Monday, May 31, 2010

Network TV -- now entering their fourth decade on death's door

Brian over at Ultrasonic Remote sends this latest obituary for network television based on this:
YouTube’s viewership now exceeds that of all three networks combined during their “primetime” evening time slot, with more than 2 billion views per day, Google announced Sunday.

There are a lot of statistical flaws in the article but the one that jumped out at me was the bit about "all three networks." This is a particularly embarrassing variation on an old fallacy. Articles on the decline of network viewership have often failed to take new networks into account, for example comparing CBS/ABC/NBC viewership in 1980 and 1995 then concluding that the difference represented people going to cable.

You can see how someone would make that mistake. It seems to be an apples-to-apples comparison even though it's not.

But in a discussion limited strictly to 2010 viewership, talking about "all three networks" is just weird.

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