Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ratings Erosion

"Network TV already was facing ratings erosion. As Mr. Krehbiel demonstrates, more viewers have switched at least some of their attention to the web and other pursuits. What's more, an increasing number have armed themselves with ad-zapping DVRs -- so even if they watch, there's no guarantee some of them will see the ads. Now the strike threatens to accelerate the trend by removing the very things that draw millions of potential consumers to the tube night after night: glitzy special events and water-cooler shows.

The networks face their strongest test in the weeks ahead -- proving their writer-less offerings can still draw people. "What I'm going to be looking for is how does this stuff do through the end of the first quarter? How are these guys doing year to year? Does 'Dance Wars' over time have as much power as 'Dancing With the Stars'? Does 'Idol' keep going in the same direction?" asked PHD's Mr. Swift. The answers could bolster advertiser confidence or prove broadcast is no longer the biggest piece of the media pie."

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