Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Web Secret 620: Network TV

Two things about Millenials: they don't have landlines and they don't have cable TV. They use smartphones and streaming services.

In a Fast Company article, Joe Berkowitz writes how "he replaced Netflix and HBO with network TV for a week", and his brain is different now.
"Back in the ’80s, network TV was everything. It was what you were watching if you were watching TV. .. The past couple decades have seen an increasing erosion of network TV’s sovereignty...Nielsen ratings among adults 18-49 for broadcast TV dropped about 35% between 2014 and 2019, thanks to cord cutting and the rise of streaming. Everybody with the means to subscribe to premium platforms, can watch whatever they want to watch, whenever they want to watch it, on a variety of devices big and small. It’s almost hard to believe now that in previous generations, families would gather around a living-room TV set together at night and simply watch What Was On."
Characteristics of ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC shows:

1. Easier decisions: It's 7pm and there are only 4 shows to choose between.

2. Everything is the same: Watching network shows again feels like swathing yourself in a cozy, familiar blanket. Everything on network TV is as it once was: The cadences are the same, the patter is the same, the fantastically unlikely “relatable” situations are the same.I t’s a soft parade of uniformly telegenic people in clothes that always fit perfectly. Nothing bad happens and if it’s not, it’s headed for a quick resolution, typically within the episode.

3. Holidays impact programming: "This network TV experiment happened to fall during the week of Valentine’s Day, and I forgot how network TV shows all converge around each holiday." We’re in this together.

4. There are reality shows, news shows, game shows, sports shows and cop, doctor, and firefighting procedurals. That's it.

5. Network TV is "deliciously undemanding. You can play Candy Crush or online shop or get a snack at any time and not miss a thing, and all the while feel like you’re in the company of friends." In contrast Netflix et al are intellectually demanding, often require reading recaps to even understand and are consequentially exhausting. Also many of these shows are very disturbing, showcase hair raising violence and graphic sex scenes best watched when you are alone. And not right before bedtime.

"Sometimes you just want to lie down and be counted, to sit in television’s warming glow and feel comfortable. That’s when network TV will always (probably?) be there for you. Come on in, the water’s still nice."

Thanks Joel.

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