Posted by: lindsaym88 | October 23, 2014

The Folly of Traditional Ratings

I watch majority of my TV through Netflix, or streamed online, or any number of options that aren’t network television broadcasts. Ratings (at least, those which determine a show’s survival) are taken by a count of individuals watching a show during it’s original broadcast. This excludes a wide breadth of viewers and cuts their input from the playing field entirely. This has led to many shows with a very strong fan following being canceled before their prime and therefore subject to extreme fan backlash. Shows like Firefly come to mind in that respect, whose fans prompted the creation of the sequel film, Serenity. Rarely, some shows (like Community) are able to escape the clutches of cancellation due to the savvy online presence of their cast and creators, and a powerful cult following.

The ratings system is fueled entirely by advertising revenue and the show’s potential to pull in viewers to the network. Today, this seems fundamentally flawed. While online streaming systems are being inundated with ads, the viewers of these formats are still underrepresented and underutilized.  My impression is that television is behind the times and a dying medium. These networks need to figure out how to tap into the larger viewer base on the internet and produce content that suits their interests, and, as is a necessarily evil, figure out an effective way to monetize it. Otherwise, these archaic network systems face certain demise, and there won’t be a loyal fan-base around to fight for their resurgence.

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