It’s officially a streaming world these days. But while viewership is down, there’s more life left in broadcast television than it might appear, according to a report from Variety.
The report compared ratings in the first two months of the fall season for the four major broadcast television networks — Comcast’s (CMCSA) – Get Comcast Corporation Class A Report NBC, Walt Disney’s (DIS) – Get Walt Disney Company Report ABC, ViacocomCBS’ (VIAB) – Get Viacom Inc. Class B Report CBS, and Fox’s (FOX) – Get Fox Corporation Class B Report –from this year, as compared to 2015, the furthest the report could go back.
Specifically, it looked at viewership for programs between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. for audiences between the ages of 18 to 49, long the most coveted demographic for advertisers. It’s generally considered more difficult to get older consumers to try a new consumer good or switch brands, as people’s preferences tend to settle as they age making 18-49 the advertising industry sweet spot.
The total ratings were some of the most eye-opening numbers. The Monday at 8 p.m. hour (basically the kick-off of the broadcast week) was down by 70% from seven years ago, and the Thursday at 9 p.m, hour (once the home of hit sitcoms such “The Office” and “Seinfeld”) is now down by 46.9%.
Clearly, we are a long way away from the days of Must-See TV.
How Americans Watch TV Now
As anyone who’s been nagged by their friend to check out HBO Max’s “Hacks” or signed up for NBC’s streaming service Peacock because they were in the mood to binge “30 Rock” knows, there’s more scripted fare out there than ever, and we’re doing what we can to catch-up.
When Netflix (NFLX) – Get Netflix, Inc. Report debuted its streaming service in 2008, the draw was its vast library of both movies and complete seasons of television programs such as “The X-Files,” while series with light ratings such as NBC’s “Parks And Recreation” and “Breaking Bad” would eventually gain mass audiences through the streaming service.
Eventually, Netflix began to shift its focus away from acquiring older titles to creating its own, Licensing older shows comes with the inherent risk that one day the deal will expire and the owners of the TV shows might sell them to a rival service or start their own platform to monetize their back catalog, as became the case with brands such as Peacock, Disney+, and Paramount+.
In 2013, Netflix introduced the original series “House of Cards” and “…….