TV Is Dying, And Here Are The Stats That Prove It

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  • #1117
    ZLoth
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    From Business Insider: TV Is Dying, And Here Are The Stats That Prove It

    I am not surprised at all. Lack of compelling content, plus money issues.


    “We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz

    #5989

    Funny that you posted this; here are excerpts from Wil Wheaton’s take on the same stats that the above article presents. [LINK]

    I remember a time, in the not too distant past, when we’d feel like we had to justify ourselves for making a webseries, like it wasn’t real TV or film. It was like we were creating for online because we couldn’t make it in the big leagues, and had to seek out an alternative. In some ways, that was true, because in the traditional way of doing things, we had to appeal to gatekeepers at networks and mid-level development executives who were more afraid of losing their jobs than they were excited to make something new. That makes sense: there’s a shitload of money at stake for most productions, and it’s only logical that the people in charge of spending that money would be risk-averse — But what’s the point of being in a creative industry if you’re not willing to take some creative risks? That’s where the Internet came in, and fundamentally changed everything for creators. We could take risks, we could make content that maybe wouldn’t appeal to tens of millions of people, but would appeal to hundreds of thousands. We didn’t need to compete with other creators for ratings during a narrow broadcast window, because we understood that our audiences would watch our stuff on their terms, when and where and how they wanted to. We understood that the world was changing, and people would be watching programming on smartphones and tablets, frequently time shifted for their convenience. We knew that because we were those people.

    Being those people, and creating for those people, has let us who are the tip of the spear in online distribution continue to just destroy the legacy media companies: we don’t want to control how our audiences get to watch and enjoy and share the things we make. We understand that attempting to control the experience people have when they watch our stuff just makes them find ways around that control, usually in a way that hurts our bottom line and our ability to support ourselves.

    I think it’s safe to say that the legacy content producers and networks just don’t understand the online audience in the way they think they do. I think they’re afraid of online in a lot of ways, because a lot of the older executives who make decisions about digital are still fighting Napster in their heads. I understand their fear, but they’re going to have to come and join us here in the future, or they’re going to wither and die.

    This is one of the reasons I’m totally trying to turn my hand to the webseries thing (something I’ve made no secret about doing) – in many ways, the Escape Pod podcast is a dry run in a conceptual sense for some of the ideas I’ve had that would make better use of my video talents. I don’t really need or want to have my face on camera, but if that’s what it takes to get something rolling, then I hope everyone’s screens are shatterproof from the tidal wave of fugly white guy that’s coming their way.

    For too long, the mass media have been trying to make stuff that’s so watered down and non-specific that surely it’ll appeal to everybody. Only everybody’s tired of that. Only the daring stuff that has the gumption to speak to a niche of the audience is getting through – Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and so on. The wheel is turning and the audience is now saying “I want something that’s for me and caters to my interests.” I hate to cite them as examples, because I wouldn’t be caught dead watching either one, but Fox News and MSNBC point the way: don’t even bother trying to rope in the whole audience, cater to the Faithful.

    From the very beginnings of theLogbook, my policy has always been to counter that with this philosophy: if nobody’s making the thing I’d want to read/hear/watch, I will set out to make it myself, and hopefully along the way encounter an audience that likes what I’m making. theLogBook is the site I’d want to visit. The podcast I make is the podcast I’d want to hear. In the end, that’s the best reason to get involved in the business of Making Something For Other People To Enjoy. If there’s a buck to be made off the deal, or maybe a boost to a flagging career, that’s gravy.

    #5990
    Steve W
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    Some other things to consider…

    Cable companies have frequently been unfriendly to the consumer. From showing up two days late for installation to terrible customer service, they aren’t well known for being agreeable. Mainly because in a lot of places they have the monopoly on TV, and they damn well know it. So rate hikes abound and if your cable goes out, they’ll get to it in one to five weeks. That’s good enough reason to drop them for a lot of people.

    So, why do I have to subscribe to packages when I don’t want three-quarters of the networks in the bundle? Cable companies love to complain that unbundling channels and going to a selectable network system would kill off smaller companies who don’t get the big ratings like more popular channels do. So, let them die. How many people really need a home and garden channel? I don’t give the slightest hint of a rat’s ass about sports in any way, shape or form… so why do I have to be stuck with three channels of them just to get Comedy Central? Stop trying to dominate the consumers and let them create their own network packages. I want to pay for what I’m interested in, and I resent being forced to have a bunch of crappy news outlets, Spanish language channels, and sports stations that I never look at. I as a consumer want what I want. And they won’t give me what I want. So I go online and get exactly what I f-cking want, either legally or illegally.

    This makes me think of networks like Showtime. I wanted to see the second season of Dexter while it was coming out, but Showtime refused to allow iTunes to sell the episodes, they want people to subscribe to their channel and everybody else has to wait. So I acquired the episodes by untraditional means. They didn’t put that second season on iTunes until the DVD set came out. And I’ll be damned if I’ll pay for a DVD set of episodes that (a) I’ve already gotten my hands on, and (b) I wanted when they were fresh with cash in hand and they denied me. They’d rather tie me to a painfully outdated subscription model designed to milk me on a monthly basis.

    #5991
    ZLoth
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    I think we had this discussion several times before. It is the perceived quality of the channels combined with the cost of cable television combined with the alternative availability of the shows in other non-broadcast/non-cable media. Why should I spend $100 on a subscription when I watch only 1-2 shows when I can wait and pick up the entire series on DVD/BluRay for $40 for the entire season? Or, better yet, Netflix it AND I can watch it whenever I want without the irritations that the network place on the shows.

    And, lets face it…. which is more important? Paying the rent and putting food on the table, or cable television? And, quite frankly, I’m more interested in keeping my job and upgrading my skills rather than discussion what happened on the last episode of Elementary.


    “We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz

    #5992

    Flack
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    I would have “cut the cord” long ago if it weren’t for two things: kids and sports.

    I’m not a huge sports fans but I do follow the local teams, which consists of basketball (the OKC Thunder) and college football (OU/OSU). I haven’t a good way to watch those games without having cable. The Thunder play two to three times a week. I simply can’t stomach eating that many Buffalo Wild Wings.

    The other reason I keep cable around is for my kids, specifically for things like Cartoon Network and Nick and Disney Channel. True, I think most of the programming on those channels sucks compared to what we grew up watching, but those are the shows they and their friends are into. Yes, I could probably torrent, Netflix, or otherwise download most of those shows, but I never know what they’re going to be into next.

    Other than local sports, I get all of my viewing entertainment from Netflix streaming and “the Internet.” If I were a bachelor, I’d start listening to Thunder games on the radio and have cable TV turned off tomorrow.

    #5993
    ZLoth
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    Funny how “sports” keeps popping up. Outside of the premium and niche foreign language channels, E$PN and the Regional $ports Networks (R$N) are the most expensive channel on a per subscriber basis. Guess who owns E$PN, Disney Channel, and ABC Family? Right, talk about the gorilla in the room. How about Comcast-owned channels? Or, Viacom-owned channels?

    Now, look at the offerings from Dish Network and DIrecTV. Unless you want the almost nothing packages, E$PN is included. All so that the channels can claim that they can reach a potential number of subscribers.


    “We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz

    #5994
    ZLoth
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    After discussion with my “significant other” (mother), I cannot cut the cord. However, I can find a lower priced alternative. So, after getting a list of channels that she watches on a regular basis, combined with my list (Discovery, TCM, History), I reduced my package from Choice Xtra Classic to DirecTV Entertainment. That saves me $15 per month. I then called up DirecTV, spoke with the retention department, and got $20 per month credit for the next 12 months. Thats a small but healthy chunk.

    I also cancelled my subscription to Crunchyroll since I wasn’t using that streaming service. Only streaming service I have now is Amazon Prime.


    “We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz

    #5995
    Steve W
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    I’ve heard great things about Amazon Prime, but I don’t think there’s enough to justify the price for me. I don’t order that heavily from them (and when I do, I often buy used from outside sellers for movies and music), and I don’t watch much TV. What kind of services do you get other than streaming movies and TV along with free shipping from whatever you buy direct from them?

    #5996
    ZLoth
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    I’m a frequent customer of Amazon, so Amazon Prime is worth it for the two-day shipping. The Prime videos and the Kindle book borrowing is just gravy. Amazon Prime shipping can also be extended to several family members.


    “We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz

    #5998

    And now, Variety presents industry insiders with a cool, soothing glass of Kool-Aid. Keep drinkin’ it, guys. Drink deep. Everything’s okay. [LINK]

    Don’t write a eulogy for pay TV yet. Even though bills keep climbing — and Internet-video options like Netflix are expanding rapidly — cable, satellite and telco TV operators may eke out a small net gain of customers this year.

    In 2014, U.S. cable, satellite and telco TV are expected to end the year with 103.1 million subscribers, up just a smidge from 102.5 million last year, according to new study by Parks Associates. That’s just a half a percentage point of growth, which means pay-TV has effectively plateaued. But the industry’s fear that the Internet could cut away a sizable portion of its customer base has — so far — not been realized.

    There, there, industry. It’ll be all right.

    Have some more Kool-Aid. Half a percentage point… exciting.

    #5999
    ZLoth
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    In many communities, the only choices for high-speed Internet is either the cable company and the phone company. Guess who has the faster Internet? Answer: Cable company.

    The big cable operators, in turn, will offer you Internet service, provided that it’s bundled with television service (otherwise, you are going to pay a premium), plus put in caps on downloads unless it is with the cable providers preferred providers (which isn’t Netflix). Nice way of maintaining your subscriber numbers.

    Yes, I do believe that broadband deployment in the United States sucks.


    “We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz

    #6000
    ubikuberalles
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    @zloth wrote:

    …plus put in caps on downloads unless it is with the cable providers preferred providers…

    Quoted for truth.

    Turns out the reason the cable companies give for data caps is all bogus anyway. The truth is it’s all about the money and, as ZLoth pointed out, it’s more about preferred providers than anything else.

    #6001
    ZLoth
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    Meanwhile, in DIrecTVland, there is now a carriage dispute between DirecTV and The Weather Channel. 😆 Here is http://www.keeptheweatherchannel.com, along with the obligatory “Don’t let DirecTV control the weather.”

    I’m really having to think back to when the last time I actually watched The Weather Channel at home. Aren’t there more viable alternatives now? I mean there is this newfrangled world wide web that I can get forecasts, and look! there is a weather app for my phone. Not to mention that I can get the weather through my radio from someone called National Weather Service.


    “We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.” – Gene Kranz

    #6002
    Steve W
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    I don’t know what my uncle would do if he couldn’t watch The Weather Channel all day long. 😆 Every time I’ve visited him in the past 15 years, that’s what the TV is always set on. He loves it running in the background. He’s computer literate, he can look this stuff up if he wanted to, but he instead leaves TWC on whenever him and his wife aren’t watching something else. His TV sets have gotten larger and fancier over the years, but his tastes stay the same.

    Maybe The Weather Channel will have to change their programming to draw in viewers as most people get their weather info someplace else. They could start filling the channel with reality shows. Put a bunch of meteorology students in a house, make them do a bunch of jackass stunts (stand out in hurricane gusts, ride a weather balloon up to 50,000 feet, that sort of thing), and eliminate some over time. The winner gets to work on air at the network. Or do something like SyFy’s management did to draw in idiots, wrestling! But here’s the kicker, it’s all weather people! Who wouldn’t tune in to see Al Roker kicking people’s asses?

    #6003
    ubikuberalles
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    I think the only time I’ve viewed the Weather Channel longer than five minutes is when I’m on travel and I’m too lazy to hook up my PC to check out local conditions on the Internet. Now I have a Weather Channel App on my phone so I don’t even bother hooking up the PC in the morning (unless I need it for something else).

    I use cable TV all the time but I view less than a fourth of the channels out there. That’s mostly because the majority of the channels are either music channels or Pay per View. My rule is “Not one more penny to be spent on TV” so I eschew anything that requires I pay an additional fee. So PPV is out and any of the TV shows or movies I have to pay on Amazon streaming or Xfinity DVR. I pay for Netflix and Comcast and that’s it. So, if I want to watch something on Hulu, I’ll have to watch it on my PC because I ain’t paying to watch it on my PS3. Same goes with Red Box.

    I’ll keep the cable TV as long as I can but, as soon as the channel selection degrades to the point where I don’t like it AND the Xfinity offerings can be easily be replaced by Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc, I’m going to Intenet only with Comcast.

    Yes, I’m a hanger-on.

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