TV ratings are not falling because of the iPhone

by Paul William Tenny

Some things are so naive or dumb that they can drag me out of my shell just long enough to post something on this blog. From TechCrunch (CrunchGear) comes one of those stories, linking the decline in television ratings to people using more and more applications on Apple's iPhone.

Not mobile phone apps generally, or smart phone use, just iPhone apps.

The premise that the fall in ratings is recent is false, and the broad generalization that ratings have been falling overall is also wrong. Network ratings have been falling pretty much since the invention of cable TV, and that drop in ratings isn't affecting cable networks like they are the broadcast giants. While NBC can't find a winner no matter what it does, its sister unit USA Network can't find enough available land on which to build parking lots paved in gold. And CBS this fall seems to have knocked FOX off the top of the hill.

A big problem with niche sites like TecnCrunch (and even this blog) is that we tend to see everything through a narrow filter where the explanation for every mystery just happens to exist within our area of expertise. I'm no expert, certainly, but which explanation is more plausible to you? People leaving TV to play with apps on the iPhone, or the rise of cable as a viable competitor to network TV?

That one isn't hard to figure out.

in Ratings, Television


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