TV Ratings Take Hit, Execs Blame New Media Platforms

Television viewership is suffering a steep decline so far this season. Or is it?

The raw ratings tell a dramatic story, according to the Financial Times. TV executives rush to point out that more people today watch shows on alternative media outlets like cell phones and tablets, and the current ratings services aren't able to assess those formats accurately yet.

So far this season, average primetime ratings for live and same-day viewing among 18-49-year-olds has fallen by more than 10 per cent for ABC, CBS and Fox, according to UBS investment research. Fox has suffered the largest decline, with ratings in that audience group falling by nearly a third so far this season.

Only Comcast’s NBC has registered a season-to-date increase in average primetime ratings among 18-49 year olds, up 22 per cent.

It makes sense that TV viewership will inevitably decline. Consumers simply have too many options these days, from archives of older TV shows to video games and YouTube content.

It's also clear the new TV season lacks the kind of buzz-worthy breakout programs that make television cool all over again.


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