Expect TV to get dumber

According to a new report published at NYTimes, Americans watch on average 5 hours a day of TV, or 34 hours per week — more than ever before. And this statistic doesn’t even include Netflix, which has boomed via streaming in the last year! While everyone is talking about the decline of TV’s popularity compared to the Internet, more and more people are watching it. How is this possible?

Basically, what this means, extrapolating from the kind of shows that are actually popular, is this:
1. Unemployment. Makes people have nothing else to do but watch TV.
2. The baby boomers are now getting retired! This whole generation is now staying at home and watching TV. Why do you think that shows like Hawaii 5-0, a 40 year old favorite of the 20-somethings of its time, came back to TV just now?

So basically old people continue to watch as much, if not more TV, while youngsters are turning mostly into streaming or the Internet. What this means is that more reality shows, dance shows, lose-weight shows, and crappy cop shows will continue to happen en mass on TV for at least another 10 years. It’s sad, really. I personally have no hope for serious, thought provoking, and well-shot/scripted shows in the foreseeable future.

5 Comments »

Yanni wrote on January 4th, 2011 at 10:03 PM PST:

I just read an article that says every day this year, 10,000 people will turn 65. That’s every single day this year. That’s unbelievable.


Glenn Thomas wrote on January 5th, 2011 at 6:28 AM PST:

Woah, 5 hours a day on average? And that’s counting everyone in the US? Scary!

Now I would take a rough guess at least 80% of those people are watching it at the wrong aspect ratio too, 4:3 stretched to 16:9.


Bruce Nelson wrote on January 5th, 2011 at 12:44 PM PST:

The thing about getting old is that, if you are lucky, it will happen to you. I know because it happened to me. The trick of it is, if you are really, really lucky,your mind stays young. Guess that makes me a 14 year old septigenarian.


Michael C. wrote on January 5th, 2011 at 12:57 PM PST:

From a comment to a YouTube video about 1953 coup in Iran, which was organized by the U.S. and Britain: “No wonder we have this bullshit gov’t we have. People know more about TV then real life.”


zima wrote on January 5th, 2011 at 7:10 PM PST:

BTW Eugenia, it seems to me like Caprica actually managed to get a heck of an ending / closing episodes. How it was cancelled (so the shows for old people can have their air time?) might be also partly a case of “tv series darwinism”, with “the fittest” having the usual indifferent meaning…

Yes, it had its flaws – but quite climatic at the least. It also doesn’t particularly feel like an abruptly cancelled show – as if it was understood one season is probably all they’ll gonna get (I still wonder how much of an impact could the “gods-god no longer mostly a cute background” had πŸ˜‰ ), with alternative / closing scenes also shot. Plus no real cliffhanger (in fact, considering how they want to make a TV film / possible pilot of new series about opening stages of First Cylon War – they should be able to quite smoothly pick up the story where they left it)

@Bruce Nelson – or your mind is mostly lying to you? πŸ˜‰ (how many people are convinced they aged less than their peers?)

@Michael C. – more broadly speaking: govs are largely a reflection of society.


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