back to article Forget the internet: Americans still glued to TV sets in 2012

Americans are consuming more media on more kinds of devices than ever before, but plain old television still rules the roost, according to the latest statistics from market analytics firm the Nielsen Company. Nielsen first rose to public prominence in the 1950s as the company behind the Nielsen Ratings, which remain the leading …

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Alert

Subservient

How to keep a nation subservient, on a very large scale............

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MrT
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Wait a minute...

...that's not what you were told to think...

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Re: Subservient

That's not even the worst of it. The problem is that it stunts intellectual growth and it's going to take another generation to recover from that. I'm glad to see more self directed activities coming to the forefront.

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Age profile

As a teacher in the US I see a different story, my students (14-18 year olds) watch little broadcast TV, and what they do is time shifted either through DVR or other means. Most of their spare time that doesn't involve the opposite sex seems to be taken up with online pursuits, games, videos and music. If my observations are applicable nationwide (doubtful but interesting as Peter snow would put it) then the Cable TV industry and TV in general could be in trouble when this generation reach bill paying age.

A lot of families in this area also seem to have cancelled Cable TV subscriptions (can you blame them when they want $50-60 a month for the basic digital package) and are making do with online sources, whether this is a sea change or a symptom of the economic malaise is for someone else to figure out.

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Megaphone

Re: Age profile

"...the Cable TV industry and TV in general could be in trouble..."

Efros, you don't have to wait until your students reach bill-paying age. I think the TV/Cable companies are in trouble now. Here in the Greater Antipodes people are leaving Foxtel in droves in favour of alternatives like streamed media from the TV stations' web sites/viewers as well as (allegedly) other sources like BT channel.

The commercial channels broadcast 80% garbage interspersed with mind-numbing commercials aimed at people with room temperature IQs, and while the public stations (ABC & SBS) seem to be slightly better, over the silly season just about everything is a repeat. They even have the gall to repeat programmes that have only been screened a matter of weeks previously.

Mrs Magani and I used to have Foxtel cable, but paying upwards of $100/month for more repeats and a selection of channels that we had no interest in (because it was part of The Package) was not providing satisfaction. Now if they'd come back and asked what particular channels we wanted without all the extraneous garbage, and at a reasonable price, we might have thought about it. Did they? Not on your life. "You're leaving? OK Bye!"

To sum up, cable needs to provide what the customer is willing to watch and pay for; not what's currently foisted on them by marketing. Likewise commercial TV. The public stations (also including the Beeb and PBS?) probably do a mostly reasonable job, especially in current affairs, news and docos. Regardless of the distribution medium, broadcasters need to realise that the Great Unwashed are getting used to having their entertainment when they want it, not when the broadcaster dictates.

Disclaimer: I watch about 1 hour per day +/- of live TV. This is just about all news. The rest I get from 'other sources'.

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Re: Age profile

Are they reporting the 'wallpaper effect' here, my mother (85 and counting) has the TV on all day, a friend's husband used to put it on when he walked in the door, and I've seen him playing an immersive shoot em up while TV was on in the background. Friend's children vary in watching, eldest three are on computers most evenings until bedtime, youngest does her homework on the computer then watches a couple hours of TV before bedtime I generally websurf on and off for hours, but watch about 1 hour of TV a night midweek, with about two and a half at the weekend. (I'm 55) so I would say it's definately age related.

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Re: 'wallpaper effect' here

That certainly part of it. Until recently my typical behavior was to come home, turn on Fox News, and start making supper for me and my roomie. When I actually sit down to watch I might play something we dvr'ed earlier. Or if I'm not even interested in the DVR list, pop in a DVD or browse Netflix. Oddly enough the DVDs are usually tv series we've purchased (Original Trek, SG, SG2, Andomeda, Dr. Who, B5, Lois and Clark, White Collar, Psych, etc.). And there are times when I'm multi-tasking tv and internet (usually because I'm not especially interested in my roomie's current tv choice).

Now at one time we were a Nielson family with the actual monitoring stuff wired into the tv and vcr. When we were we made DAMN sure the tv was on and tuned to the appropriate channels for certain shows (B5, and Crossfire) even if we weren't in the room at the time. If it was stuff we knew was popular we played it straight. But for our interests that were consistently being canceled before we became a Nielsen family, we made sure we were counted.

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Holmes

"Nielsen's figures may be taken with a grain of salt"

See icon.

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I don't know ANYONE who watches TV anymore. Nobody under 50 anyway.

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Pirate

...and the over 50 too!

I avoid all TV as much as humanly possible.

TV long ago went to the dogs:

Cooking

Clebs

Fatties

Gardening

DIY

Social voyeurism

The only hold out from days gone by is Sport, and I don't like Sport.

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Bronze badge

WHAT television?

I'm older than the Baby Boomers and I haven't owned a TV since, oh, 1997. Didn't watch it much then; in Irvine, CA, in 1994, I had to haul it out of an unused room and make an antenna out of wire to see what the news was saying about the earthquake I'd just felt. The only TV station I could find on the air had no picture; an engineer working at a mountain-top transmitter had patched AM broadcast audio to the sound channel. When I left Irvine, the TV set went to the dump

Note on the Northridge 'quake: Tones from a VHF radio tuned to a tilt meter woke me just before the shock arrived from ~55 miles away. My groggy mind decoded the wild pitch changes as E A R T H Q U A K E in Morse code.

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Anonymous Coward

"boob tube"

A boob tube is not slang for a television, it is a ladies' item of clothing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "boob tube"

But THE boob tube IS. (no italics so caps will have to do).

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Headmaster

Re: "boob tube" @AC 10:51

There are words and expressions that exist in cultures and countries other than your own.

Please widen your horizons, or check Google, before making absolute statements.

BTW, top marks for getting the apostrophe in the correct place!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "boob tube" @AC 10:51

Yes, I realised after posting :)

I'm still giggling, it's a new expression to me and I find it a bit comical!

Guess it's comparable to our 'idiot box'...

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I don't know why any Americans watch TV

The constant advertising is so annoying. I've just got back from a couple of weeks holiday in the US and apart from the countless adverts, all that was on was college football. Yawn.

If I lived in the states I would maybe get a PVR but would probably just rely on bittorrent. Or PBS. Not that I watch a lot of TV anyway.

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Television

Can I run adblock plus on that?

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