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WHY ARE TV RATINGS SO LOW?

August 11, 2015

I’ve commented on this before, but television remains one of the last “mass media” options out there for firms that want to reach a wide variety of people. Unfortunately, the old world of a few popular shows having giant ratings is gone forever. FOX network was beaming because they got 24 million to watch their Presidential Debate. So why, when you have 350 million potential viewers, is reaching 7% of the audience considered something to crow about? Well, it is because there are simply too many choices out there to get high ratings.

At the Television Critics Association’s summer meeting, John Landgraf, the CEO of FX networks, confessed that he long ago lost the ability to keep track of every TV series.  “You take a fixed audience and divide it by 400-plus shows, it stands to reason their ratings will go down,” he said.

Meanwhile, viewers’ access to programs has extended from the night a given episode is introduced to potentially any time after that, thanks to video-on-demand and digital platforms spreading out each series’ audience over days and even months.

You’re seeing a transformation in the mode that people are using to access television,” Landgraf added. With increasing viewership on apps or subscription video on-demand it really is requiring a new approach to using TV. Just some more marketing food for thought.

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