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You're Watching Less TV 769

Posted by timothy
from the my-gosh-it's-full-of-stars dept.
NickFusion writes "With a plethora of online games, chat, IM, email and, well, Slashdot, who's got time to watch television? Evidently, not men ages 18-34. The NY Times (free reg, etc) takes a look at the issue and comes to conclusions that will shock, I say shock, the average Slashdot reader. Meanwhile, Fox Broadcasting Corp. is calling for a recount. Disclosure: I'm quoted in the NY Times article, and so is one Rob Malda. Mom will be so proud!"
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You're Watching Less TV

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  • No hurry.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mr.henry (618818) * on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:12PM (#8714662) Journal
    As a guy in the 18-34 bracket, I find it more convenient to just download commercial free SVCD episodes of TV shows I want to watch. You can usually find them a couple hours to a couple of days after they air live. I usually let a couple weeks worth of episodes build up, then just have a mini-marathon of Alias or Simpsons or whatever.

    It's cheaper than a TiVo and I get to keep stuff permanently. Also, I can enjoy The Sopranos and (before it was canceled..) Jeremiah without having to cough up $$$ for the expensive channels.

    • by nightsweat (604367) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:18PM (#8714737)
      Now I know you're lying. No one enjoyed Jeremiah.
    • Re:No hurry.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WormholeFiend (674934) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:24PM (#8714822)
      No hurry indeed.

      Not only do I lack the time to watch TV, I dont have the time to watch the shows I download!

      I've got a piles of CDRs that are THIS HIGH, waiting to be watched.

      Feels like I'm starting to have a mindless collection habit, like those people who collect beer bottle caps or something.
    • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:24PM (#8714828)
      I fondly remember the day I discovered Farscape while in the middle of of season 3. I spent a month watching one or two episodes a day, living and breathing the stuff.

      It's a truly heady experience and one I heartily recommend. Being able to pull down the entertainment you want, when you want it is going to change the way things work at a very basic level. Media executives should be scrambling to figure out how to switch to a subscription model before their ad dollars dry up.
      • by Jerf (17166) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @05:37PM (#8718895) Journal
        I've done this on Stargate SG-1, and more recently my wife has as well.

        A well done "alternate world" show (more general then sci-fi, and there are some sci-fi shows that IMHO wouldn't qualify, most notably Star Trek) benefits amazingly from the immersion you can do if you want.... if it doesn't scare you too much.

        Television shows on DVD are two or three times better then TV shows on TiVo, which are themselves three or four times better then the TV show broken up by commercials all the time. The ability to watch, uninterrupted by more then a few seconds, three or four episodes in a row is awesome.

        One particular Stargate arc that is really enhanced by this is the one that starts with Upgrades [gateworld.net] and ends with Divide and Conquer [gateworld.net] (3 episodes total). Much more compelling drama as a ~2 hour single event then three seperate episodes.
    • by vaporakula (674048) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:48PM (#8715125)
      Reading the parent made me wonder if a lot of mod's had the wool pulled over their eyes... Sounds like trolling to me. But, since it's +4 interesting... I'll feed. Who do you think pays for those high quality Soprano's productions? The suckers who don't have broadband + a burner? What happens when they dry up, no one subscribes to HBO, and we all want our entertainment for free? Guess what... no Sopranos. Yes, the entertainment industry needs to grok the net and it's capabilities / appeals. But don't kid yourself - as a pirate, you are violating copyright laws and contributing to the decline of quility programming on TV. Less cash from the customers = less output, plain and simple (Enron economics aside).
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:59PM (#8715281)
        What happens when they dry up, no one subscribes to HBO, and we all want our entertainment for free? Guess what... no Sopranos.

        And no more van Goghs... oh, wait. He didn't make any money.

        These are the fears that have been expressed over every popular entertainment medium since the advent of the printing press.

        The best art IMO comes from the desire to entertain, innovate and make great art; when art that exists solely or primarily to make a profit fades away will we really be worse off as a society?

        as a pirate, you are violating copyright laws and contributing to the decline of quility programming on TV.

        Doubtful, or at least questionable. The pirate is not taking revenue from HBO and it is uncertain whether he/she would purchase HBO were the option to pirate it unavailable. Where information is concerned, a freeloader is not necessarily parasitic.
        • by Blic (672552) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:20PM (#8715602)
          Just to play devil's advocate... =)

          And no more van Goghs... oh, wait. He didn't make any money.

          Not necessarily a valid comparison. There's very few prohibitive costs associated with painting. Maybe a few hundred (if that) on brushes, paints and canvases. A TV show requires a bit more capital... =)

          The pirate is not taking revenue from HBO and it is uncertain whether he/she would purchase HBO were the option to pirate it unavailable.

          Hard to say. If I couldn't download the episodes I *might* subscribe to HBO. Though probably I'd just rent them after they came out on DVD... =)

          • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:35PM (#8715810) Homepage
            TV shows might turn out to be economically unsupportable. If that's true, it's no reason to artificially prop them up with oppressive laws. I'd rather have reasonable laws, and whatever can thrive in those circumstances.

            Certainly my plans for moving stars around to form a picture would produce some great artwork -- but is it really reasonable of me to demand that copyrights be changed so as to make it profitable to do? If not, then the same could be said of big-budget TV.

            It doesn't bother me. Shakespeare had a stage, no lighting, no backdrops, a few props, costumes that were just ordinary clothing donated to the theater company, and he produced some of the best plays ever. If you're a good storyteller, you can always manage somehow on a low budget. If you suck, a big budget won't make your work any better.

            So don't knock low-budget TV.
      • by Jaysyn (203771) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `todhsals+nysyaj'> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:01PM (#8715298) Homepage Journal
        OK, I subscribe to Cartoon Network (thru DirecTV). I cannot stay up late enought to watch ATHF. I download said episodes from the P2P of the day so that I can watch them later. Time shifting is legal & I've paid for the programming, so what is the problem?

        Jaysyn
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:05PM (#8715365)
        It's debatable whether a few people downloading episodes of their favorite TV programs can significantly impact the entertainment industry. If it does so in a negative way, so what? The overall market is driven by what consumers want. If people don't think television shows are good enough to pay for or to wade through a bunch of ads then there's no real loss to begin with. Maybe more people will go outside for a change if the current industry folds. Or, god willing, we'll start seeing some really innovative stuff from other people...

        In any case, it's just irresponsible to call something like this "thieving." We have different laws for theft and copyright infringment for a good reason - they're different actions with different consequences. Our ideas and intuitions about whether it is right to take an object away from someone else don't directly apply to making a copy of something. If you don't think infringing copyright is a good idea, that's fine, but I strongly urge you to not to resort to appeals to emotion by calling it "thieving." It just makes you look like you have an agenda.
      • Product placement (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall (25149) *
        That's what in-show product placement is for, and why it will become more widespread.
      • by Progman3K (515744) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:43PM (#8715916)
        >as a pirate, you are violating copyright laws and contributing to the decline of quility programming on TV.

        I feel *so* guilty thinking that the networks soon won't be able to produce shows like Survivor, the Bachelor, Train 48 and that show with the toupeee guy... Donald Trump.
    • Business Opportunity (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pavon (30274) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:49PM (#8715141)
      If any big media people are out there, take this as indication of a new opportunity for revenue. I too am a 18-34 year old and don't watch TV. I don't have time on weekdays to do that, and given the small amount I would watch, cable just isn't worth it. Furthermore I am not such a fan of most of these shows that I would buy the DVD. Lastly while finding episodes to download can be inconvienient, not to mention illegal, it is the best option right now (but just to clarify, I don't - I have good reason to stay clean right now).

      What do I want? I want to drive down to the video store and rent these. I heard "24" was good, I wouldn't mind renting the first season over a couple weekends. I never got to see Dr Who as a kid - I would love to rent those. I have seen a few series in the rentals (like south park) but not that many. Of course blockbuster only has so much floor space, and can only have so many DVD's, so why don't they have one megawarehouse per city that is full of all sorts of hard to find movies and episodes. Advertise it in the normal outlets and work it like inter-library loan.

      Of course, another solution would be a legit download service, but since there is no way to inforce the rental concept, it would be purchase only if they were willing to do it at all, and at that price point it wouldn't earn my business. So mega-rentals.
    • by fishdan (569872) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:56PM (#8715227) Homepage Journal
      Complain about Jeremiah being cancelled, but contribute to the bad numbers by downloading?

      Not that I think this is a bad strategy. I'm ripping and distributing 7th Heaven [thewb.com] in an attempt to get it off the air. So far, no luck. No downloads either. I think the ideal TV audience is the techno-illiterate.

      The Boob tube indeed.

  • Online (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:12PM (#8714665) Homepage Journal
    Well, lets see: with my research occupying upwards of 80-90 hours a week working, including some time posting on Slashdot :-), who has time for TV?

    Seriously though, I mark my time online historically with the first major news announcement I heard online before I heard it via television. That news item was the Oklahoma city bombing of the Federal Building. Since then I have received most of my news items online rather than through traditional outlets. Even as a subscriber to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, I get most of my content online.

    Additionally, with the increasing productivity of the average American worker just trying to keep their jobs, one might suppose that the Internet provides for a more flexible media resource outlet allowing folks to customize their news searches without having to wait through the tripe and entertainment garbage that Fox News and more recently CNN et. al. have been delivering.

    • Re:Online (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stargoat (658863) <stargoat@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:22PM (#8714794) Journal
      Good point. News on television is laughable. Why bother with that pointless medium when you have the news you want on the Internet? You get newspaper quality coverage 24/7 and you don't need to deal with the folks who can't seem to make up their minds about what is important and what isn't. I certainly don't watch television so I can see a pixilated breast at the superbowl.

      TV has to make itself more relevant if it is to survive. Sure, the Simpsons and 70s Show makes me laugh, and I might occasionally tune in, but otherwise I'll just flip it off and listen to some tunes. So basically, there's nothing good on.

      So what does television need to do? Experiment. I want to see stuff on television I haven't seen before, not some dumbass sitcom that's revolutionary because it has a gay person. Real life is far more interesting. Until television takes risks that might let it fail and produces the amazing goods that result, we're not going to bother watching.

      • Re:Online (Score:5, Funny)

        by sc00p18 (536811) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:51PM (#8715162)
        So what does television need to do? Experiment. I want to see stuff on television I haven't seen before, not some dumbass sitcom that's revolutionary because it has a gay person. Real life is far more interesting.

        Wait a minute, did you just make an argument for reality TV? Nooooooooooooooo!!!! ;-)
  • by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:13PM (#8714670) Homepage
    For my wife and I, high-speed Internet access is half the price of cable TV. We can get news and weather in an instant with my Internet connection. The only compelling reason we have for getting cable is Comedy Central, and while I miss South Park and The Daily Show, they sure as hell ain't worth over $50 a month.

    We still watch good ol' broadcast TV every now and then, and we still have favorite shows, but we really don't watch much TV, simply because TV has been replaced by the Internet for instant-access news, information, and interactive entertainment. Cable just isn't worth it anymore.

    • by 4of12 (97621) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:19PM (#8714757) Homepage Journal

      we really don't watch much TV, simply because TV has been replaced by the Internet

      We don't watch much live TV, simply because TV has been replaced by agonizingly long stretches of shrill inane advertisements with interruptions of what passes for programming.

      Everything we do watch comes off the TiVo, and still it takes 75 channels to find worthwhile content.

    • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:34PM (#8714958) Homepage
      For my wife and I, high-speed Internet access is half the price of cable TV.

      That's enough to explain it. Simple price competition. High-speed Internet penetration is growing rapidly and is expected to pass cable TV in about two years. Cable has been stuck at 66% for years, while broadband is already somewhere in the 45% range.

      Not having cable TV, I had no idea people were paying $79 a month for a basic tier of channels. I thought it was still around $18.

    • The Lure (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) *
      Immediate access to information is one thing. I've been fed up with teasers on the news for ages. "Coming up after these messages a carbomb goes off at the local mall" (you find it really was a terrorism drill, but that a talking head would consider this appropriate adds to my distrust of TV news.)

      I hear that Alistair Cooke has passed away, on the radio on the way in to work and I can do a search through Google News and get a bit more information from choosing a source or two. I couldn't do this with TV

  • by yebb (142883) * on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:14PM (#8714683)
    This is a product of the fact that people want to be able to reclaim their time. That is to say, letting a box push information to them at it's own speed is a waste of time and doesn't give them exactly what they want.

    TV isn't going anywhere though, as soon as the TV companies get off their collective butts and get more and more on-demand TV then viewers will return to that medium (even if it is through their computer/digital entertainment unit).

    The days of people flipping through channels are ending, and the days of people flipping through menus of available media better be coming soon, or else they risk alienating a generation of people who don't have the time/desire to waste their life waiting for a show to start.
    • by BWJones (18351) *
      TV isn't going anywhere though, as soon as the TV companies get off their collective butts and get more and more on-demand TV then viewers will return to that medium (even if it is through their computer/digital entertainment unit).

      Indeed. What has amazed me however is that the TV and cable companies have not yet moved to a pure subscription model allowing you to pay for the TV that you watch or letting you even pay for the individual channels you want to watch. For instance, there are probably half a d
      • Agreed. I'd just like to subscribe to Discovery and History Channel and I might even pay-per-view for high-end Formula 1 coverage or stuff like Sopranos or Band of Brothers but no. It's either a package deal of mostly-crap channels I'd never watch or no deal at all.

        On a similar note, I've just got to wonder about the digital TV and how it's being crammed down our throats.

        Where I live the transition to digital TV is supposed to be over by 2008 when the last of the analog channels is scheduled to be taken

    • by hendridm (302246) *

      This is a product of the fact that people want to be able to reclaim their time. That is to say, letting a box push information to them at it's own speed is a waste of time and doesn't give them exactly what they want.

      I agree. My fiance and I had to decide between keeping the cable or getting an extra cell phone. We decided to get the extra cell phone, as we'd get more use of it. It's been a blessing. We don't miss the toxic waste that was on the extra cable channels (we still have basic), and we're

  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Demanche (587815) <chris.h@rediffmail.com> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:14PM (#8714686)
    I don't know about the other guys in that age range - but who wants to watch all these reality shows? I had hard enough time keeping up with season 10 of a normal show, now theres season 5 of ppl doing weird stuff on tv.
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stephenisu (580105) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:32PM (#8714930)
      You read my mind.

      The male demographic is sick of being pushed utter crap. Just when I start to think "Reality TV" is dying, I see a commercial for THE BEST SURVIVOR EVAR!! right before the tube cuts back to American Idol.

      I promptly want to throw up, and hit the power button on the ol' PS2 (among other consoles)

      Then again I wonder if they are producing this crap for girls KNOWING guys are watching less.
      • Demographics (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:35PM (#8715817) Homepage
        Then again I wonder if they are producing this crap for girls KNOWING guys are watching less.

        You've unknowingly hit on a very fascinating sub-world of advertising, the "target demographic." If you want to know who the networks think are watching, then pay attention to the commercials. This is actually one of my morbid curiosities. I sometimes get a kick out of flipping to some outrageous, twisted show, just to see the commercials and see who the network thinks is watching. Sometimes its funny, sometimes its scary.

        For example. What kind of commercials do you see during "The Apprentice?" I would think that a show like that would appeal to men, so I would expect to see manly commercials. Yet if you notice, you'll see that there are a surprisingly high number of commercials for feminine hygiene products, cleaning products (whose commercials always feature women, exclusively, by the way - so much for equal contributions in the home and eliminating stereotypes, eh? Where are the men in those commercials? At work? Is that what we're supposed to conclude?), and vaccuum cleaners.

        Now flip over to SpikeTV. I guarantee you'll never see a maxipad commercial there. :) However, you do notice some other disturbing things. Pay attention during the "Power Block" on Spike. Of course, you see commercials for car products, tools, and whatever, but notice the way the commercials are pitched. Lots of special effects, shouting, and flashing lights. The same type of visual stimulation you'd use to capture a child's attention, or people with short attention spans and stunted maturity. Even more disturbingly, you see an unusually high concentration of commercials for credit counseling. Apparently, SpikeTV thinks its viewers are young, poor, hyperactive males with little earning power. In order to afford the expensive "car-toys" on their shows and commercials, they offer them credit and bankruptcy help. Hmm. And we wonder why the country's average personal debt load is so frighteningly high. They are pushing a culture of borrowing and short term vision for immediate gratification.

        Finally, one last, even more revealing example. I was home sick from work the other day, and had the TV on. To entertain my little voyeuristic interest, I had it on FOX for a while. Examining FOX's target demographic is among the most easiest, funniest, and scariest, all rolled into one. You can immediately tell that FOX caters to the heavily conservative, religious audience, with low income and a very gossipy nature. The shows they run during the daytime are trashy talk shows and court "reality" shows with lots of yelling. The commercials are even more revealing. Lawyers come on once or twice every commercial break asking if you've been injured. Apparently, if you've been hurt, even through your own stupid fault, they'll find someone else to blame (and, of course, to sue).

        Scads of credit counseling/consolidation commercials. Lots of ads pitching trade school or diploma programs. Apparently, the demographic that is home during the weekdays, watching FOX is poor, uneducated, conservative, voyueristic, and looking to get rich quick.

        I don't do it often, but when I do watch TV, I enjoy trying to read between the lines and see what networks and advertisers really think of their viewers. It can be quite enlightening.
        • Re:Demographics (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Zigg (64962) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:50PM (#8716022)

          While there's certainly some truth to the target demographic angle, it must also be considered that a lot the ads you're going to see on cable, especially smaller cable stations, are after the cheap rates more than the target demographic. Target demographics are for much more for million-dollar Super Bowl ads than they are for buying cheap spots in bulk (ever notice the same ad gets run on almost every break on some channels?)

          Also: cable providers also sell ad spots on some channels to local advertisers. I suspect these are done with no concern for targeting at all, given I've seen the same spot everywhere, and again, several times an hour...

        • Re:Demographics (Score:5, Informative)

          by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @03:17PM (#8717251) Homepage
          Actually, you may not know it, but you've hit on one of the key reasons why the male 18-35 demographic is disappearing. Donny Deutch, who owns the Deutch advertising agency had the editor of TV guide on his show and the guy basically said the following:

          Women have all the spending power these days, even if its their mans money they're using. Advertisers want to sell to these women, so they make ads for the women. TV stations want to sell ad time so in an effort to increase advertiser interest in an already cutthroat market, they put on more and more shows that would attract female viewers. This has the obvious side effect of alienating the male 18-35 demographic.

          And these execs wonder why Sopranos has the ratings it does, or Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. Jesus. I'm in advertising/marketing and this is the most obvious problem in the world, especially since I fit into the "missing" demographic.

          We are entering a world where the old solution of casting out a huge net and seeing what you get is no longer nearly as effective as it once was. The future is in niche market advertising and those who adopt early will reap the rewards.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Funny)

      by DroopyStonx (683090) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:04PM (#8715336)
      but who wants to watch all these reality shows?

      Middle-aged office secretaries. Every office has a gaggle of them where all they do is talk and gossip about who's getting voted off, fired, etc. The thing is, they think everyone watches it, as if it's really something to do.

      "OMG, you DON'T WATCH JOE MULTIMILLIONAIRE?!"
      "Uh, no. You ask me this every week."
      "Yeah, but that show is GOOD."
      "...you're lonely, aren't you?"

      Basically it gives them something to look forward to in their otherwise meangingless lives.
  • by lovebyte (81275) <lovebyte2000.gmail@com> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:15PM (#8714693) Homepage
    Quoting the penultimate paragraph:
    Mr. Spector sees things a little differently. The missing men grew up with a joystick in hand, he said, and computer games have grown up with them.

    No comment necessary.
  • I can agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the Man in Black (102634) <jasonrashaad@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:15PM (#8714695) Homepage
    Speaking from the middle of the 18-34 set (I'm 25) I can agree that most of us guys are watching a lot less boob tube. Partially because hardly anything worthwhile comes on (teen dramas and reality shows. And that's IT) the networks, and partially because a lot of us are pulling long hours at our jobs/universities trying to get our respective shit together, and when we get home, it's to watch the news or a freshly Tivo-ed basketball game or episode of the Sopranos. (Or Pr0n. Sweet, delicate pr0n). Then right off to sleep.

    When I was in high school, I had much more free time to just veg out in front of the TV AND there seemed to be a better selection of things on (ST:TNG...BUFFY!). Cable networks are where it's at for decent entertainment.

    Then of course the problem becomes the exorbitant rates cable companies want ($72.50/month for basic "digital" + HBO where I'm from. Fuck all that). But that's a rant for another time.
    • Re:I can agree (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Loconut1389 (455297) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:46PM (#8715102)
      True about the reality thing... ever since big brother, the number of shows that are 'reality tv' have increased dramatically.. including a bagillion new shows and some older ones that have sort of intertwined with the reality tv format.

      Back when i was in high school i used to watch X-Files and that was about it. When I got to college I watched a lot of simpsons and futurama. Then I discovered the campus network and realized I didnt have to turn on the TV at weird hours to watch my shows. Then I got further into my major and my tv became disconnected from everything but my home theater setup.

      I'd rather be -in- the simpsons with Hit and Run on gamecube or watching the simpsons episodes with commentary or being able to pick an episode i like than having to watch it on tv when they tell me and sit through the ads.

      Most of the time, even if i like a series on TV, ala West Wing, Alias, Osbournes, etc., I wait until they come out on DVD so I can watch at my leisure. I could buy a tivo, but the initial cash output is too high. Id rather have the special features, plus DVD sound and progressive scan is the only way to watch.

      The day they have HD TV on Demand, where a show becomes available to watch at X time and Y date, and then you can pick from available shows any time, day or night (even if you have to sit through some commercials), I'm in. But I think theyll ultimately need to go commercial free subscription service on a pay per viewing scheme or an ulimited scheme for more money. Maybe pay by airtime. That way if I have a busy month and watch an hour of TV i only pay for an hour of TV plus some base monthly rate. Then if i watch a thousand hours, i fall into the X hours and over group and pay some flat rate.

      The TV Industry and the music industry have a lot to learn and fast, about what the people want and what the people will tolerate and for how long.
  • by red floyd (220712) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:15PM (#8714697)
    Wasn't it a Fox exec who commented that not watching the commercials was theft?

    Obviously we must ban video games and the Internet because they are stealing potential revenue from the media companies!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:19PM (#8714750)
      This isn't a far off concept. It wouldn't surprise me to see media companies begin to find ways to attack broadband companies. The National Association of Broadcasters (which is the radio industry trade group) has begun to attack satellite radio providers (XM, Sirius) both on the air (Entercom is airing anti-satellite propoganda on their affiliates) and within the legal system. For example, the NAB is seeking to prevent satellite radio broadcasters from airing local traffic reports. The idea being that, basically, the only thing people listen to radio for anymore is traffic. And if satellite offers tons of channels, no commercials and now... TRAFFIC... guess who suffers? Traditional media outlets are under attack from new technology and they can't cope. Not entirely unlike the RIAA and MP3 fiasco.
    • by gfxguy (98788) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:36PM (#8714977)
      I will, sadly, correct you - it was a Turner executive (or a Time Warner executive, depending how you look at it).

      Sadly because I work for a Turner company. I will say this - we were all embarrased when he said it.
    • by Strudelkugel (594414) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:56PM (#8715238)

      Interesting to note how many times TiVo is mentioned in the posts. I bought one three years ago, and can honestly say watching TV w/o a DVR is almost impossible for me now. That's not to say I don't watch ads anymore, either. A few will actually capture my attention as I fast forward, the rest are ignored. I've always thought DVRs could be really good for advertising, once ad agencies figure out how to exploit their characteristics. But as usual, big media reaches for the lawyers instead.

      The networks views of video games sure miss the mark, too. TV companies have been flailing around for compelling interactive TV shows, yet the obvious success story is online gaming. Seems to me online games certainly qualify as interactive television. The "tuning" process and consoles are a bit different from TV sets, but in general games are broadcast content produced by studios for distribution.

      Possibly the next Ted Turner will be someone who starts a "game" channel. Maybe the prototype is what we find in hotels and on intercontinental flights today.

  • by hyperherod (574576) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:16PM (#8714709)
    ...can be found here [nytimes.com].
  • by Tatarize (682683) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:16PM (#8714711) Homepage
    Don't get me wrong, but I fit smack into that bracket and I don't get cable or sat. I just use my broadband connection to download all the shows I need.

    Few bittorrent sites, supranova.org, torrentz.com, and an irc.irchighway.net network later and I've dropped completely off their "This group watches TV" radar, when the fact is I have over half a terabyte of TV.
    • Good Point.

      But are you watching the advertisements?

      --jeff++
      • I do (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SuperKendall (25149) * on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:21PM (#8715614)
        I try to seek out commercials. Why is AdCritic (or something like it) not free, sponsored by the very ads they offer? You'd think advertisers would be keen on having people download and view the ads, much less knowing exactly how many people have done so... I actually enjoy watching a good commercial, but you'd think distributing them was a crime. Pretty much my only source is P2P.

        I don't like commercials in the middle of shows so much, but can tolerate product placement. I think more shows will head that way. They pretty much have to!
  • TiVO Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nightsweat (604367) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:16PM (#8714712)
    You'd think TiVo and other PVR's (Replay, Myth, Sage) would lead to increased TV viewing, but I would argue it keeps you from watching that piece of junk between two shows you actually care about. That gets you out of the habit of just mentally grazing TV and into the habit of active viewing
    • Re:TiVO Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gfxguy (98788) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:43PM (#8715068)
      It's interesting... I had a friend who I consider to be pretty intelligent (hey, he's a .com millionaire now and I'm still working "for the man").

      I was discussing the signifigance of "lead-ins" and commercial breaks. Specifically I mentioned that Friends was used by NBC to get people to watch whatever came AFTER it...

      How? By having NO commercials after the credits and going directly into a non-critical few seconds of the next show.

      He didn't realize it until I mentioned it to him that he was the "victem" of that practice and didn't even realize it.

      You are right - Tivo lets you be more discriminating. Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest, and lard asses with their fat asses on the couch tend to stay with their fat asses on the couch - until the tape ends. With live TV, the tape never ends. With Tivo, when the show's over, the show's over.

      I'll admit that, when I was younger, I'd tune in right after dinner and sit there until bedtime. Even when I played with my Atari computer, I'd also be watching TV. Mostly watching TV.

      And yes, I'd admit to once being a fat ass.
  • TV Shows on DVD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Craig Maloney (1104) * on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:16PM (#8714713) Homepage
    Honestly as more and more TV shows make the transition to DVD, there's even less reason to watch TV, especially with the arsenal of inane reality-based shows bombarding the airwaves. I can play program director at home and put on the re-runs I want to watch rather than having some person who doesn't know me try to make programming that matches my tastes. TV is going to have to morph into something REALLY compelling for me to turn it on anymore, and once the Simpsons goes off the air, they'll have to work damn hard to get me to use a TV tuner again.
  • by Frennzy (730093) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:16PM (#8714715) Homepage
    I'm turning 35 in a few months...does that mean I'll have to start watching more TV?
  • by waynegoode (758645) * on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:16PM (#8714716) Homepage
    What should they expect with the programming offered these days? Television's line-up is becoming more and more dumbed down with reality shows and the like. This alienates the more "enlightened" viewers who want more participation in their entertainment than just pushing buttons on a remote control. These dissatisfied viewers are also the ones who are more likely to spend time on the Internet or other non-TV activities. The shock is that it's taken this long for viewership to drop.

    Give people TV programs worth watching if you want them to watch TV.

  • by Sri Lumpa (147664) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:17PM (#8714722) Homepage
    ...50/60 years ago when TV started to get mainstream and people started watching more TV than reading.

    And the same will happen when a new medium appears.

    Number of entertainment forms increase while number of hours per week stays the same, therefore average number of hours spent on the old medium per person decrease as number of hours spent on the new medium increase said Dr It'sFuckingObvious in a press release today.
    • Maybe this will happen to newspapers as well, but for now I prefer the newspaper for background/behind the scene news. Currently there are little or no newssites that offer better researched or written stories. Quality goes a long way. Unfortunately, my work also goes a long way, and I have little time to read the articles I would normally read. And internet is indeed great for the latest news. I saw 9-11 first on CNN - CNN the site that is.
  • Lots of reasons... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by myg (705374) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:17PM (#8714724)
    As a male in that age range I've completely given up on TV. In my area I can't get any kind of reception and cable is too expensive for the few channels I would watch (TLC, Discovery, Comedy Central, etc).

    Its more cost effective for me to not buy cable; which is about the cost of two uncapped DSL lines both with static IP's in my area. Instead, I buy the occasional DVD when I'm in the mood for a movie.

    Another reason is that during the winter when you can actually go outside and not die of heat exhaustion I can sit on my patio with my laptop and wireless and use the net. If I want to watch TV then I'm stuck inside watching it inside.

    I think the media companies are going to have to deal with this trend. As much as they would like to turn the Inter-web into a one-way communications medium like TV, its just not going to happen. Thats one of the big draws. I don't have to view your crappy commercials or just be a passive consumer of information.

    If nothing else, the blogging fad is a big validator of the fact that people like to speak out in communications as much as absorb (well, most of us).

  • by capz loc (752940) <capzlocNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:17PM (#8714727)
    With the introduction of broadband internet and wireless networks to which you can connect from anywhere, we, as a society, have come to expect on-demand content. Television, with the exception of TiVo, does not fit into this new view of how we like to be entertained.

    I have noticed that I have almost stopped watching TV altogether not neseccarily because I don't like what's on, but because I don't feel like planning my day around what I want to watch. Sometimes, when I happen to be doing nothing, I will watch the Daily Show, but even a show as funny as that isn't really worth planning my evening around it.
  • Not me (Score:3, Funny)

    by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:18PM (#8714735) Homepage Journal
    I'm in that age bracket, and I've been watching more TV than ever.

    I sit at my coffee table with my laptop and a wireless card...the TV is almost always on.
  • Oh really, swan? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by strictnein (318940) * <strictfoo-slashdot@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:20PM (#8714768) Homepage Journal

    I love these TV execs who are whining. "The numbers don't add up!" "How could they not be watching are ever-wonderful "Ass Crap Reality Show"? Everyone loves it!"
    Give me a break. As a geek who doesn't even own a tv right now I don't miss watching TV at all. When we moved into our house I had to sell my TV (65in Sony HDTV - boo hoo) and the only reason I want a new TV is for three things: DVDs, XBox, PS2, all of which I have hooked up to old 20in computer monitors.
    The message is clear, your shows suck, and while watching drama queens fight over getting to stay on the island might interest younger women, it does absolutely nothing for young men.
  • by qbert911 (751066) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:20PM (#8714771) Homepage Journal
    I used to plop down on the sofa at night afraid I'd "miss something", I would watch my favorite shows (simpsons,futurama,poker) and usually flip around while waiting for the next one.

    Now that I have a TiVO (with dual tuner of course), I can look through all of the movies that will be on in the next three weeks and see if I want to watch any of them. I can tell if next week's poker game is one I have seen already, etc.

    With sufficient planning, I can come home and play UT2004 or with the wife (no really!) all evening, without the nagging voice in the back of my head saying "there is media you want to be absorbing, and you're missing it!"

    I suspect TiVO, by giving people the ability to plan and schedule their own viewing lets them cut out the crap they would usually sit through in the middle of the evening.

  • by tagishsimon (175038) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:21PM (#8714777) Homepage
    Mom does not need an endorsement of the fact that you've wasted your life to date on this interweb thingie. All she wants is grandchildren, Timothy. When are you going to deliver on that?
  • Interaction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FortKnox (169099) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:21PM (#8714790) Homepage Journal
    Sure, most sitcoms are just rehashing old (or sometimes current) ideas, and here are other issues people have been bringing up why television will fail, but I think the real reason we are seeing a declins it that computer games and apps (like IM) offer interaction. You can't get that with TV. Its as simple as that.
  • by prostoalex (308614) * on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:22PM (#8714795) Homepage Journal
    Okay, this quote on page 2 is worth bringing up:

    ComScore also collects data on Internet pornography-viewing habits, although that was not part of the online publishers' report. According to the company, more than 70 percent of men from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month, and those men make up 25 percent of the visitors to such sites. They are 39 percent more likely than the rest of the Internet population to visit the sites, said Graham Mudd, an analyst for comScore.


    There was also a report by Harris Interactive, that while 84% of college students have TVs, 91% have PCs [itfacts.biz].

  • by xutopia (469129) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:23PM (#8714815) Homepage
    All I see on TV nowadays is crappy shows for teenagers and women. Everything is a disgrace to men. Where are the gladiators, the boxing matches and the explosions? TV is now geared towards a woman's desire. I want blow em up stuff with the least possible emotions. That's right. No emotions at all!

    Big stations thought they had it right with reality TV but that certainly drove more women to the small screen but moved men away from it. Now we're playing more video games than ever and hating TV. At least there aren't ads in the middle of my game.

  • by Chang (2714) * on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:25PM (#8714841)
    I waste a lot of time tinkering with my MythTV box (thank you Isaac and team!).

    I spend so much time making my TV and video viewing time more productive that I don't have much time for actually watching TV.

    As a side benefit when I do sit down to watch some boob tube it's on my terms (no advertisements) and on my schedule.

  • Television sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone (681598) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:27PM (#8714863)
    Face it, folks. Television is 99% crap.

    At least one-third of the daily broadcast schedule is infomercials. Most of the "cable" channels run only popular shows from other networks, or heavily edited movies over and over and over again, basically just to fill time.

    Television advertising is grating, patronizing, lowest-denominator sludge which subtly insults as it offers suburban paradise with five-figure price tags to minimum-wage consumers, and interrupts the crappy programming eight times an hour to do so.

    Sitcoms aren't funny. Dramas are political speeches. The local news is a carnival barker, and reality programming is nothing but a metaphor of a society fascinated by the misfortune of the powerless.

    There hasn't been a meaningful sentence spoken on television in decades.
  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brad Mace (624801) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:28PM (#8714876) Homepage
    TV executives are so delusional that they can't even consider the possibility that a ratings drop could be due to their crappy shows. It MUST be a problem with nielson's measurements.

    What a pathetic group of people

  • I concur (Score:4, Interesting)

    by turtles11 (667466) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:29PM (#8714888) Homepage
    You know, I gotta agree. I'm in that demographic range and I sure don't watch half the TV I used to. I attribute this to two things:

    1)Reality TV

    2)Scifi cancelled Farscape

  • Not suprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wazzzup (172351) <astromac@nOSPaM.fastmail.fm> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:30PM (#8714900)

    With T.V. I can have tripe like "Yes Dear" forced upon me or I can view meaningful content on demand via the internet.

    For example, I can pay $80/mo. for standard, no movie channel cable from Time Warner and get news fed to me in 30 minute bursts or I can pay $8.95/mo. for internet access and read in-depth studies from sites like foreign affairs [foreignaffairs.org]. I can be a better parent and read about my gifted son's condition and learn from it on the internet or I can sit on my ass and watch Temptation Island.

    T.V. no longer consistently delivers meaningful content (if it ever did). Heck even formerly great channels like TLC have relegated themselves to regurgitating reruns of While You Were Out.

    The entire media industry is sooo out of touch with the populace and clearly have no clue how to react and change to an increasingly digital lifestyle so many of us are adopting.

  • TV is too expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by DocSnyder (10755) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:32PM (#8714917)
    In Germany, the GEZ [www.gez.de] (Gebuehreneinzugszentrale) demands every household with TV and/or radio to contribute a monthly fee which is more expensive (about 16 Euros) than a cheap DSL connection. What is more, GEZ people are known for their sometimes [www.gez.de] nasty methods to acquire subscribers [drugster.com]. So especially many students don't need a TV and put the money into more useful things like internet connectivity.
  • by gfxguy (98788) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:32PM (#8714928)
    What broadcasters need to do, IMO, is simply cut back on the costs of programming, then they wouldn't be whining and complaining that we're off doing something more useful (yes, at least playing games is more interactive).

    The biggest problem I have with TV is commercials. Cut down the commercials, and I'd watch more. I realize that's how they make money, but it's beyond my ability to see as many commercials as there are for the precious little content I'm getting.

    So: quit paying people Jennifer Anniston and Matt LeBlanc millions of dollars per episode, cut back on the commercials, and you'll get more viewers.

    I'd even equate it with taxes: by lowering taxes the government is making more money per capita then it was before. Sure, revenues are still down, but not as much as the tax cut was. I'd say cutting commercials would not hurt television as much as it would immediately seem to - because more people would watch and they could charge more for commercials.

    I suppose, then, they'd start getting greedy and we'd repeat the whole process all over again...
    • by Strange Ranger (454494) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @02:09PM (#8716366)
      > quit paying people Jennifer Anniston and Matt LeBlanc millions of dollars per episode

      No kidding. Bring back ugly people!

      Remember Taxi? Mash? Cheers? Heck even Archie Bunker. These shows were all high quality programming. Great writing. Lines that were funny without a laugh track telling you so. And the best part.. I could relate to the characters. Karla from Cheers wasn't hot, but we all knew somebody like her.

      Taxi.. If Danny Devito tried to start his career in a sitcom today he'd be lucky to be doorman at Phoebe's apartment.

      So I think that's the answer, PUT UGLY PEOPLE BACK ON TV. Pay them less, make up for the $exy body factor with (GASP) good script writing, and everybody will be happier.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:33PM (#8714941)
    ... we are seeing the very same trend! TV is down, Internet is up but so is also radio.

    I guess the sheer stupidity of TV programs and the TV hosts in general (sure, there are exceptions) have finally taken its toll in the TV business. Personally I hate having my intelligence insulted (mmm, make sure there are no typos there now...) and so do many others.

    The trend started a few years ago, as trends are want to. Prior to a media conference there was a poll where people were asked if given the chioce of dumping either the TV or the PC, what would they chose? The majority would dump the TV.
  • Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby (118189) * <onyxruby@@@comcast...net> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:36PM (#8714979)
    All you need is a package with the various Discovery, History, TLC and sports channels for $20 a month. It would sell like crazy. Beyond these types of tv, men in that age bracket like myself just don't see the appeal. Here's a thought for you tv people that might be reading this. Stop bashing men and stereotyping them and men might might be more inclined to watch. If portraying Blacks, Women, Arabs and so on stereotypically is unnacceptable, why should portraying men that way be acceptable?

    Of particular disdain is that in order to have the programming loud enough to hear, the commercials are so loud they hurt your ears. Or you can have the commercials at the right volume and strain to hear the programming, if at all. Pop ups killed themselves when they were abused, and thats what tv does with commercials that are significantly louder than the programming. Whatever happened to sound leveling technology?
  • 30 and no TV (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:36PM (#8714984)
    I'm 30 and I junked my TV at my last apartment in 1998. I think the weirdest thing is trying to watch tv when I'm visiting other people or sitting in a waiting room. It's the same thing as not eating sugar for months/years then eating something like a cookie and thinking: what the hell is this revolting shit that I used to consume by the bagload?

    I don't really understand the emotional backlash from tv-viewers who think the non-tv people have a superiority complex but I suspect it's similar reaction with smokers vs non-smokers, fatties vs exercisers, SUV-drivers vs non-SUV-drivers and all the other great emotion-laden topics of this world that require masses of cognitive dissonance to justify expensive and unhealthy weirdness to calm an overy-anxious soul: excessive spending, tv-watching, eating, smoking, drinking just to calm down and forget about "the crappy universe" that's out to get you.

    For the record, I used to be most of these things which probably makes me even more annoying than an ex-smoker. All that stuff you don't have time for (preparing food, exercising outdoors, enjoying nature, sex, talking, reading, thinking) you now have time for.

    As for the trollers who say reading Slashdot takes up time... hm. Yes, about 20 minutes to read newspapers and slashdot online and make a comment. Not exactly in the same realm as tv-watching.

    Talking to people whose lives revolve around work and tv is like talking to a Pepsi vending machine.
    • Re:30 and no TV (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dswensen (252552) *
      I agree. I own a TV, but I only use it to watch movies and to play my console games on. I still have plenty of egregiously time-wasting hobbies, but at least they're devoid of the kind of garbage television delivers.

      On the infrequent occasions I see some serial television -- usually when visiting relatives or friends -- and I'm always shocked by how obnoxious it is now. Huge watermarks, commercials in the middle of programming, and completely brain-dead content. I don't miss it even one little bit.

      I used
  • by lxs (131946) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:36PM (#8714985)
    Everyone goes to the most popular sites

    With insight like that online, who needs television?
    Next they'll tell us that nobody visits the least popular sites.
  • by chiph (523845) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:40PM (#8715024)
    BayWatch knew what men in the 18-34 age group wanted... big breasted women running down the beach in skimpy swimsuits.

    Plotlines? Well, if you insist, but they aren't central to the show. Try and limit it to stuff like: "Pam gets injured while undergoing a bikini wax. Other cast members lend support."

    Chip H.
  • by scovetta (632629) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:41PM (#8715036) Homepage
    March 29, 2004
    Leisure Pursuits of Today's Young Man
    By JOHN SCHWARTZ

    Note to the television networks: Pete Brandel is not missing. He's right here, but like a lot of other 20-something men he's just not watching as much TV.

    Mr. Brandel, a 24-year-old real estate agent in Chicago, says that these days he looks to the Internet for news and entertainment. Television, he says, is bogged down by commercials and teasers that waste his time.

    "I'll go to the Comedy Central Web site and download David Chappelle clips rather than wait to see them on TV," he said.

    The television industry was shaken last October when the ratings from Nielsen Media Research showed that a huge part of a highly prized slice of the American population was watching less television. As the fall TV season began, viewership among men from 18 to 34 fell 12 percent compared with the year before, Nielsen reported. And for the youngest group of adult men, those 18 to 24, the decline was a steeper 20 percent.

    In a world where fortunes are made and lost over the evanescent jitterings of fractions of audience share, the Nielsen announcement was the equivalent of a nuclear strike, a smallpox outbreak and a bad hair day all rolled into one.

    But those who track the uses of technology say that the underlying shift in viewership made perfect sense. The so-called missing men might be more aptly called the missing guys, and they are doing what guys do: playing games, obsessing over sports and girls, and hanging out with buddies - often online.

    And the evidence is accumulating that the behavior of guys like Mr. Brandel is changing faster than once thought. The rapid expansion of high-speed Internet access lets the computer become the video jukebox that Mr. Brandel uses to watch comedy clips. The seemingly inexhaustible appetite for computer games, DVD players, music and video file-sharing - and, yes, online pornography - all contribute to the trend, these experts say. While no one activity is enough to account for the drop that Nielsen reported, all of them together create a vast cloud of diversion that has drawn men inexorably away from television.

    A spokesman for Nielsen Media Research cautioned against reading too profound a societal shift into the ratings slide. Jack Loftus, the vice president for communications, took a gentle view of the ratings data, saying that the total loss of average viewership, spread out across the entire population of men 18 to 34, translated to a reduction of "about four-and-a-half minutes" a person each night, which he characterized as "a bathroom break." The amount of viewing time lost, he said, has not narrowed since October.

    That is understandable, experts say, given that nearly 75 percent of males 18 to 34 have Internet access, according to the latest figures from comScore Media Metrix, making them the most wired segment of the population. By comparison, 57 percent of men from 35 to 44 are online, comScore found in research for the Online Publishers Association, which is releasing the results today.

    Between the allure of high-speed Internet services, computer games and other activities, "you begin to have the ability to get entertained and distracted in a million ways, and not just television," said Rishad Tobaccowala, an executive with the Starcom MediaVest Group, a company that advises advertisers on where to put their money.

    Incompatible survey methods make it impossible to say that a rise in one kind of activity corresponds precisely to a drop in another. But study after study show that those in the age range of the "missing guys'' are devoting much more of their time and attention to interactions that take them away from passive activities like watching sit-coms and even popular reality TV shows like "The Apprentice" and "American Idol.''

    David F. Poltrack, executive vice president for research at CBS, says that the trend of young men watching somewhat less television is clear, but that the Nielsen numbers still do not add up. The
  • Books (Score:4, Insightful)

    by suman28 (558822) <suman28NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:44PM (#8715084)
    Too bad the article does not talk about any youths reading books now-a-days. Is this really true. Are video games and porn really taking over their lives that much?
  • by pogle (71293) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @12:47PM (#8715116) Homepage
    ...I'd watch more. Family Guy, Firefly, even Seven Days; all shows that I loved watching that got nixed at various points before their time. They kill a good show, and 4 reality shows arise in its place. Its the nastiest hydra the industry has come up with in a long time.

    As it is now, I've got FG on dvd, I've recorded every ep of Seven Days, I've seen every ep. of ST:TNG multiple times, and I'll be getting the Firefly dvds as soon as monetary situation allows. So why should I keep watching TV? Enterprise is utter crap. Reality TV is of course abysmal and should just go away entirely. And I've never liked a sitcom really. They all annoy me. The really creative/funny shows are marginalized and replaced to pander to the demographics, and when the demographics dont like whats being pandered to them, the producers just don't understand why...

    Its the same reason I don't even bother going to the movie theatre anymore. Went to see LotR, and thats the last movie I see myself paying for in theatres for a long time. Even Pixar's newest offerings will probably be relegated to 'wait for dvd' status. I'd rather spend $15 on a dvd than go see a movie in theatres, as its not much more pricewise and I can then view multiple times. And since 90% of my favorite tv shows are either on DVD now, or coming to DVD soon, why should I keep watching it live with commercials?

    Sorry, wandered around a bit there, but just felt like ranting some.
  • by emtboy9 (99534) <jeff AT jefflane DOT org> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:20PM (#8715591) Homepage
    Sorry to say, this shouldn't be that shocking. For the last few years, we have all seen television quality fall through the floor.

    Instead of blaming Nielson's ratings, perhaps these TV execs should look at their own programming. I mean, if you look at primetime anymore, you have very few options on the major networks, like NBC, ABC, Fox, WB, etc: Reality TV shows (rehashed versions of the same old crap), News Shows (Rehashed versions of the same news stories with too much sensationalism and not enough real news), Cop/Lawyer dramas (How many different spinoffs of Law and Order CAN one network put on the air in one week?), and senseless "hip, urban comedy" (Dave Chappel show, Hugleys, etc etc, that all seem desperate to try to be Fresh Prince of Bel Aire, and others that came before, with nothing really new, exciting, or even original in their scripts, acting, or casting.

    I mean, look at the Comedy trends these days. [White suburbanites/black innercity/hispanic] person and group of [multiracial or uniracial] friends discuss [the days events, sex, money, school, other pressing topic] in humorous [vignettes, soliloquy, anecdotes] while surviving in [unreal urban/suburban/barrio] setting and much hilarity ensues.

    Same with the tv crime drama... I mean, how many of those are there? Law and Order, law and order CI, law and order SVU, CSI, CSI Miami, NYPD Blue, etc etc... I mean, the ONLY original cop drama I have seen in years (since Miami Vice, actually, and like it or not, it WAS original and set the bar for cop shows to come) was The Shield. In that show, you never quite knew if the star was a good cop or a bad cop...

    All channels have reality shows now that are all the same thing [mixed group of people] go to [exotic but clautrophobic area], are forced to [compete with other groups or each other or work as team], and are aired solely for [fights, arguements, drunken moments, crying, etc].

    Fox has little right to complain at all. Fox used to be the one with the original programming. And for a while they got back to it with 24, but for the most part, Fox shows the same crap as everyone else. WB is the same. Seems that every time WB gets a good show, Buffy, Angel, etc, they cancel it, and that show is bought up by UPN who keeps it going. Fox and WB adn UPN all have the same comedies (all pretty much black urban comedies, or repeats of Friends), and their sportscasting sucks.

    Just like the Music Industry, only the TV networks dont have Napster and Kazaa to blame for declining vierwership.
  • by Bluesman (104513) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:32PM (#8715772) Homepage
    Any time I turn on the TV, I love to see the brilliant women triumphing over idiotic men who couldn't possibly understand the nuances of daily life half as well as a woman. Those stupid husbands. All they do is burn food on the grill and screw up the DirectTV satellite. Of course, I feel like I need to watch more of this sort of thing to figure out how women and kids got so smart.

    And thank GOD for gay men who are perceptive enough to tell us what to wear. Men's fashion has been in such a rut before these shows came along, Since Mr. Rodgers died, I didn't know WHAT sweater vest was in. Now, thanks to the "fab five," a hapless modern bozo like me can wear clothes that will look hopelessly outdated next year, just like the smart, professional women do.

    But for the really hetero alpha males, we have shows about "Beer" and "Women with Tits." These cater to my testosterone tendencies without insulting my intelligence or sense of chivalry at all. It's enough of an outlet for me that I don't feel like I have to run through Circuit City anymore with drool trailing behind me, even though my wife will let me do that on occasion.

    I hope they make more shows with the twenty-something male in mind. I'd like to see more obnoxious behaviour, especially related to beer and sports, which pretty much are the only things to occupy my consciousness, being a man and all. And plenty of sex, but please, only sex with strippers and ditzy sluts with huge boobs. Real women are intimidating to me.

    Keep it up, guys! You'll never lose me as a viewer.
  • Free PORN for all (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PetoskeyGuy (648788) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @01:40PM (#8715879)
    Advertisers money would be better spent operating porn sites.

    The NYT article states that
    "ComScore also collects data on Internet pornography-viewing habits, although that was not part of the online publishers' report. According to the company, more than 70 percent of men from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month, and those men make up 25 percent of the visitors to such sites."


    TV networks are expensive, actors, satellites, cameras, etc all paid for by advertising, having to buy a TV to watch it all, etc, yet it's all free to me the consumer.

    Porn sites are much cheaper to run and seriously less to produce content. I doubt any porn star gets a Million a pop.

    OK, so we know where the guys are, it's cheaper to operate, plus you can even determine if they saw and/or clicked on your ad.

    QED

    Advertisers should pay porn sites and they should all be free. Free porn brought to you by Doritos, Mountain Dew, and the new Mitsubishi.

  • What does TV offer? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yoshi_mon (172895) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @02:09PM (#8716368)
    1. Entertainment -- Questionable at best sometimes. And rivled strongly by other media and the now very strong gaming industry.

    2. News -- Nearly a joke at this point. I cringe at the thought of watching any TV news and do so at this point only when I don't have control of the remote. (Normally I still have control of my feet luckily and proceed to leave the room at that point.)

    3. Ads -- Wow, here is a big suprise. People don't care to subject themselves to countless ads about stuff they may or may not want to buy. Small wonder TiVo and the likes do so well.

    4. Sports -- While this catagory could be lumped in with entertainment and news it really can be considered almost seperate to a degree. It's one of TV's few saving graces as sports fans can watch things that might otherwise not be able to see.
  • by mabu (178417) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @02:20PM (#8716522)
    Why would people be less interested in television when there's so many good things on?

    * Real World - network executives get young kids to the point of alcohol poisoning and videotape them for your amusement

    * Fear Factor - out-of-work hollywood actors line up to eat bugs for your amusement

    * Tough Crowd - Colin Quinn and his buddies validate your racist tendencies

    * The Apprentice - A dozen yuppies compete to get close enough to see if Donald Trump's hair is actually a new, sentient life form.

    * American Chopper - All of America tunes in each week to see if this will be the show where Paul Jr. hits Paul Sr. over the head with a tire iron.

    * Rush Limbaugh - Only in America can the Vice Presient of the United States be seen calling in to an Oxycotin addict's tv/radio show.

    * Seinfeld - A "show about nothing"; of course it will be a huge hit. Each week we anxiously look forward to an entirely new paradigm shift in obsessive-compulsive behavior.

    * The Osbournes - Watch burned out rocker being slowly driven crazy by his own family.

    * X-Play - This is a show that's all about Morgan Web's sweater pies, but I think there's a side theme of gaming, but I'm not sure.

    * Almost everything on WB - Lame urban sitcoms that have revitalized the laugh track industry.

    * Survivor - Amuse yourself by watching Mark Burnett dangle rice and toilet paper over the heads of starving, back-stabbing media-whores on a deserted island.

    * Law and Order: SVU - It's like Dateline NBC with worse acting.

    * Will and Grace - Yet another show about 30-something beautiful single people. I just can't get enough of homo/hetero-erotic lust triangles. Rumor has it, Mr. Roeper will return during sweeps week.

    * CSI: Miami - Someone died; someone's hiding something; someone's an arrogant/evasive prick; someone's hair is in the wrong place. Not since CSI: Topeka, CSI: Fargo and CSI: Van Nuys has CBS come up with an intriguing, compelling and creative series.

    * American Idol - Innovative show involving no-talent hacks (who have slept with the right people) criticizing no-talent hacks.

    I'd write more but it's time for the Jimmy Kimmel show.. gotta go.
  • The big picture... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drdink (77) * <smkelly+slashdot@zombie.org> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @02:34PM (#8716713) Homepage
    I think somebody is missing the big picture, here. The Internet is not taking TV viewers away. TV viewers are being forced away by the continual drivel being produced by TV content providers. How many Law & Orders do we need? Oh look, now we have 2 CSIs! Oh, can we have some more generic cop/laywer shows, please?! Oh, here's a lawyer show that takes place 100 years in the future! Okay, you don't want to watch the cop/lawyer show? How about this nice helping of fake "reality TV"!! WOO!!! About the only things I watch on TV anymore are West Wing and The Daily Show. West Wing because it is different from anything else being shown on TV right now, and The Daily Show because it applies comedy to this progressively dumbed down society to show you how dumb it really is.

"Neighbors!! We got neighbors! We ain't supposed to have any neighbors, and I just had to shoot one." -- Post Bros. Comics

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