Network Audience Eroding, New Threats Loom
This fall, popular broadcast-TV shows are seeing their audiences jump by more than one-third when you include people who record the shows and watch them later on DVRs. But even with those viewers added, fewer people overall are watching the big broadcast networks.
During the first two weeks of the TV season, an average of 9 million people watched prime-time programming live and within seven days. That's down 6.6% from last year, per Nielsen.
Bigger problems ahead include the growing popularity of broadcast TV shows on Internet services like Apple's iTunes, which are "training the audience to believe there's no urgency in watching anything," says Preston Beckman, Fox executive. February's transition to digital TV is another threat because households that switch to cable or satellite are likely to start watching a greater variety of channels.