Art and Entertainment

Alan Wurtzel of NBC, left, and Lee Bartlett of Fox

Strike is Over, But Viewers May be Over TV

May 13, 2008 04:12 PM
by Rachel Balik
As television networks prepare to screen the fall lineup for advertisers, they grapple with a significant ratings drop.

30-Second Summary

This week television networks are screening their fall line-ups for advertisers while battling a serious plummet in ratings: for April and May, viewers were down 9 percent from the same period last year. Some blame the writers’ strike for causing viewers to lose interest in TV in general.

In fact, networks have a variety of possible explanations for the drop in ratings. If it’s not the writers’ strike, it could be that daylight saving came earlier in the season this year, and people are spending more time outdoors. Or, it could be that people are watching more shows on demand, on DVR or on the Web.
Regardless of the reason, the fall in ratings is hurting advertising, and networks must find ways to reach viewers again. NBC researcher chief Alan Wurtzel explained, “if we continue to do business assuming people will watch television as they always have … it’s a dead-end game.”

Headline Link: ‘TV Viewers Still Down After Strike’

Opinion and Analysis: Advertisers respond to falling ratings

Background: The writers’ strike

Related Topics: The poststrike industry and the fall 2008 schedule


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