Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why Broadcast Television is Loosing Viewers?

Why Broadcast Television is Loosing Viewers?

It is a very simple question with a very simple answer. The networks aren’t providing a new programming that appeals to a majority of the viewers.

The networks continue to focus on teens and tween as they did during the early years of television, ignoring the fact that age demographic has changed. No longer are the tweens, teens and twenty-somethings the largest demographic. While the birth rate has decreased since the 1950’s. At the close of the 1950’s, the birth rate averaged 3.69, while the birth rate of 2008 averaged 2.10. At the same time, the average life span has in creased to 78.10 year. According to the CIA World Factbook, the median age has risen to 37.7 with largest increases being in the 50-54 and 45-49 age brackets.

Known as the baby boomer generation, those born from 1945-1959, were the largest generation to date. They were also the ones who originally made television successful. They were the ones who talked their parents into at least one TV in every home. From black and white TV’s and the choice of three-four stations if the viewer was lucky to the hundreds of channels and HD TV, the boomers were known as the television generation. Never knowing or caring to remember what life was like without television, they have remained completely loyal to the venue. Yet the industry has reward their loyalty by over looking not only their viewing needs but their spending power as well. For the first time in generations, the current generation has not financially done better than their parents. With less debt and with more stable incomes, those 35 and older are the least courted when it comes to programming and advertisers.

An undeniable fact of life is that generations relate to their own age group and those who are older. While teens are able to relate to older characters as siblings, parents, grandparent, the reverse is seldom true. A 40-something doesn't connect with the life experiences of tweens, teens, or 20-somethings. They’ve been there and done that; they want to know what is coming up for them as they grow older instead of looking back at their youth and daydreaming about going back.

Many of the new shows titillate with T & A, but no longer develop the characters or plots, which made the show interesting. As long as the girls look good in a bikini and the guys have eight-pack abs, it doesn’t matter who they are or what they are doing; the shows are made cheaply both in casting and sets. Many producers and networks aren’t simply willing to pay salaries for quality talent, so they stick with the cheaper unknowns, claiming that the older talent no longer attract an audience. Favorite actors and actresses have aged along with the viewers who originally make them popular. Tom Selleck may not attract a teen, but to women over the age of consent still think he looks pretty damn good. Jacqueline Smith is still an angel to most men. Both started as sex symbols, yet they worked to become well rounded masters of their craft.

Programming, which includes a balanced age demographic, have always been the most successful. The top ten longest running prime time scripted shows included:

1: Gunsmoke (1955-1975)
2: Lassie (1954-1972)
3: Death Valley Days (1952-1970)
4: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952-1966)
5: Bonanza (1959-1973)
6: The Simpsons (1989-????)
7: Law & Order (1990-????)
8: My Three Sons (1960-1972)
9: Dallas (1978-1991)
10: Knots Landing (1979-1993)

However, with the recent two year renewal, The Simpsons have taken over the longest continuously running series title. Until February 7, 2010 the final episode of MASH was the most watch show ever when Super Bowl XLIV over took the position.

The following list are the programs, which listed with the highest average ratings by year.

1950–1951 Texaco Star Theater NBC
1951–1952 Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts CBS
1952–1955 I Love Lucy CBS
1955–1956 The $64,000 Question CBS
1956–1957 I Love Lucy CBS
1957–1961 Gunsmoke CBS
1961–1962 Wagon Train NBC
1962–1964 The Beverly Hillbillies CBS
1964–1967 Bonanza NBC
1967–1968 The Andy Griffith Show CBS
1968–1970 Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In NBC
1970–1971 Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC
1971–1976 All in the Family CBS
1976–1977 Happy Days ABC
1977–1978 Laverne and Shirley ABC
1978–1979 Three's Company ABC
1980–1982 Dallas CBS
1982–1983 60 Minutes CBS
1983–1984 Dallas CBS
1984–1985 Dynasty ABC
1985–1989 The Cosby Show NBC
1989–1990 (tie) The Cosby Show NBC
(tie) Roseanne ABC
1990–1991 Cheers NBC
1991–1993 60 Minutes CBS
1993–1994 Home Improvement ABC
1994–1995 Seinfeld NBC
1995–1997 ER NBC
1997–1998 Seinfeld NBC
1998–1999 ER NBC
1999–2000 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ABC
2000–2001 Survivor CBS
2001–2002 Friends NBC
2002–2004 CSI CBS
2004–2009 American Idol Fox

With the exceptions of the game (Survivor and American Idol are just the latest incarnation of game shows) and news shows, these programs are well crafted scripted shows, whose characters were portrayed by many generations of actors.

The tread continues into 2010 Top Ranking Shows of the 2009-2010 Season Through Feb. 7, 2010

Rank Program Name Net

According to TV Guide The Most Popular TV Shows Rank
TV Show Next On Network
1 American Idol Tue, Feb 23 08:00 PM ET FOX
2 The Bachelor Mon, Feb 15 08:00 PM ET ABC
3 NCIS Mon, Feb 15 06:00 AM ET USA
4 Real Housewives of
Orange County Thu, Feb 18 10:00 PM ET BRAVO
5 Dancing with the Stars Not airing in the next 14 days
6 24 Mon, Feb 15 09:00 PM ET FOX
7 Criminal Minds Sat, Feb 13 12:01 AM ET A&E
8 Keeping Up with
the Kardashians Mon, Feb 15 10:00 PM ET E!
9 Grey's Anatomy Tue, Feb 16 06:00 PM ET LIFE
10 Desperate Housewives Mon, Feb 15 03:00 PM ET LIFE
11 Bones Sat, Feb 13 06:00 PM ET WGNAME
12 House Sat, Feb 13 06:00 PM ET BRAVO
13 Bad Girls Club Sat, Feb 13 09:00 AM ET OXYGN
14 Smallville Fri, Feb 19 08:00 PM ET CW
15 Vampire Diaries Thu, Feb 18 08:00 PM ET CW
16 Days of Our Lives Tue, Feb 16 01:00 PM ET NBC
17 Biggest Loser Not airing in the next 14 days
18 Secret Life of the
American Teenager Mon, Feb 15 08:00 PM ET ABCFAM
19 One Tree Hill Mon, Feb 15 08:00 PM ET CW
20 Damages Mon, Feb 15 10:00 PM ET FX
21 The Game Sat, Feb 13 12:30 PM ET BET
22 Nip/Tuck Wed, Feb 17 10:00 PM ET FX
23 Big Bang Theory Mon, Feb 15 09:31 PM ET CBS
24 iCarly Sat, Feb 13 12:00 PM ET NIK
25 Chuck Not airing in the next 14 days
26 Lost Tue, Feb 16 09:00 PM ET ABC
27 Supernatural Mon, Feb 15 09:00 AM ET TNT
28 Ghost Whisperer Sat, Feb 13 01:00 AM ET WE
29 Wizards of Waverly Place Sat, Feb 13 04:00 PM ET DISNEY
30 Family Guy Sun, Feb 14 09:00 PM ET FOX
31 Young and the Restless Mon, Feb 15 12:30 PM ET CBS
32 90210 Tue, Feb 16 08:00 PM ET CW
33 Brothers & Sisters Sun, Feb 21 10:01 PM ET ABC
34 Gossip Girl Wed, Feb 17 09:00 PM ET CW
35 Oprah Winfrey Not airing in the next 14 days
36 Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit Sat, Feb 13 11:00 PM ET USA
37 Hannah Montana Sat, Feb 13 11:00 AM ET ABC
38 Legend of the Seeker Sat, Feb 13 04:00 PM ET WGNAME
39 The Office Sat, Feb 13 06:30 PM ET TBS
40 Fringe Not airing in the next 14 days
41 Friday Night Lights Not airing in the next 14 days
42 CSI: Miami Sat, Feb 13 07:00 PM ET A&E
43 Glee Not airing in the next 14 days
44 Eastwick Not airing in the next 14 days
45 Heroes Not airing in the next 14 days
46 Two and a Half Men Mon, Feb 15 09:00 PM ET CBS
47 The Mentalist Thu, Feb 18 09:00 PM ET CBS
48 Teen Mom Sat, Feb 13 02:00 PM ET MTV
49 The Good Wife Tue, Feb 16 10:00 PM ET CBS
50 Jersey Shore Sat, Feb 13 08:00 PM ET MTV
51 The Unit Sun, Feb 14 03:00 AM ET BET
52 Burn Notice Thu, Feb 18 10:00 PM ET USA
53 How I Met Your Mother Mon, Feb 15 01:00 AM ET LIFE
54 Private Practice Thu, Feb 18 10:01 PM ET ABC
55 Sons of Anarchy Not airing in the next 14 days
56 Medium Sat, Feb 13 12:30 AM ET LIFE
57 Dr. Oz Show Not airing in the next 14 days
58 General Hospital Mon, Feb 15 03:00 PM ET ABC
59 Law & Order Sat, Feb 13 06:00 AM ET TNT
60 Ugly Betty Sat, Feb 13 07:00 PM ET TVGN
61 America's Next Top Model Sat, Feb 13 08:00 AM ET BRAVO
62 White Collar Sun, Feb 14 01:00 AM ET USA
63 Castle Mon, Feb 15 10:00 PM ET ABC
64 Phineas and Ferb Sat, Feb 13 08:00 AM ET DISXD
65 Army Wives Not airing in the next 14 days
66 Modern Family Wed, Feb 17 08:00 PM ET ABC
67 NUMB3RS Sat, Feb 13 04:00 AM ET TNT
68 Cold Case Sun, Feb 14 10:00 PM ET CBS
69 Dateline NBC Not airing in the next 14 days
70 Project Runway Sat, Feb 13 10:00 AM ET LRW
71 All My Children Mon, Feb 15 01:00 AM ET SOAP
72 Masterpiece Sun, Feb 14 09:00 PM ET PBS
73 True Blood Not airing in the next 14 days
74 Human Target Wed, Feb 17 08:00 PM ET FOX
75 Make It or Break It Mon, Feb 15 09:00 PM ET ABCFAM
76 Bold and the Beautiful Mon, Feb 15 01:30 PM ET CBS
77 CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation Sat, Feb 13 01:00 AM ET SPIKE
78 Scrubs Sat, Feb 13 01:00 PM ET COMEDY
79 Leverage Sat, Feb 13 10:00 AM ET TNT
80 Cops Sat, Feb 13 08:00 PM ET FOX
81 The Deep End Thu, Feb 18 08:00 PM ET ABC
82 Spartacus: Blood and Sand Fri, Feb 19 10:00 PM ET STARZ
83 Dora the Explorer Mon, Feb 15 08:00 AM ET NIK
84 Dollhouse Not airing in the next 14 days
85 Mad Men Not airing in the next 14 days
86 NCIS: Los Angeles Tue, Feb 16 09:00 PM ET CBS
87 20/20 Fri, Feb 19 10:00 PM ET ABC
88 Big Love Sun, Feb 14 09:00 PM ET HBOe
89 Life Unexpected Mon, Feb 15 09:00 PM ET CW
90 Saturday Night Live Not airing in the next 14 days
91 The Pregnancy Pact Not airing in the next 14 days
92 Suite Life on Deck Sat, Feb 13 01:30 AM ET DISXD
93 Mercy Not airing in the next 14 days
94 Girls Next Door Sat, Feb 13 01:00 AM ET E!
95 Extreme Makeover:
Home Edition Sun, Feb 14 09:00 PM ET ABC
96 The Middle Wed, Feb 17 08:30 PM ET ABC
97 Doctor Who Sat, Feb 13 11:00 PM ET PBS
98 Law & Order:
Criminal Intent Sat, Feb 13 06:00 AM ET USA
99 So You Think
You Can Dance Not airing in the next 14 days
100 Cougar Town Wed, Feb 17 09:30 PM ET ABC

Quality programming, which has to multi-generational appeal, has proven for decades to not only to be big rating winners, but also the longer lasting shows. In addition, these same shows have become popular syndication favorites by expanding their fan base into the ever growing world of cable networks.

Yet networks continue to produce programming specifically targeted toward the tweens, teens and twenty-somethings. Advertisers still consider the same age group as preferred target. They simply fail to comprehend that by casting a wider net by including all age groups, they also catch the not only the teeny boppers, but also their older family members. The catch is that talent, who have a successful track record of producing quality work and being able to attract viewers, yet the like all masters of crafts, they also cost more, which is a price most producers and networks are unwilling to pay. By cutting costs and quality, they have turned away the viewing demographic, which not only made the television popular, but who now have the disposable income to make it successful. Instead of watching the new shows, older viewers are turning to older TV shows, either on DVD and the increasing number of nostalgia networks. TV Land may have started the trend, but they are hardly the last to see the value in bringing back the old favorites.

The simple fact is that technology continues to give viewers continue more options. They are no longer limited to the three local broadcast station. In fact, television has become a land without borders. If the viewers don’t like what the networks are presenting, they can simply channel surf, rent or search the net until they find something that appeals to them.


Summer Fey-Wulf said...

I wonder...has this been pointed out to the networks?

Another thing is that they make a movie, call it comedy, but it is nothing but pure stupidity.

And I am sick to death of all the new "Reality" shows that have cropped up! If I want to see "reality", I'll go into town. I want "ENTERTAINMENT" on my TV. I want to see mystery, love, adventure, real comedy (not stupidity). Also, "Family Home Videos" is not comedy. It's not funny when someone falls down and hurts themselves, or when someone is embarrassed in front of other people.

I have satellite TV and have over 400 channels, but I watch less than half of them. You have to buy a large package to get the few good channels that show programming worth watching, at least by people with a bit of common sense. I live alone and other than my computer, TV is my only form of entertainment. Often I've just shut the thing off and gone to bed with a book.

Thanx for the opportunity to vent, Theresa...this is one of my pet peeves, too.


Theresa Chaze, Wiccan Writer said...

You are most welcome. I don't know what people have told the networks. I can only judge the final results. It seems that whoever is making the decisions are getting really bad advice. You are more than welcome to share the link to the article with the networks or anyone else who would appreciate the information.