It’s the End of TV as We Know It

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by Marcus Luera

Streaming and seven-day DVR viewing will begin to count towards the viewership of shows, which makes sense because people are watching the shows, they just watch them differently.  This news is potentially huge, could some shows be saved?  Will some shows lose their spot as top rated shows?

For the longest time, ratings for shows were dictated by Nielson families.  This is a small group of people who record their viewing habits and submit them to Nielson.  How small, you ask? Two hundreds of a percent.  That’s right, less than one percent of the population decides what we watch. Family Guy recently did an episode spoofing this.  Why are rating important?  Money. The ratings help networks set the price for ads.

I believe that for the last five years, the way ratings have been measured has become increasing irrelevant and out of date.  This is due to DVRs and streaming services like Hulu and the network-owned sites.  This change has been coming for a long time.  The fact that it has taken this long to embrace the change is because, like most technology, it is hard for some to wrap their head around.  Gone are the days of appointment TV. A show may air at this time and date, but I can watch it whenever I feel.

Who benefits from this change?  Struggling shows may now have a better representation of their actual viewership.  More viewers of TV may now have a voice in what stays on the air. Imagine if this change had happened when Chuck was on the air? This might have saved the show! Series like Arrested Development, Community, and countless other may have benefited from this type of measurement.  It’s not all sunny. Networks and programs that have not embraced this change may see their numbers plummet.  Will Big Bang Theory still be the number one comedy?  CBS is the only network with no programming on Hulu, this maybe a problem for them.  It may also give a glimpse of the future; will each network have its own version of Hulu now?  South Park has had its own website streaming episodes for years.

While these other ways of measuring viewers have been looked at for a while, it seems only now they will begin to count.  Technology and fans have forced this change, and for those who embrace it, the future is bright.  Those who don’t will go the way of the dodo.  Honestly, this is only the first of many changes I see coming.  You still have iTunes out there, DVD/Blu Ray sales, and of course, Netflix.  R.I.P. Nielson ratings system, you had a good run, but now it’s time to move into this century.


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