It’s 8:00 p.m. — do you know where your TV is?

October 1, 2008

television-set.jpgThe new prime-time TV season is starting and that means all eyes are on Nielsen ratings. While that’s the case every fall, this one is a bit different — the industry is recovering from a writers’ strike that threw the 2007-08 season into disarray.

AdAge points out, for instance, that serialized dramas already appear to be having trouble getting their footing back. It says two NBC dramas, “Chuck” and “Life,” both opened the season to sharply lower viewing numbers for the 18-49 demographic than they did a year ago.

Both are indicative of how many serialized dramas lost media momentum last year due to the strike, and how hard it will be to rebuild it without the buildup of free media any new show receives

Unscripted shows might hold up better, the article says.

Since nature — and TV — abhors a vacuum, many viewers during the strike got sucked into reality shows like “Dancing With the Stars” and many are coming back.

Overall, the Wall Street Journal reports, the big five broadcast networks saw a 4.3 percent decline in viewership from the first week of the season a year ago. The article cites Nielsen figures.

General Electric’s NBC faced the steepest overall declines, with 16.3% fewer viewers. Older-skewing CBS, a unit of CBS Corp., was down 9.6% among viewers between the ages of 18 and 49. News Corporation’s Fox and The CW, a joint venture between CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros., were both up over last year, but still ranked Nos. 4 and 5 in viewers among the English-language networks, respectively.

But executives say they are being patient — as are advertisers. Both say they are aware that it may take some time to bring back viewers. Besides, it has only been one week.

Keep an eye on:

  • More than 100,000 Bollywood and television workers began an indefinite strike, protesting irregular pay and the hiring of non-union members, a move that could delay major releases for India’s festival season (Reuters)
  • Social network software maker, Slide Inc has signed a deal with major media companies to distribute video content on Facebook, capitalizing on the success of social networking (Reuters)
  • The Nasdaq Stock Market said it will cancel some of the late trades in Google Inc, whose shares appeared to plunge as low as 1 cent at the close of North American markets on Tuesday (Reuters)

(Photo: Reuters)

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