from the dancing-in-quicksand dept
I'll get to stage three later, but here in stage two, the industry remains very focused on doubling down on very bad ideas in the hopes an increasingly annoyed customer base won't notice. As we've been noting, the viewership for both cable and broadcast TV is dropping, particularly in segments like kids programming, where parents are finding better value (and fewer ads) via services like Netflix. What's cable's response to this growing threat? Start shoving more and more ads into each viewing hour:
"Beset by declines in audience, a majority of U.S. cable networks stuffed more commercials onto their air in the fourth quarter, with Viacom boosting its ad load by 13% across its cable networks; A+E Networks increasing the number of commercials it runs by 10%; and Discovery Communications adding 9% more TV spots, according to research released Wednesday by independent analyst Michael Nathanson. On the broadcast side, Fox raised the number of spots it aired by 15% in the quarter, Nathanson said, while ABC and CBS reduced theirs by 2% and NBC cut its by 6%."Of course, cable and broadcast companies can get away with this because -- despite all the grumbling about cable companies -- the vast majority of consumers continue to pay an arm and a leg for vast bundles of cable content that they barely watch. By the time the numbers start to veer more sharply toward cord-cutting, many of these cable, phone or telco TV operators are going to be well behind the Netflix and Amazon eight ball. That will bring us to phase three, where cable and broadcast companies that refused to adapt will turn to their stranglehold over the broadband last mile, and start extracting their pound of flesh via usage caps.