Who Actually Still Watches TV? The Old


One trend that I continue to share is the decline (and IMO inevitable death) of cable TV and the dumb pipe overall. It is obsolete technology that lives on purely due to habitual behavior of some. It’s also in many ways a tax on the tech illiterate (a monetary and perhaps more importantly time tax).

So we already know millennials don’t watch TV. But clearly some still do as we still see the churn of cliché reality garbage, manic 24 news cycles and formulaic dramas / sitcoms unceremoniously pumped out via aging infrastructure.

It all begs the question: who still squanders their precious, fleeting hours as a sentient being on our temporary, slowly dying home in the universe? Surprisingly, it is those with the least amount of time left: older adults. As reported in the Washington Post:

TV is increasingly for the old, and the Internet is for the young, according to new research by media analyst Michael Nathanson of Moffett Nathanson Research.

The median age of a broadcast or cable television viewer during the 2013-2014 TV season was 44.4 years old, a 6 percent increase in age from four years earlier. Audiences for the major broadcast network shows are much older and aging even faster, with a median age of 53.9 years old, up 7 percent from four years ago.

These television viewers are aging faster than the U.S. population,Nathanson points out. The median age in the U.S. was 37.2, according to the U.S. Census, a figure that increased 1.9 percent over a decade. So to put that in context of television viewing, he said TV audiences aged 5 percent faster than the average American.

…for younger audiences, control over when and where they watch has driven the trend away from traditional television. Live television viewing was down 13 percent for all ages except for viewers 55 years and older, who are steadily watching their shows at their scheduled broadcast time.

So the only truly captive audience left (this is what the TV industrial complex assumes – that you are captive) is those 55 years and older and the median age of any viewer at all is over 44. By the looks of things, these folk are simply conditioned by this age to view content on the terms of media conglomerates as opposed to timeshifting and viewing on their own agenda. Likely makes sense for this demographic. Most young people simply are not conditioned for this behavior, and those who may have been have realized it and changed their patterns.

For the young who do watch, why are they still there? I’m guessing the holdouts are sports fans where the content is consistently that of a temporal nature and has a high cost of now – this is the only (barely) logical use of a dumb pipe left. But in time I believe eventually there will be such a disconnect in cable these organizations will have to rethink distribution or also face becoming obsolete.

TV …it’s watching life instead of living it. It’s a wonderful sign for society that young people get this.

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