Sure, There Are Good TV Shows Around. Finding Them? That's Something Else

Deep into the summer doldrums, my wife says there’s nothing on “television” right now. She means on the broadcast networks.

"What about cable" I ask. "Or Netflix? Some TV shows you may have missed?" She’s not interested. Hulu? Nope, nothing she really wants to watch. She opts for a “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” rerun.

All this may sound strange when headlines always talk about the “golden age” of TV, with seemingly scores of quality entertainment on many different platforms.

But the problems run deeper. While there are more quality TV shows than ever before, the glut is threatening the whole TV ecosystem: TV ratings are declining across the board.

And then there is another related concern: TV series discovery. Which shows should I watch? Will network on-air promos be interesting enough to make me check in? Can I count on electronic program guides to entice me?

For many,  social media may be a way to find out about shows But that may not be enough -- especially for those who aren’t heavy participants.



Traditional pay TV providers’ video-on-demand TV series would seem to help. But even then, the number of episodes available for a TV series in a given season varies wildly: three, five, seven, or perhaps just one. So consumers don’t really know what’s available from one network to another.

It comes down to this:  46% percent of respondents in a 2014 survey by TiVo’s Digitalsmiths unit spend 10 minutes or more channel surfing per day, and 80.3% still watch only 10 or fewer channels.

TV program discovery still has a long way to go in the new digital age -- and my wife still has nothing to watch.

7 comments about "Sure, There Are Good TV Shows Around. Finding Them? That's Something Else".
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  1. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, July 14, 2015 at 4:18 p.m.

    Poor, Dear Wayne,

    Maybe your wife has better things to do than watch TV or curse the darkness.

    Rarely, does quality or opportunty coming knocking on your door seeking an appointment. 
    Most searches for quality take some effort &

    Do you go to the library...remember that...and say, "Oh, there are just too many good books!"  
    I think I shall leave without choosing one and read a newspaper instead.  (Fewer good ones!)
    How about Broadway or the local Cinema?  Too may good choices!  Give up?  OK, be bored!
    How about a trip to LACMA or The Getty?  Too much good art.  McDonald's Happy Meal time?

    I'm going home to sulk because my remote control won't think, feel or do EVERYTHING for me.

    Stop feeling sorry for lazy consumers and lazy producers and lazy distrbutors.
    Decide what you love and devour it!  If you don't, you'll be leading someone else's pathetic life.
    That's no fun.  

    Now, why did I choose to read your article?
    It was the best alternative to someone else's idea of stimulation,
    like watching Scott Walker & Donald Trump re-enact the 1994 Movie Classic: Dumb & Dumber.  
    You know, it's just like when Harry Dunne said:
    "According to the map, we've only gone 4 inches."

    Quality in this Life is DIY.  (
    Please quote me early & often.)  

    Onwards & Upwards!
    Sweet, Darling Nick

  2. Patty Ardis from Ardis Media, LLC, July 14, 2015 at 4:26 p.m.

    Well there could be many things on to watch if only networks and cable networks wouldn't worry so much about ratings or sweeps or advertising and on and on. There is plenty to watch but for those of us who prefer to watch when we want to watch and not when networks allow us to watch (and how much we can watch at a time) that is really the issue and thus unless it is a live sporting event or a breaking news event on CNN, watching on-demand should be allowed and encouraged. And until the process by which programming with advertising is adjusted (meaning the viewer comes first not the advertiser) we will all have that same feeling - there is nothing on to watch!

  3. brian ring from ring digital llc, July 14, 2015 at 4:34 p.m.

    A phenomenal post Wayne! I've tried to write articles about this topic. I usually stop after producing several incoherent piles of 750+ words. Here you go, nailing it in a few hundred.

    The classic 'sit on the couch, lean-back and watch linear TV' experience is gone forever. Also gone? The simplicity of not having as much choice - just leaning back to whatever mass-market content is airing - and relaxing in the comfort of knowing that you're part of an audience of millions - and not on some weirdly constructed, isolated digital media island that Fb provided to you.

    In the meantime, no doubt about it - the industry has failed miserably on this front. There is a lack of digital merchandising skills in the OTT & TV tech biz.

    Watch for Apple TV's next update. In the near future I plan to blog about the critical problems with that device. I hope they channel Steve Jobs on that relaunch in the Fall. It would help your wife - and mine. 

  4. Pamela Noga from WJMN-TV3, July 15, 2015 at 8:46 a.m.

    Well said, Nicholas.  Sounds like Wayne's wife wants everyone else to do her work for her. There is so much quality TV on right now that I can't find the time and I have to make hard decisions as what I keep watching and what I need to drop.  As I result, I know I am dropping good shows but the bar keeps getting set higher-and-higher.  

  5. Linda Moskal from WNPV Radio, July 15, 2015 at 12:50 p.m.

    Patty, I hate to tell you this but the real reason for tv networks and cable and just about everything else is to earn a living.  In other words, making money.  Until the viewers pay for everything they watch, it is going to be about the advertiser because they are paying the bill. The content is really just filler between the commercials!  

  6. Patty Ardis from Ardis Media, LLC, July 15, 2015 at 8:13 p.m.

    Linda, I couldn't agree more with you! I have no problem with anyone in advertising making money, my point was that as viewers we know what we want, we know what we like it is up to the programmers to understand this and accept the challenge instead of going along with a few tweaks here and there but keeping the status quo so to speak.

  7. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, July 15, 2015 at 10:49 p.m.

    Dear Pamela,

    Thank you for your gracious observations.  What a ray of light in the dark tunnel that Wayne Friedman started to dig yesterday.  It appears Wayne has found a few nice people to join him in the nether regions.

    God sspare us this hell.

    If media is only about making money, I guess we are sh*t out of luck when it comes to valued and valuable communication.  Sorry to be so dense.  I guess what our fellow commentators want us to understand is: Money is everything.  All better now?  Everybody walks, nobody talks.  Everybody signs, everything is fine.

    Now, let's open the windows and breathe some fresh air.

    Enjoy the rest of the Summer with or without TV and Advertising.

    Nicholas P. Schiavone, L.L.C.

    Still signed in as Nicholas Schiavone of Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC ... but fearing a trade sabbatical is long overdue.

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