Nielsen reports that men, ages 18-34, are watching 8 to 12 percent less prime-time network television than a year ago; this is a significant decline over the course of only a single year.
Commentators cite the growing appeal of DVDs, video games, and personal video recorders, among other developments. For instance, DVD sales are up 70 percent in the last year. 23 million homes will have broadband Internet access by the end of this year. 21 million American homes now have digital cable. And 70 percent of all watchers with TiVo skip the commercials.
The change since the 1970s has been enormous:
The general audience decline started as a trickle. In 1977, on an average night, 93 percent of the 90 million TV viewers were watching the three major networks. By the week of Oct. 6-12, 2003, the six major commercial networks had 53 million viewers, down 24 percent from the previous year.
I have heard that Seinfeld, a huge show in its time, would not have been in the top ten programs of the 1970s, if measured by the number of people watching.
About $60 billion is spent on television advertising every year, and perhaps we can expect this number to start declining.
The above information is taken from the November 3-9 issue of Variety, although forget the link if you are not a subscriber. In my view this is all good news across the board.