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Gaming Communities Cause Of TV Ratings Decline? 377

Bendebecker writes "We all know about the falling popularity of television this season, but Mike Malone of ABC News has a very interesting viewpoint on why this is happening. He seems to think that the growing popularity of online gaming communities (the example he gives is Counter-Strike) are causing the decline, which is particularly noticeable among the young male demographic."
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Gaming Communities Cause Of TV Ratings Decline?

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  • Crap? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeffkjo1 ( 663413 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:06PM (#7363539) Homepage
    So young males are playing video games, and that is the source of your falling ratings? Could there perhaps be a correlation between crap, and lower ratings, which in turn leads to higher video game consumption?
    • Re:Crap? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by penguinland ( 632330 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:21PM (#7363671)
      I cannot agree more. Given the choice between watching another "reality" series and playing Neverwinter Nights or another suitably awesome game, there is no contest. Game sales are up because the newer games have better graphics, AI, and gameplay, but also retain the same quality of the old games. Television, on the other hand, has not had any major advances since... um... whenever they started making them in color. It's getting old, and the TV stations have all but run out of new ideas for shows. If they start playing good, entertaining shows, people will watch them. Until then, people will find other sources of entertainment, such as games.
      • Re:Crap? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Saturday November 01, 2003 @12:56AM (#7365420) Homepage
        There have been crap shows for as long as TV has been around. I would even go so far as to say that, despite the hordes of reality shows, TV is the best it's ever been. There are a lot of really strong shows playing right now.

        The problem is the medium itself. It's designed as a one-way communication medium. I have to laugh at all the attempts to make television bi-directional, with people being constantly encouraged to hop online to vote for something or other, or to get further information from their website. I laugh because I'm guessing that for every five people who leave the TV and sit down in front of the computer, at least three aren't coming back.

        The Internet has several fundamental advantages over TV. The stuff you find on the Internet is there whenever you happen to drop by. You don't have to schedule your life around it. You can talk back to it. You can find exactly what interests you most.

        So no, I don't believe that the problem with TV is that the writing is any weaker, or that the shows are crappier than they've ever been. Nor do I believe that even a huge increase in quality--however welcome--is going to get TV viewing back up to the levels of ten years ago. TV will never again be the center of the world's cultural life. Thank God.
    • all else is crap otherwise... well, except maybe for alias, westwing, and there are some mad hotties on that new las vegas show... ;/

      oh, and no more buffy either... ;(

      and yes, I am an avid gamer, and tend to either tivo, or download episodes of the net at my leisure.
      • ... will never compare to Kristy Swanson.

        Best. Slayer. Evar.

        • true, but the whole movie lost major points for the sole reason of having peewee "fap fap fap" herman in it...
          • Gotta give you that one. He was in something else I just saw, but for the life of me can't remember what.

            At any rate, I didn't notice it was him until a little ways into the movie, and when I did realize it, all I could think was (to use your eloquent term) "fap fap fap." Totally ruined the movie. Maybe it was "Blow," but I can't be sure.

      • Farscape is definitly a hole in my TV watching life, hell I can't find much ogf any new sci-fi coming out in Canada, just more syndication of shows i've watched already.

        The only show that gave me a wow factor this year is Carnivale from HBO, which IMHO is a fantasticly twisted show.
    • Re:Crap? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:27PM (#7363724)
      In other news, Levi Strauss reported rapidly increasing demand for larger and larger waist sizes of their most popular product, 501 jeans, especially amongst the young male demographic.

      In other news, the latest U.S. census figures indicate that young men are choosing to live in their mothers' basements well beyond the college years.

      In other news, more and more women complain about a severe shortage of men who can talk about more things than Counter Strike...
      • Re:Crap? (Score:3, Funny)

        In other news, more and more women complain about a severe shortage of men who can talk about more things than Counter Strike...

        Whoo, score! Soon, scifi geeks like myself will become prized commodities on the meat market now that former jocks have turned into pathetic gaming geeks.^-^
    • by joe_bruin ( 266648 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:28PM (#7363731) Homepage Journal
      > did u see teh story about wathcing less tv??/
      > Terrorists Win
      > gg
      > wtf!
      > camping fag
      > 0vRl0rd-[WFX]- is cheating
      > fuck yuo!!!!!1
      > gg
      > your jus pissd cuz i shot yuor head
      > 0vRl0rd-[WFX]- is cheating
      > 0vRl0rd-[WFX]- is cheating
      > 0vRl0rd-[WFX]- is cheating
      > stfu
      > 0vRl0rd-[WFX]- is cheating
      > no flash grnades retard
      > cover me!
      > im swtiching sides
      > wtf?
      > gota go, homework
    • Soon:HD Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kris_J ( 10111 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:33PM (#7363771) Homepage Journal
      I'd hate to be a TV station required to upgrade all their equipment to digital only to find themselves bereft of talent enough to put on shows other than "Australia's funniest hit in the balls".

      It's not just that the programs are crap, it's that they're crap filled with ads.

      I buy my Andromeda on DVD. I don't pay for it by watching ads. If there are any SciFi producers out there: Screw the stations, produce for Region 0 DVD. Put up a BitTorrent link for your pilot and a "buy it now" link on your website.

      • Good thoughts, wish I had mod points. Personally I agree, I can't get tivo in canada, so I get to either watch tv shows on tv, or buy the DVDs, and if it's something that's honestly a good show that I want to watch (a la, buffy, angel, 24, etc) I'll pay the money for it (and I have). However, people putting crappy programming up for download in BT are going to find the same thing that the record companies have found, that if people have the choice they'll ignore the crap.
        • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @11:34PM (#7365204)
          I haven't watched "network" tv in almost a year...if anything is good it show up next season on one of the syndicated "second run" channels.

          I find the "second run" stations [TNT, WGN, WB, and UPN] to do a much better job at making the good shows available. I'm never around for first-run stuff any more...I work second shift, so it's get a TiVo or you'd better show it again when I'm home! The other good thing about the "seconds" is that they usually commit to at least a whole season of something...and repeat it often enough to catch you up. Things like WB's Super Sunday nite "reruns" or the SciFi mini-series work out great. They also get off cheaper because they get to reuse content 3-4 times a month..and there's enough else on other stations if I'm actually around for a "rerun"

          I also like Dish because I can get west coast channels [when the locals don't block] and get a second chance [cheapskate time shifting] to watch stuff when I have the time...Another thing to note for the networks: This is a crappy economy! People have chores, errands, and work to do...not watch TV. The little time they had for TV is now used for catching up email, IM, gamming, /. ..in addition to kids & house. You have to show the..shows when people have time to watch them, and stick with them long enough to build a following! [and KEEP the following when you get it..ala Dark Angel]

    • Yes And No (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bettiwettiwoo ( 239665 ) <bettiwettiwoo@nOspam.gmail.com> on Friday October 31, 2003 @07:24PM (#7364130) Homepage Journal
      So young males are playing video games, and that is the source of your falling ratings?
      Of course this is a largely a crap argument.

      I think, however, that it might point to a new trend ... with an almost unavoidable impact on ratings: I think that for whatever reason people don't stop playing games as they leave their teenage years/early twenties behind -- which it appears they used to do. It is quite possible that the added dimensions/attractions of on-line, or at least multi-player, gaming has contributed to this change, together with a better variety of games and better game play.

      I think one may draw an analogy with animated films or comic books. It used to be that people watched animated films as children and then they grew up and didn't watch them anymore. That is no longer true: look at the popularity of anime films for instance. Or even Disney films which seem half-aimed at an adult audience today. Same with comic books: where once was Donald Duck and Superman, today you may find American Splendor.

      Naturally, if people play games for a longer period of their lives, then the larger the group of people playing and the more hours spent playing. This increased time spent on gaming means less time spent watching television (given the same amount of hours leisure time). If they also spend more hours per day playing games (as opposed to merely hours per life-time) then they have even less time to watch television (given 24h per day). The only way television could compete with that natural phenomenon would be to broadcast better and more attractive programmes, i.e., not just as good as before but actually better. Given the plethora of 'reality' shows (does anyone actually watch Survivor?) at the moment, I don't think that has happened just yet.

    • If the crap shows were causing the bad ratings by themselves, you'd think that ratings would be way down for all age groups. You'd also think that ratings would have been declining steadily for several years now, since this seasons crap isn't that much worse then last seasons crap or the season before. Certainly not enough to account for a 20% drop in ratings.

      I think the author is on the right track, but he's a little late blaming CStrike. Two years ago maybe, but CS is on the decline. Video games as a
      • Re:Crap? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Syncdata ( 596941 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @08:31PM (#7364503) Journal
        think the author is on the right track, but he's a little late blaming CStrike. Two years ago maybe, but CS is on the decline. Video games as a whole, though, are picking up

        As you note, Counterstrike was just an example of this trend, the author cited the sims, another example. On the whole, I am ecstatic about this shift from TV.
        I am convinced that the passive nature of television is to a great extent to blame for the laziness of modern society (don't stop feeding your kid soda and candy, give him ritlin and be done with it). Seeing a shift towards a pass-time which requires active thought (and in the case of the mod community, programming) is a thoroughly encouraging.
        Who knows, in twenty years, western civ might get back to being a reasonably responsible society! Of course, we'll be a reasonably responsible society with poor grammar, versed in tactics, with an encyclopedic knowledge of firearms, so I'd keep a medpac handy.
    • by Theatetus ( 521747 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @09:59PM (#7364899) Journal

      So now music, movies, and television are blaming file-trading, text-messaging, and gaming, respectively, for their drop in ratings.

      Funny how none of the industry wonks are suggesting the obvious answer, that all three industries' ratings are going down because they are dishing out awful, unmitigated shit season after season.

  • Granted advertisers need to advertise their product, what happens when they infiltrate the computer gaming market more. I can see it now, blowing someone away with a headshot and a message in my headphones "now how about a refreshing cola?". Oh dear...

    Though I shouldn't fear someone will have a crack shortly when that happens :-)
  • Occam's Razor (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mad_dog3283 ( 585389 )
    How about blaming the fact that TV shows are just sucking lately?
    • Lately?
      • Nah, TV shows suck as much as they always had. Have you actually watched an old Knight Rider rerun lately? I rest my case.

        What's happening is that more and more forms of entertainment are competing for a finite amount of people's time and money. Game consoles, computer gaming, web surfing, IM, 300 channel digital cable, free long distance and free night and weekends on cellphones. All things you can do without leaving the house, and therefore, competing for the couch potatoes' dollars. Some of these things
    • Yeah, I only watch a couple of things now:

      CBC/CBC Newsworld: The National a couple of times a week, and even less occasionally Passionate Eye. Oh, and I'll watch the news if I stop in front of the TV for a meal.

      A&E: MI5.

      It's a struggle watching MI5 with all the numerous advertising breaks and A&E's really annoying habit of constantly showing snippets of what's coming up. To make matters worse, the adverts are American and not Canadian, so not only do they not apply to me, they don't even fit in
  • Huh? (Score:2, Funny)

    What is this "TV" thing?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Crowhead ( 577505 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:10PM (#7363582)
      What is this "TV" thing?

      Um, it's that thing you hook your gaming console to.
      • VGA boxes are available for at least Dreamcast, PS2, GameCube, and Hbox, and is a PC running a Knoppix or Gentoo live-CD that much different from a console? My gaming console has a VGA output. So is my 15" LCD necessarily a TV?

        Better definition: A TV is a video display with a TV tuner. A "TV tuner" is defined by your national broadcast regulator.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:16PM (#7363628)
      I think it's quite possible that we have transitioned between a generation that finds it inconceivable to NOT watch TV, to another one that does not find TV important at all.

      When I first stopped watching TV, right after the OJ Simpson car chase, whatever year that was, people treated me to everything from incredulity to ridicule about it. Almost no-one was able to simply accept the idea that I literally didn't watch TV, didn't own one, didn't feel like it was missing.

      See, a whole lot of popular culture comes from last night's tube. People see it as a personal problem of theirs that you aren't hip to everything that's been popular recently. So it took a while for concepts like "survivor" to sink in as "a tv thing" sometimes. There are a TON of celebrities that seem to be household names, and I don't know who they are (nor do I care.)

      These days, I do own a TV, but that's largely because the DVD, VHS, and sometimes CATV are necessary for university work. Otherwise, CATV is largely a side effect of my internet connection.

      Let's see, in the past year, I think I've watched a few news programs (it's been a busier year than most, what with a war and all), Maybe one or two Simpsons episodes, and something called "Queer Eye." That's it. My cats watch more TV than I do.

  • Makes sense to me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nystul555 ( 579614 ) * on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:08PM (#7363557) Homepage
    When a new form of entertainment emerges, it can take away from the time spent with current forms.

    People only have so much free time in a day. If they begin spending 2-3 hours a day playing video games, that's 2-3 less hours they have for tv, music, reading, etc.

    There was a time when you read books for entertainment, and that's about all you COULD do. Then radio came along, and families sat around in the evening listening to radio shows. Then TV, now video games. It makes perfect sense.

    I do want to say that I think this is a good thing. For the most part TV is the most mindless, unstimulating, unsocial form of entertainment we have today. If more people play games (still maybe not the best entertainment, but challenging and oftentimes social none the less) than watch TV, well, I'm all for it!
    • Appropriate that this discussion on the increasing supplantation of one medium by another (if only currently to some small extent within certain audiences) comes the day after a story on Orson Welles' legendary radio production of War of the Worlds. Look, it's a new medium captivating America's imagination! Nope, wait, there it went.
      • 20% small? Dude, that's one in five people, equivalent to an entire demographic. Because that one in five is associated with trend setters, it's going to get worse fast.

        The revolution was not televised and it's over. Broadcast TV sucks and something better has replaced it. I get my mail, news, entertainmet and much more on the net. Deal with it or die.

    • For the most part TV is the most mindless, unstimulating, unsocial form of entertainment we have today. If more people play games (still maybe not the best entertainment, but challenging and oftentimes social none the less)

      TV is not as unsocial as you make it out to be. A lot of people talk about TV because it is a shared experience. For example, you can make small talk about what happened on 24 this week, or you can even join various mailing lists/message boards to discuss the same. You can't really do t

      • Agreed. Most of the TV I watch these days is in the company of a group of friends who come over every Sunday to eat dinner and watch the week's shows. Sometimes I'll watch one or two other things during the week (if it's something that appeals to me but not to most of the others) but for the most part, TV watching is a social activity for me.

        When I'm home by myself and want to relax, I reach for my PS2 controller a lot more reflexively than my TiVo remote.

        Ironically, though, I really don't care much for

    • People only have so much free time in a day. If they begin spending 2-3 hours a day playing video games, that's 2-3 less hours they have for tv, music, reading, etc.

      My reading time is before bed. The hit it takes is not so bad.

      I can listen to music while gaming. Music is nice and I have a whole ancient computer dedicated to pumping it out to an even older stereo. I also enjoy music while doing other things like bike riding. Ogg files play nice on Open Zaurus. 64MB flash is cheap and plays an hour or

  • Or maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TeslaDAC ( 646596 ) <teslaks@@@cox...net> on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:08PM (#7363560)
    It's just that the new shows are increasingly like the music comming out today. It's all the same: Reality this, real life that, American Wannabe, they're all modeled after a small group of once successful shows. I presently only watch maybe 3 to 4 hours of TV per week, and it's usually educational stuff (TLC, Discovery, Travel, etc). If the people in Hollywood were to do some real research and come up with something original again, maybe people would start watching again. But it will have to happen soon, or their only audience will be folks who dont have a net connection.
    • Either that, or they give the really good shows crappy time slots and then cancel them. Come on, they put Firefly, arguably one of the best new shows in years, on at 8PM on a Friday night. Who the hell is watching TV at 8PM on a Friday night?

      Oh, look at the time...it's Friday, and I think ABC Family is on right now, so I gotta log off the net and go check that out...
    • Why TV Sucks Ass (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dolo666 ( 195584 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @08:06PM (#7364368) Journal
      How many ads are in games? ZERO.

      Sneaky Networks ... that crank up the volume on breaks.

      Fox Network Admins
      Last year Boston Public was milked for all it was worth. They skimped on it, put off the premier till like November. This year they learned and had the premier early on. Fox ruined Dark Angel, too, by cutting the budget and playing the surprise game.

      The Surprise Game
      Guess what? Your show isn't on tonite because we have this *insert stupid special or network excuse*. Stick to the fucking schedule or fuck off I'm playing Quake.

      How many shows started off in the first year with a bang but lost all credability in the second year? Dark Angel. Boston Public. Ally McBeal. Shit, most of the shows being launched are totally stupid, except for a couple. Enterprise was stupid in the first year, but at least now it's getting really good, imho.

      Keep playing all the same shows on cable or sat and you get a lot of bored viewers who just tune out. Re-runs and double-ups are a sleeping networks answer to bad planning and dwindling budgets. Problem is, it's the cause and the some idiots at the networks think it's the answer -- at the same time!

      The Video Game Market is Flooded
      There are so many titles out right now for video games. It's the best it has ever been, and even while every game is like a varriant of about five archetypes, at least there is a variety that hasn't been there before, among copy-cats. The games that will stick out are going to break ground, no questions asked.

      DooM 3
      When DooM 3 comes out, who will want to watch TV at all? The DooM 3 experience is like watching TV or a film, but controlling the characters and propelling the storyline. Id Software is setting the bar for the new video games, and that can only mean one thing. We are aiming toward an eventual fusion between film and video game, that brings them closer than they have ever been. People are going to say FUCK commercials, give me more action and less bullshit. Stop wasting my time.

      It's my money... I'll always spend it on the number one value. To me, that is GAMES.

      The shows that really have mastered how to create an experience worthy of my time are CSI and CSI Miami. They know quality, and they will build loyalty of an audience as along as they keep giving us what we come to see... quality.
  • It's the programming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dauvis ( 631380 ) * on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:08PM (#7363564)
    While programs like EQ, DAoC, Counter Strike, etc... are probably a part of the reason, another reason is because the current programming sucks. Most of the shows that they seem to be targeting that age range seem, to me, be a bunch of teen-aged soap operas (OC comes to mind).

    I guess they figured that if it worked for Beverly Hill 90210, it should work now. With the Internet as it is today, people are expecting a more interactive form of entertainment. When I get home, I want instant gratification. I don't want to wait until the predetermined date and time to watch a show when I can load up DAoC and have fun.
  • Of course (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkBlackFox ( 643814 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:08PM (#7363566)
    Of course most people will choose gaming/computers/internet over TV. Computing/gaming has become the fabled "interactive TV," whereby the viewer is in complete control of the content he/she sees. With television, you sit there and watch monsters destroy the city, or cops catch bad guys. With games, you are in control of everything that happens, which provides a much more immersive experience than merely absorbing what others want you to see. Therefore it comes as no surprise TV ratings are declining in favor of gamedom.

    Things like Video On Demand are getting closer to consumer control, but until there are TV ws where you can choose the paths the characters take, people will play games.
  • or... (Score:3, Funny)

    by andih8u ( 639841 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:09PM (#7363570)
    everyone's just sick of reality tv

    • How about, everyone's just sick of what's on TV?

      There's only one network show [fox.com] I'm interested in watching this season. Otherwise, I use TiVo to pick and choose items for the Our Man In Redmond channel, and the rest of it might as well be broadcast in Uzbekistan, in Uzbek, for all the difference it'll make to me.
  • Maybe in the future games would be free and new games would come out with the frequency of new TV shows. Ads would be places between rounds or something. Bad games don't get renew and good games get improved to keep the audience interested. We all know games like Everquest are way more addictive than TV. Market waiting to be tapped?
  • Naturally, poor writing, direction, acting and acting have nothing to do with its decline.

    More frequent and longer commercial breaks, split-screens during credits, product placement and other techniques are thought to IMPROVE the viewing experience.

  • Ok, I think I figured it out.
    The shows suck.

    I would be happy to sell this research to any network that can afford it.

  • TV shows that are not worth watching.

    Nothing to see here, move along now.
  • You learn way more reading slash than watching your teevee

    In fact I learned..

    Teevee is dying according to the latest netcraft report.
  • and the increase in reality TV shows. Coincidence? I leave it to you, the gentle reader, to determine.
  • by The Human Cow ( 646609 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:15PM (#7363626) Homepage
    First violent behavior, and now this? When will the madness end?
  • I agree. I've got an Xbox and Xbox live and it's always surprising to see how many people are on during prime time. I looked at the Crimson Skies on-line rankings a few nights ago and there were at least 10,000 people who went on-line even though the game was only out for about a week. I think the on-line gamers have more fun killing each other than watching TV.
  • because there is nothing worth watching. Networks like Fox cancel all the good shows (e.g. Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Family Guy, Firefly etc). All thats left on network TV is reality tv garbage in my opinion
  • I'm 32 and you know what, my TV watching habit has been limited for one reason; it sucks. I have limited time that fails between work, personal projects, and family/friends. Online Games gets it since that is what I enjoy the most between the two.

    What this guy is failing to note is that in people's free time, they will gravitate to what is the most entertaining for their limited time/dollar. Right now, that is video games. When TV gets better, people will return, until then they will stick to Games.
  • "...thousands of young men (and a few hundred young women) are playing it on the Internet -- instead of watching TV."

    Wow, thousands of viewers lost! No wonder television is tanking. Brilliant analysis.

    I imagine the television industry would love to blame declining ratings on competion from games, even though it makes about as much sense as the MPAA blaming its decline on the 20% of movie piracy that is NOT due to insider pilferage. But it's better than admitting that most of television has become too stu
  • Hooked up my 3 game consoles and DVD player to it. There isn't an atenna/cable TV line hooked into it at all, nor do I think there ever really will be.

    I rarely watch TV anymore, and haven't for years.

    Granted, I'm a few years out of the demographic they're saying is just now stopping watching TV (I'm 29), but I think I was around 24 or 25 when I just stopped watching TV pretty much all together.

    I guess I'm just ahead of my time.


  • Since I got my wife to start playing Star Wars Galaxies we've gotten a new computer and have no plans to upgrade our 10 year old tv.

    I actually get a bit of the old nausea when I watch anything on mtv (except jackass). Like the real world and such.

    Games rock becuase your brain is actually a part of the process.

    I would like to see an fMRI of someone watching survivor vs someone playing and FPS like Desert Combat or An MMORPG
    • Since I got my wife to start playing Star Wars Galaxies we've gotten a new computer and have no plans to upgrade our 10 year old tv.

      I actually get a bit of the old nausea when I watch anything on mtv (except jackass).

      I'm sure Sony is quite proud to pick up the Jackass demographic.

      At least that explains the Wookie I saw last night on Naboo wearing panties on his head while jumping in front of a land speeder.
  • by Dolemite_the_Wiz ( 618862 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:27PM (#7363720) Journal
    It never ocurred to them that HBO is kicking all the 'Free' TV stations in the behind because HBO has the cohones to produce shows that people want to see.

    Then again the ABC's of this world are P-Whipped by the Advertizers and Local affiliates in the sense that the ABC's cave to their wishes. They will never be bold enough to ignore them and go in new directions.

    Look at what happened to Futurama. Perfect example.

    The only new shows worth watching this season are the Sopranos and Kid Notorious (Comedy Central). Both Cable shows who's formulas for sucess are ones that the 'Free' TV stations will NEVER touch.

  • Are we still in that set-top-box era, where a select few families determine the entire reality of programming?

    Maybe the demographic is changing because there are fewer 18-24 year olds being made. We don't get ABC here or the WB or UPN, but CBS and NBC are almost 100% pure crap. This mornijng Les Moonves was bragging about how shows like "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "CSI" (chicken shit idiocy) are destined to become the next classics on the order of "MASH" and "All In the Family." And maybe he's right 0 he

  • At some point, continued watching of network television programming causes so much atrophy of brain tissue that people lose even the ability to recall what sucks and what doesn't, so like moths they dance around towards whatever flickering light catches their ever fleeting attention span.

    In other words, 99.999% of most programming is horrible, formulaic, brain-sucking crap that is indistinguishable from the intersperced commercials (except the commercials have more character development and plot).
  • I think what is happening because of the internet is that people are able to find their own niche interests that are not mainstream. Because these interests are so specific it is nearly impossible to mass market things on TV or on other traditional mediums.
  • I've got a 13 inch television. It was purchased in 1981, last time it was turned on was in 1999. It worked then, but I've re-arranged furniture since and never bothered to plug it back in. I watch television at my friend's homes when there's a reason for a group of us to do so (hockey game or some such), but that's about it. If there's more like me, then the internet is definitely to blame for TV program's falling ratings. :)
  • Of course hes right, and if you ask me it's pretty obvious. I'm a young male and I spend a much larger percentage of my time with games than I do watching TV, I'm sure if I didn't have games then my TV viewing time would be much much higher. Most of my friends are the same way.

    I don't know why half the people in this discussion want to blame crap tv shows either. Christ, 80's television was total ass, the stuff we have today is lightyears better.

    Yes, gaming is doing it, yes I'm fine with that. No I really
  • Numbers (Score:5, Funny)

    by aliens ( 90441 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:39PM (#7363814) Homepage Journal
    Last I checked there weren't millions of people playing CS.

    Can't wait for the TV studios to get wind of bittorrent.

    I know what the real cause is of falling ratings. These things called books! They capture a potential TV victim for hours without even one advertisement! How fucking dare they. They are stealing money that is ours.
  • Conclusion? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:42PM (#7363831) Journal
    How the hell did they draw that conclusion? Seriously, even more interesting is how do they calculate viewers? Or better still, the popularity of a show?

    I was reading a few months back that this season is the best in 10+ years, etc... Who the hell came to that conclusion, and based on what data? There is only one single new show I like (Las Vegas, on NBC), and even that is just better than average, not amazing, all the other stuff on primetime is crap! And all networks (FTA or Cable/Sat only) are simply taking an existing show and putting it back out with a new name, and new cast. Fox's OC is 90210 rehashed, Countless Reality shows, etc... even Discovery and TLC are dropping to new lows... How many Monster 'fill in the blank' shows can they produce... it's novel if it's a single show, not when it's 10.

    I'm willing to bet that if I went to a major city, and asked 100 random people in a shopping mall to rate this season's TV, it wouldn't come close to the reported 'amazing new season, best in 10 years' crap that came from all the previews in August. Of course viewing is at a record low, that's obvious, the fact that execs are surprised and need to find something to blame is surprising... There is only so long that you can keep telling yourself it's not shit, but eventually you do taste it... These execs are dumber than I though possible.
  • "Interactive" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fastball ( 91927 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:42PM (#7363836) Journal
    Maybe, but after playing a few MMOGs, I'm looking to fall back to the less stressful world of single-player games. You remember? With AI and some plot instead of some 16-year old kid calling you a "fucking noob" because you didn't execute a manuever like you had been playing 23 hours each day for the last two years?

    It took me a long time, but I'm coming to grips that games are becoming too much like reality. Honestly, when I get home, I don't want to interact with anybody. I want to disconnect, and these MMOGs aren't helping me.

    • I'll second that. I was big into online gaming for awhile, but it just became too much of an emotional investment. I used to play Tribes 2 like crazy, and I was part of a tribe that consistently wound up in the top ten on the Team Warfare ladder. Well, you go onto a public server to just have a good time, and you wind up getting spammed with crap from all the other tribes' members, about how our tribe sucks, or we're going to lose the next match, or how they're so much better and on and on. Eventually i
  • by viniosity ( 592905 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:44PM (#7363847) Homepage Journal
    I sold my TV 3 years ago and haven't looked back since. I get my entertainment from books, the Internet, and games. Living without a TV was tough for about the first 6 months and then I stopped missing it. I don't smoke, but I wonder if it's something akin to giving up a cigarette habit..

    When I am exposed to TV these days (at bars or at a friends house) I can't get over just how much garbage is on it. Not only are the shows bad, the news seems to be aimed at 9 year olds. The final insult is the advertising which seem more and more to appeal to the emotional side (buy this SUV and you'll feel like you're roaring through the mountains!) as opposed to practical advantage (sucks less, costs less, works better).

    While TV, video games, and the Internet are all time sinks (and I believe there's data that backs this next claim up) - people tend to use their brains more while playing video games or using the net. And, to me, that can only be a good thing!
  • by leoaugust ( 665240 ) <leoaugust@gmai l . com> on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:45PM (#7363861) Journal
    Mike Malone has made some sweeping remarks and some of the questions that come to my mind immediately are:
    1. If someone could guesstimate the number of the online-community game subscriptions sold in last quarter (or last year) and compare it with the drop that the TV viewership has experienced, I think we would get a better sense of the correlation between the two. What percentage of one is the other ?
    2. There is a difference between recorded-TV and broadcast-TV and it is possible for there to be a decline in broadcast-TV viewership but not in the overall-TV viewership. People may be watching more recorded-TV (i.e dvd's, videos, avi's) rather than the broadcast-TV (which has experienced ratings decline). So knowing how Netflix et al are doing would be nice ...
    3. Another point is whether it is possible that the increase in the online-game-community members is pretty much because of the decline in the offline-game-community - i.e fewer people are playing baseball or hanging out at the malls. If one increase can be explained by the decrease in the other, then the contribution of the online-game-community might not be that significant to the decline in TV-viewership.
    4. In addition to the extremeties of passive TV and dynamic online-games, there is a spectrum of other activities that are somewhat passive-somewhat active. For example, watching a dvd filled with goodies is more active than TV but passive compared to online-games. Or even answering email which is less active than online-games and less passive than TV - after all the time for checking and answering email has to come from somewhere in the time-space of 25 hours ....
    5. In addition, on a macroscopic level, it would be interesting to see if there is enough about the TV shows online (plotlines, episodes, forums, flames, etc.) so that the desire to watch the most of the actual show is minimized rather than heightened. Afterall, it is probably much more satisfying to keep the fantasy of imagination about most-of-shows-on-TV-today, rather than actually watch it to confirm the hash the director and studios have made of it ....
  • The continually-more-immersive nature of console and computer gaming has also been taking its toll on the pencil-and-paper roleplaying game (viz D&D, Vampire: The Masquerade, etc.) market. In various threads on forums like RPGnet [rpg.net]'s or gaming newsgroups, some game fans suggest that it's a lot easier to have a fun and immersive experience looking at pixels on the screen than it is to try to run a live game amid distractions ("Where's the cheetos!") and with other players who can detract from the fun of t
  • When something on television is more entertaining than playing Neverwinter Nights or Metroid Prime I'll watch it. Until then I'll stick to video games. When the choices of shows range from boring sitcoms to unreality TV my interest wanes. I would rate farting on a snare drum as more entertaining than the latest sitcom from ABC. I'm not in any of the demographics prime time television is aiming at and thus prime time television has nothing to offer me.

    The shows I have been interested enough in to actually w
  • It's called "100Mbit optic broadband".

    I see a TV-show i like? *click* *click* *typetypetype* *click* *few minutes mintues* *done* *watch*

    News? Slashdot.

  • by mabu ( 178417 ) * on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:50PM (#7363897)
    No annoying commercials! At least in game you can put people on /ignore !! If I could stop the constant bombardment of advertisements, I'd probably go back to watching TV, but you can't seem to sit for more than six minutes before you're interrupted by the network news propagating FUD teasers, being told you're too fat or too poor, or that the new H2 will give your life meaning. The invasion of television commercials has made the signal-to-noise ratio of television unbearable (not that most programming isn't mindless in the first place, but you can't even watch the Discovery channel anymore without having your train of thought mowed down by that dumbass from Video Professor hawking "FREE CDs!!")

    It's ridiculous. It's like someone set up a drum set in my living room and goes into a solo every six minutes, for six minutes.

    Does anyone have any data on the proliferation of commercial air time compared to actual content on television? It seems to me that commercial breaks are even more numerous and longer. This is the one defining element of gaming that has not been so brutally co-opted, though I know we're seeing that change as well.
  • TV executives blame video-games for a drop off in viewership, and the news outlets owned by the same people call for video-games to be banned...
  • by sl0ppy ( 454532 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @06:57PM (#7363950)
    seriously ... between:

    o more channels than ever before
    o more video consoles than ever before
    o more online/interactive games
    o that intraweb thing
    o more movies on dvd
    o whole series being released on dvd
    o recycled television line-ups

    where are those viewers going? so many things to choose from, it will take something with a very strong appeal to draw viewers back in.

    given the large amount of crap on tv these days, i don't think they'll ever enjoy the same numbers they've had in the past.

    perhaps the heyday is over, and they should stop trying to find something to blame it on.
    • I think the major networks should have taken the warning writer Alvin Toffler mentioned some 34 years ago in his most famous book, The Third Wave.

      In that book, Toffler mentioned that as communications technology improves, this drastically increases the choices for people wanting their entertainment and information, and as a result the high ratings of TV networks in the past will never happen again; he called this concept the demassification of the media.

      Since 1979 (the year The Third Wave as published), w
  • by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @07:13PM (#7364065)
    An average line up for a night's programming (UK tv):

    show about a couple going house hunting
    show about two people buying a house and doing it up
    show about a pair of people building a house from scratch
    Show about two people who bought a house last year on a tv show and have redecorated it since.

    Hmmm, interesting. As a 24 year old bloke, just what I want to watch. I think I'll go play BF1942.
    • Man...ditto....
      I really got into the whole Home Show programming...but after non stop sh$te about home makeovers, building homes, and retards making money selling homes it just doesnt hold its same appeal...
      Alot of these retards made money by the housing market going up and nothing else, the actual money they spent doing a place up was just pi$$ed away and didnt add jack squat to the value.

      And this new Wife Swap craze is just opening a whole new can of crap for more XXXX Swap programs.
  • I am suprised they mentioned CS instead of EQ. I personally know far more people who play EQ then play CS. I personally play both, and have been for the past 4 years.

    Outside of work, I spend most of my time coding and/or playing EQ or CS. I typically only watch TV for 2 things.

    1) 24 ... damn good show, been watching it since the first season.
    2) Charmed ... mainly because thats what my family likes to watch durring dinner. I don't turn on the TV just to watch that.

    Once in a while I will get a chance t
  • More specifically, its the network promos. It was hard to sit and watch the World Series with another ad for Skin and then Joe Millionaire 2 every 10 minutes. I watch 2 TV shows all week. I was trying to watch a third last night and got antsy after 20 minutes because of the ads and went upstairs and played Day of Defeat.

    Yeah, I should probably read more instead of playing video games, but they are better than TV. If I had a TiVo or if they gave us uninterrupted television I might watch more.
  • I'm sure games (online and otherwise) are part of the decline, but there are plenty of other reasons, too.

    Other than sports, I haven't watched a TV show live in years. I either record it for viewing later (skipping the commercials) or do without. Plus now, you figure if a show is any good, it will be released on DVD in a year or two.

    When I was a boy, there was a sense of urgency about watching TV, because if you missed an episode, it was gone forever. That's just not true anymore.

  • Maybe if TV didn't suck so bad on average people would pay attention to it more often. I mean, who are the geniuses who canceled Family Guy and Futurama instead of giving them better time slots? And the Simpsons is beating the proverbial dead horse every new episode-- you can tell it's uninspired committee written scripts; utter crap.
  • Don't blame reality TV for falling ratings. First, the offerings are back down to a reasonable number. Fear Factor, Survivor, and Joe Millionaire are the only ones I can think of running on the networks. After the glut two years ago, we are seeing a return of comedies and dramas, big time. I can't remember when I've seen as many new dramas as have come out this year.

    As others have pointed out, blame the quality of the programming. Many of those new shows have already been tossed in the dumpster. Older show
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @07:50PM (#7364277) Homepage Journal
    Read my sig. BTW.

    Good shows get canned and utter crap (reality TV) takes over all the airwaves, and they are wondering why we're not watching anymore?


    If you move a show around week after week until even its most dedicated fans have no idea when is on, its ratings will drop.
    Not because nobody wants to watch the show, because no one can.

    Firefly , Futurama, Family Guy, etc. They are good shows, fun shows, shows people want to watch over and over again, but CAN'T because they get put in the Random Shifting Mystery Time Slot of Death and then cancelled for "low ratings" and replaced with boring, run of the mill cookie-cutter snore fests.

    Yeah, I'll play videogames instead, at least I can rely on my game to be the same game next time I load it and not be pre-empted by a tv preacher telling me I'm going to hell unless I give him money to finance the next preempting of my TV show.


    Respect your viewers, and for god's sake never ever again justify your decisions with the phrase "nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the america public"!


  • Because if I wanted to watch a "homosexual comedy hour", i'd hang out at Starbucks and see it in 3D.

  • Neilsen... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zapman ( 2662 ) on Saturday November 01, 2003 @09:17AM (#7366261)
    Quoth the article:

    Meanwhile, some network executives are blaming Nielsen Media Research, the folks who measure viewer ratings, claiming that the firm's methodology is faulty in this new era of digital cable boxes and satellite dishes. Nielsen, of course, disagrees

    I was astounded to find out that to be a 'Neilsen reviewer' you had to watch more than 5 hours of TV per day.


    With that in mind, just how realistic do you thing their stats are going to be to begin with, let alone if a large portion of their viewing population is disappearing from them. Would they even notice until the revolution has them up against the wall?

The amount of time between slipping on the peel and landing on the pavement is precisely 1 bananosecond.