Start Up Blog

The end of television

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 24, 2009

There’s been a lot of talk about the end of television lately. You’ve heard it all. But one simple fact I heard today reminded me today of why television is doomed.

The end of the ratings period.

Yep, that old chestnut. But let’s stop and think for moment what it means and the legacy issues associated with the concept of the rating and non-rating periods.

It was something television could do. It could ‘have a holiday’. It could do this for one simple reason, it had no real competitors. TV broadcasters justified their actions too. They told us that their TV stars needed a break. They told us they were getting ready for the new season with great new episodes and shows. They told us we could enjoy our favourite re-runs. Sure we could go down the the video rental store, but it was much harder than turning on a television and a poor substitute at best.

Today, the end of the ratings period is a continued legacy which proves that broadcasters still don’t get it. We don’t care what time of year it is, we don;’t have to. We still spend money. The economy keeps churning. We still want current, new, exciting information and entertainment. Good news for us is that now we can go elsewhere to get it. And it’s more convenient than TV. It’s on demand, and uninterrupted. The fact that the ratings period still exists today has me flummoxed.

And as long as the television broadcasting industry thinks it can get away with it’s ‘holiday’, it is yet to understand what is happening. It alone is proof TV as an industry, is doomed. This little thing, the non-ratings period, is proof they don’t believe that is the end of their cosy little attention monopoly.

Good bye television, hope you enjoyed your stay.

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7 Responses

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  1. samotage said, on November 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Oh, non-ratings time again? Sheesh, I didn’t even notice we were in a ratings period! I agree TV has a few major issues, most of them cultural to the TV industry.

  2. Matthew McDougall said, on November 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Couldn’t agree more!

    Matthew McDougal.

  3. leon said, on November 24, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    As an old School media guru let me defend television…..

    Firstly there is actually no such thing as ‘Non Ratings period’ these days ratings are gathered 24 hours a day 365 days a year, and soon to be even more than that when they start measuring time shifted viewing. I assure you advertisers care just as much about ratings at Christmas as they do in July.

    I understand that video on demand, and the interweb and mobile media are all growing, but let’s not pretend that they are any real competition for Television yet. Television is by far still the most dominant media in Australia – the average person still watches 21 hours of Television a week, and that spread amongst just a few players (7,9 + 10 account for 75% of all viewing) whereas the internet is somewhere around 11 hours (always hard to get accurate figures as it’s growing quickly) but the problem it’s spread over millions of sites, unless you feel like advertising on goggle, but hey they are more money hungry than the Tv Networks.

    And yeah there can be a hit video of YouTube watched by 100,000 Australians over the next three weeks, but chances are more people than that are watching Video Hits on a Sunday morning.

    Yeah Television is on the wane, for many reasons, and for certain, normally well educated demographics (including marketing experts) who seem to spend all their time bashing it, because like they are way to cool to watch TV themselves (although we all know that every person who say ‘Oh I never watch the Footy Show is always magically watching when Sam Newman goes crazy again) but let’s not get so dramatic as to say it is doomed.

    Yeah if you are selling BMW’s TV probably isn’t the answer but for the great portion of Grocery Buyers with Kids and thus the majority of the advertising dollars out there TV is still their major media outlet.

    And does Television viewing drop over summer? Not Really. The time spent viewing in Prime time (6-10.30pm) drops by about 9 minutes a day.

    But hey, other than that great article.

    • Steve Sammartino said, on November 25, 2009 at 1:45 pm

      A couple things young Leon….

      Just becuase ratings are gather 365 days a year…. it doesn’t change the fact that the quality of propramming has a significant decline over the summer months….. Sporting matched which take 5 days?

      You say 7, 9 and 10 account for 75% of all viewing… less than 15 years ago it was close enough to 100%. if my business declined by 25% I’d be concerned….

      Sure more people might watch TV, but how engaged are they really? How much of it is due to habit, over choice….

      Does a young mother trust the TV more than the internet, nope. Not even close, the internet is now the first place consumers go to for advice, pre-purchase research, and for more information – especially young mothers – tomorrows MGB…..

      Pretty much all new TV’s come with broad band connections – this is the final game changer, once this happens your TV becomes the internet…. that;s when the hallowed 75% becomes 50 and so on… TV is dead, long live TV.

      yes…. some old TV stalwarts just don’t believe it.

  4. Daniel Cheah said, on November 25, 2009 at 7:32 am

    I agree with all the above re both sides of the TV equation. 

    Unlike TV, in radio, we do have survey (ratings) periods. Traditionally more energy & resources are allocated to the in-survey period coz anything else is not counted.

    It is unfortunate but agencyland advertisers which make up a bulk of revenue just base their ad spend solely on the ratings. That’s a discussion for another time… LOL

    However, I agree with @Leon in that advertisers are still advertising strongly in the non-rating periods. So, despite the absence of the breakfast announcers, the programming still needs to be top notch to carry the momentum to the next survey.

    I do see all changing once the technolgy catches up in speed and convenience. I am an advocate for new technology and not precious about seeing the “demise” of ol’ media. 

    ie. It is far quicker to switch on the TV / radio in the morning than turning on the computer and finding content to consume.

    You cannot fight nature, you have to evolve to match your environment.

    Cheers!

  5. leon said, on November 25, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Old Steve,

    I’m not sure why, as a marketer you would be celebrating the death of the most powerful advertising medium ever seen. You seem to joyous that it’s becoming harder and harder to reach consumers.

    I agreed the the internet (that home of truth) is where many people go for advice nowdays, and for information, and advice for complex purchase decisions it’s absolutely essential.

    And we can sit here all day and yap about the internet being all democratic and full of independent opinions, but watch the trust levels of users fall as soon as they work out most of the ‘conversations’ happening on the internet are really happening with marketers.

    And don’t get me started on ‘Free Media’ because no ever counts the man hours of making the youtube video, or tweeting all day or the rest of it.

    Sure for a high interest product get all digital,and create your relationship with the consumer but as a wise man once told me ‘Sometimes I just want to buy some shampoo I don’t want to form a lifelong relationship with the shampoo maker.’

    So, If I was selling, say Peanut Butter, or as a retailer I had a 3 days stocktake I’d still be whacking my ad on television, because there is not faster way to get the message out to consumers faster.

    And let’s remember where this all started – The great unwashed don’t actually stop watching TV over summer, because (and here is what ad men never tell you because it doesn’t suit their cutting edge, uber funky lifestyle) The general public aren’t like you and me Steve, they aren’t tweeting 30 times a day, they aren’t going to theatre to see the latest mtc play, and they are not hanging about in Yarraville, Sth melb or even Northcote for that matter. The great majority of consumers live in the suburbs, watch TV constantly, and their idea of a big night out is a trip to Frankston Multiplex to see some movie where shit blows up.

  6. Erik said, on November 30, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Rich people have big book shelves and small TVs, poor people have small book shelves and large TVs :)

    Since this is a blog for entrepreneurs: Just stop watching TV. Remove it completely and you’ll have a better life!


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