A Sad Summer For TV
Traditional TV’s woes have been well documented over the past few years, as more viewers migrate from Broadcast and Cable to OTT (streamed) content. But I don’t think anyone could have foretold the decline in TV’s ratings this summer. In aggregate TV’s C3 ratings declined 12% over last summer, with Broadcast at -10% and Cable at -13% respectively. Of the major networks only Fox grew by 5%, and that was attributed to their World Cup coverage.
Why the TV free fall? Part of the decline is probably due to networks airing less new content in the summer than ever. Was anyone actually excited to see season 12 of So You Think You Can Dance?, or how about American Ninja Warriors, Jr? Broadcasters know fewer people than ever are watching during the summer, so they’re investing less resources into the season. This creates a self-fulfilling cycle of even lower ratings from fewer eyeballs watching retreaded programming.
The other problem, of course, is traditional TV’s overall downward trajectory. Right now 55% of US households now have TVs connected to the internet, which gives viewers all the new OTT choices like Netflix, Hulu, etc.. The behavioral patterns of watching this content is much different than traditional TV shows. Between subscription viewing (so no ads), and binge watching (which limits the ability to run LTO ads), there a fewer good advertising options on TV than ever before. Given this I’d expect TV’s summertime pain to continue into the foreseeable future.