot, but down to 22%)
2002-2003 - 22% (CSI - never actually watched it)
2007-2008 - 18% (of that 18%, 16% went to American Idol on Fox - ouch)
As networks fade just as newspapers are dying off, there won't be budgets to make the next West Wing (my favorite by far in the last two decades). Free is where it's at everywhere. Free TV, free magazines, free advice, free offers, free, free, free, and more free.
Says Time, "the irony of the nostalgia for TV's 'golden age' is that it romanticizes the very things people used to condemn. Mass media were once homogenizing; now we miss how they unified us."
People are finding other means to get unified, largely social networks which includes TV over at YouTube and Vimeo, as well as Twitter and niche communities inside social networks, demonstrating that the Long Tail is indeed in play.
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Just because the legacy networks are going by the wayside, doesn't mean "TV" is. I put TV in quotes because what used to be just the networks, has now morphed into all 8 million cable/satellite channels we have available to us. I once had a niece of mine point to the cord that connected my phone handset to the base (remember those?) say "what's that for?" because in her house, they had only cordless phones (she was 7 at the time). You don't see Hanna Montana on the networks, only on cable.
Posted by: Greg | Apr 14, 2009 4:57:59 PM