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Why is TV Losing its Viewers?

Foram Mehta
TV viewership has decreased substantially. Have you realized this? We instead spend a lot of time on our PCs, phones, etc. We now, watch all our favorite soaps on them.
I was browsing through different websites and almost all of them had headlines like, "Simon Cowell's, Red or Black loses more than a million viewers", "Pay TV losing thousands of viewers!", "Are TV Shows Doomed To Lose Viewers?" and so on. These headlines are based on TV ratings by 'Nielsen', which is one of the most reliable sources for TV ratings and what the headlines clearly indicate is that TV viewership has been reducing.

Why is TV Viewership Dropping Down?

For most of us, it's not surprising that TV soaps are losing its viewership in millions. Do we spend as much time watching TV as before? The answer is "No". None of us today spend as much time watching TV as we used to, say about 3-4 years back. This is because of the extensive use of other media sources, like Internet connection on PCs, phones, etc. PCs have replaced TVs. This is because, we now get to see whatever we want and whenever we want to, either by watching soaps online or by downloading them and storing them.

The Web's Taking Over

A research study indicated, that young consumers who fall in the age group of 18-30 years are spending more time on the Internet than watching TV. Also, people in the age group of 31-44 years also spend more time being online than watching TV. There are a couple of valid reasons why TV has been losing its viewers.
The major contributor to this is the Internet. TV, now, has become a subset of the web. Everything you find on TV can be found on the web, but not vice versa. PCs and tablets are more interactive and are broadly used compared to the television.
Videos of one's favorite songs, soaps, etc., can be downloaded and seen whenever one desires to. So, who really needs the TV now?


There can be a possible link between increasing unemployment and the decreasing TV viewership. Ideally if one is not employed, then he/she would spend more time watching.
But, what if the financial state of that unemployed person is such, that he/she can't afford a cable connection? Yes! That's the kind of financial state, many people are in today. To a small extent, if not large, unemployment has been a reason for the decreasing TV viewership.

More People Living Together

A drop has been observed in the total number of cable connections this year. Many cable connections have been cut off. This is because, those who had taken a housing loan and were hit by the recession, moved back to living with their families. With this, the requirement of an additional cable network is already dismissed.

Excessive Viewing of the Same Soaps

A report by Nielsen stated that almost 20 top cable networks have experienced a decline in their viewership. Also, the established and the most watched channels have faced a decline in their viewership, by a rate of 15%. The viewership for the top rated TV soaps like Seinfeld, ER, Grey's Anatomy, Big Bang Theory, etc., has reduced considerably.
And instead, viewership has increased for channels like CNN, and The Weather Channel. This clearly indicates that the interest people had in these soaps is not the same anymore. This could be because of an overdose of watching the same soaps all the time.
A lot of questions have been raised on how the decreasing TV viewership is going to hit the television industry. There has been a shift in television advertisements to other carriers. Restaurants, newspapers, websites, etc., are now receiving the diverted advertisements. This will definitely distort the revenue earned by the TV industry for the time being.
But in the long run, because of the increasing competition with the web, there is more scope of innovation and creativity. This will only improve the content seen by the viewers.
No matter how large the web becomes, it cannot substitute for a TV. It will always remain as a must-have gadget in every home. A TV brings people together. A TV (home theater) will always be preferred for enjoying live soccer matches, fresh soap episodes and your favorite movies.
A PC may be your personal equipment but a TV serves to be a family attraction. After all, what is life "out-of-the-(idiot)-box"!