TV ratings down, games blamed

Interesting article at ABC news:

The guy claims that TV ratings are down because the 18-34 males are playing online games. He doesn’t get into any hard numbers beyond the ratings dip, so it’s hard to say if he’s correct in his guess.

The fall-off in viewership is unprecedented, and among no group is this more the case that young males between 18 and 24, a prime target group for advertisers. Among this cohort, the drop in viewership has been an astounding 20 percent this year compared to last, which showed a 12 percent drop in men 18-34.

I wish he had said what the percentage dropoff amounted to in raw numbers of viewers. If it’s millions, I don’t think males 18-34 playing games can account for it. You’d have to factor in other things. If it’s something like 300,000 fewer viewers, than it could be online games.

It’s Michael Malone. He deals in conjecture and opinion. Numbers? Pfff!

It’s still an interesting piece, and may be a somewhat belated bit of trendspotting. But don’t expect Malone to follow-up. He wrote an column for the now-defunct Red Herring calling for Carly Fiorina’s resignation, since the Compaq merger was going to kill HP…

I hate it when “conventional” reporters “discover” the internet. They butcher the facts, are about a year behind the times anyway, and just come of to those “in the know” as a bunch of idiots who needed a few hundred words to explain some statistical blip.

I mean…

Counter-Strike, by comparison, is purely a product of the Web, and, as such, enables large numbers of individuals (a couple hundred per server) to form teams and play against each other.

The months following the introduction of Counter-Strike saw an explosion of teams, or “clans” from around the world forming to compete in the game.

Hey Mr Reporter Man – why don’t you try and actually play the damn game?

I don’t feel I have to do a lot of research to come to the conclusion that any decrease in TV watching is a result of TV sucking. To find out that TV sucks, all I have to do is turn it on. Obviously, TV isn’t one thing which can suck or not suck, “TV” is a collective term for all the individual shows that, more often than not, suck. So, in the face of all this sucking, what are people to do? Apparently, they’re watching less.

This means there are many hours per day which were previously spent watching TV which must now be filled in other ways. Will the American people fill that time by volunteering with the local food bank or animal shelter? No, they will find another activity which uses their over-developed sitting and staring at a screen muscles.

Shadaar: Nice one.

I note the authors credits at the bottom of the page…

"Michael S. Malone, once called “the Boswell of Silicon Valley,” "

As a reader of Boswell (the original one who wrote the greatest biography of all time and hung out with Voltaire and Rousseau) I can only pass on one of Doctor Johnsons aphorisms which I hope will help Mr. Malone endure some of the criticism posted here of his work.

“He who has provoked the shaft of wit, cannot complain that he smarts from it.”

Rod Humble, once called “the Lucretius of online gaming,”

Did anyone see that 60 Minutes bit about movire piracy, Kazaa and Gorkster?

The reporter kept referring to the Kazaa desktop as a “site.” At least call it a program or something.

Also, the concepts that we’re developed were pretty horrible. One idea was a site where you could d/l a movie for $5 or something.

Here’s my idea to help Hollywood. If you make a shitty movie that get’s shitty reviews, don’t fucking charge $13.50 (Canadian, sorry) at the theatre to see it, charge $5, all the time. Try to increase the number of viewers to offset the low cost. Make a movie that gets great reviews? Keep the price at the standard gouging rate.

I mean, the theatre makes most of their money from concessions anyway, so if you increase the number of viewers, you are bascially increasing the number of concesssions sold. Instant profit increase.

IT was reported that half of the money Hollywood movies make are from DVD/VHS sales. So do it with DVDs too! Why is dynamic pricing such a hard problem for these people to understand?!

Hell, are games the only product that (sorta) follow this rule? No one paid $69 (again, Canadian) for Deadly Dozen, and they probably sold more due to the budget pricing.

Maybe there’s less viewers because TV sucks even more now? How many dating reality / American Idol / Survivor / Lawyer-in-the-city shows are there?


I doubt TV’s all that worse. It’s always mostly sucked. Something else is going on to lose that many 18-34 male viewers.

I’m not sure why that columnist was fixated on online games, also. If a twenty-year old is playing Grand Theft Auto 3 he’s just as much not watching TV as he would be if he was playing Counter-Strike.

No, I’m a big TV junkie, and TV so far this season is a lot worse than last year. The Fox stuff is just starting up, so the jury’s still out on that, but there are no new shows I have any remote interest in, West Wing hasn’t been very good so far, Angel turned bad somehow over the summer… I don’t know what happened.

I did watch the premiere of Average Joe last night, and I might tune in again. I’m kinda terrified about how some of the guys will take rejection.

Hmm… influx of “reality TV” at the same time ratings among the major core audience (18-34) goes down. I wonder.

— Alan

Yeah, I’d tend to blame it more on the lack of quality programming than gaming. I spend more time gaming/reading than tv because besides sunday,tues,wednesday there just aint anything on that interests me. The networks seem to think reality shows are still popular and continue to produce that crap along with the same old tired sitcoms and dramas.

The only new show that I’ve watched repeatedly this season so far is A&E’s MI-5 import.

I disagree to an extent . . .

The only way that I am able to explain our family’s computer gaming to the older generation (even those only 5-10 years older) is “This is the replacement for TV in our household.”

Mind you, my wife still watches Charmed, I still watch the 'skins and hokies games, and my daughter still gets a good helping of spongebob squarepants.

But - on a consistent, day to day basis, we are at our desks for nightly entertainment, not the couch.


Well, it’s the networks that are mostly hurting. A big thing that’s happening is that there are a bunch of breakout shows on cable that are luring viewers away from an increasingly stale network lineup. My wife and I took a look at the shows we have a TiVo Season Pass for and the only show on the Big 3 we watch regularly is Alias (although with the direction this season is going, I’m not sure we’ll be watching much longer). I still watch The Simpsons, so there’s one show on Fox. My wife likes Angel and Gilmore Girls, so that’s two on the WB. And we still record Enterprise, but really haven’t been watching it… so that’s one on UPN, I guess.

Everything else we watch appears to be on cable:
MI-5 (great great Brit import)
Good Eats
The Shield
Six Feet Under
Amerian Chopper
Queer Eye (I like it, so sue me)

Cable is finally started to deliver on the promise of true niche programming. Why should I have to slog through the banal crap I don’t really care about on the networks when I can watch the banal crap that I really dig on cable.

Fantastic show. You have good taste, even if watching QE makes you a metrosexual.

My TV hours are down for a long time now. I do tend to spend the time in front of my computer (though i don’t play CS :wink: ). I read here, I play games, try to develop some shit. When I see a sitcom it seems to me like a bunch of people reciting lines. The news depress me (I live in Israel), and I hate watching sports, soaps, and especialy reality shows which make me feel embarrsed for some reason.

I like most of that list but never saw mythbusters- what the hell is it?

tromik- They DO price DVDs that way. Thats why Suicide Kings is like 8.99 new… I’ve never really heard a huge outcry on dvd pricing I think it is something they really got right. Especially with CDs costing more than most movies, the movie making folks look like saints when they have a whole movie selling for less than the soundtrack.

I haven’t watched much TV for years. Doing stuff with the computer has replaced my TV viewing time. The stuff on TV bores me for the most part, though I watch sitcoms now and then and still catch some of the cop shows, like NYPD Blue and Law and Order. I don’t see them every week though. I probably watch The Simpsons and Seinfeld reruns more than anything else.

I really dig MI-5, and while I’m not a huge fan of Queer Eye, I enjoy the cooking stuff. It’s a great way to get extremely simple recipes for morons that taste great.

I like most of that list but never saw mythbusters- what the hell is it?

It’s these two guys (I think they used to work in the Movie FX biz) who do wacky experiments to prove or disprove popular myths and urban legends.

Like the one about tossing a penny off the Empire State Building.

or the dangers of boiling water in the microwave.

They hosts are pretty entertaining and kind of sadistic. That’s what makes the show fun.

I think it’s on the discovery channel.

My tv hours have been down for years. I never watched much besides sports, and Civ 1 cured me of most of that. I still watch a few hours of basketball here and there, but that’s about it.

TV is facing a lot more competition for entertainment time than existed when I was a kid. My wife and daughter end up watching movies on DVD rather than TV for the most part. (And my wife says that once she got used to not seeing commercials, she just can’t go back.) I play games and read message boards like this one. Etc. TV ratings are going nowhere but down.