The Irrelevant Television Networks
It is a combination of technology and their own undoing.
When I was a kid, we gathered around the Boob Tube in the family room and watched a few shows every week.
Some that come to mind include, Mannix, All in the Family, Mission Impossible, 60 Minutes and MASH.
This was part of our Must Watch TV.
My Dad worked for Magnavox so we had access to some of the early releases of consumer electronics, including VCR’s.
But recording a show to watch later wasn’t a habit. It was a rarity.
Television networks consisted of ABC, CBS, NBC and in a few markets, PBS.
Cable TV was starting out but folks who were able to receive the above mentioned networks, were hard to convince to “buy cable”.
30+ years later and the world has changed.
Nearly 90% of my hometown subscribes to cable, FIOS or a satellite service that pumps between 50 and 500 channels into those homes.
I still like the major networks and they are my primary source for entertainment and information coming out of my flat screen boob tube.
I am disturbed by the lack of family friendly content that airs in the first hour of prime time, which used to be a safe time slot for Mom & Dad to watch a show with the kids.
The amount of programming content that includes either sexual innuendos or outright sex talk continues to increase as these networks think they need to push the envelope further and further.
But what really burns my britches is the weird scheduling of reruns in place of fresh shows.
Showing my age: TV Networks would air new shows for 20 to 26 weeks, followed by 26 weeks of reruns. A season would start after Labor Day and with the exception of a few special holiday shows, award shows, or other special programming, we were trained to tune in at 8pm for _____________. Then during late spring and summer, those 20 to 26 episodes would air a 2nd time as a rerun.
Summer was also the time to test a new show to see if it was worthy of getting a regular season time slot.
Now, we still get our summer reruns, our summer “short series” but we also have to put up with reruns during the months we would always get fresh, new shows.
The production costs have increased, the number of viewers has decreased and technology allows viewers to time-shift their favorite shows.
So when a network disappoints us by airing a rerun, some of us flip to see what else is on that we have not seen before, and the networks lose even more viewership.
The one saving grace behind all of this is for the local television stations that are embracing technology by creating multiple ways for viewers to get the information and entertainment they want.
News, weather, sports updates on my phone, my tablet, and my laptop may not increase my viewership, but TV stations can still count me as one of theirs and sell advertising (make money) if I am participating with one or more of their “channels” on the “screen of my choice.”
What about you? What are your viewing habits compared to a few years ago?