The Academy Awards air this Sunday. I've watched them every year since I was a kid, and every year I look forward to it. But every year I am bored for three-plus hours, and every year I promise myself that next year I'll tune in after 11 p.m. and just see who wins the top awards. Some relatively simple changes, however, could revitalize the show and make it more viewer- (and advertiser-) friendly -- and perhaps reverse the trend that saw its median viewer age rise from 47 to 55+ over the past 10 years.
My 17-year old son recently told me that many of his friends don't watch anything on traditional TV anymore, and many do not have DVRs. They watch TV almost exclusively on Netflix or Hulu, and are more than happy to wait for shows they want to see. This trend doesn't have much impact on reported TV ratings for adult demos, since their households still use traditional television, but it does have implications for the future. Will those viewing habits continue when kids get older, own their own homes, and start their own families? Who knows?
Once upon a time, there was an ongoing industry debate about whether there was a correlation between program engagement and commercial attentiveness. For every study that indicated people paid more attention to ads during their favorite programs, another study came out that said the more intensely you were viewing your favorite shows, the less attentive you were during commercial breaks.
Back in September, I wrote an article titled, "Cable News: The True Unreality." After discussing how MSNBC and Fox News present alternate extreme versions of reality, I followed with: "CNN, on the other hand, pretends to be neutral, but it's really just afraid to offend anyone or call anyone out for lying. It mistakes false equivalency with fairness...."