Let me preface this by saying that I am in no way an expert. I just monitor ratings for amusement and for blogging.
I’ve peviously talked about the Nielson Rating System before. I’m not going to go into my thoughts on how it is a flawed system in our modern day and age. Since I wrote about the rating system, some things have changed. In some ways things have been altered so that we can see changes coming. What I want to talk about is how much the ratings are down this year.
Some of you may know that last year Empire popped on the scene giving the industry a temporary feeling of hope. Not only did Empire premiere big, but it went on to rise week after week until it reached levels that we simply don’t see anymore. That had to be a sign that things were simply changing in the industry. There was a chance of an upswing. Wrong. It was a sign that FOX struck gold on a show with solid performances that captivated a large portion of the audience. More importantly, that show became eventized. It spreadlike wildfire. With ratings going up like that signaled people telling their friends who would then catch up and then watch it live and tell more people, starting the cycle over again. Due to the serial nature of the show, if we didn’t have the digital mediums we do now that would have allowed people to catch up so they can talk about it live with other people Empire would not have seen the unprecedented continual creep upward.
We are now in a period when a 2.0 rating for the 18-49 bracket is a good thing. Anything over a 2.0 is doing great. It’s solid. Below that you begin to question, but shows are getting renewed with ratings as low as 1.4 average. Obviously networks want higher because that means more money for advertisements. This season’s premieres were for the most part rather low. The ratings deemed good for a premiere this year would have been abysmal a couple years ago when I started this blog.
The interesting thing is that it doesn’t seem that TV is being watched any less. In fact, I think it may be watched more. When you mention a show now, I feel like people recognize them and have watched many more things than previously. This is largely because we can now go back and watch shows at any time. It allows shows to find broader audiences. That said, the ability to watch when you want is something many people are embracing. People younger than me watch shows almost only online. People my age watch things online on their own schedule. Heck, it is to the point that my parents watch things online on their own schedule.
We’ve had these ways to watch shows online for so long that even my technology illiterate mother knows how to watch a show online when she has the opportunity. If every generation I know and interact with regularly are watching shows online then how many are really watching live. Yet, it’s clear that people are watching these shows.