The Networks are waking up.

Some people have had it with TV. They’ve had enough of the 100-plus channel universe. They don’t like timing their lives around network show schedules. They’re tired of $100-plus monthly bills. (WTOP)

According to Nielsen, who has been tracking household viewing habits since time immemorial (or at least as long as it has been a money making effort), there are five million folks who do not even own a television. That seems low to me. I suspect there are a lot of people that own a television, but have long since given up their connection to receive the traditional television signals. And, if you have watched television lately, you probably know why.

As pointed out in the article, people are tired of being tied to their televisions. More so, they are tired of being tied to schedules that have nothing to offer, either intellectually, or visually. For the one or two shows that you find interesting – and I suspect most people find fewer than five shows even worth the time – there are other ways to watch it if you really want to. The rest is a waste of time.

Lately, we have moved from relying on regular television to watching Netflix, Hulu, and any of our many DVDs rather than wasting time looking for something to watch on broadcast networks (and this includes cable).  We get our sports directly from the leagues, without the commercials and with the ability to rewind and watch the game later if we want to or have other things going on when the game is live. The rest is ignored in favor of other, more interesting things, like doing laundry.

And the networks are only just talking about this?  Here is the first light-bulb they should turn on – get rid of the anachronistic blackout rule. Just because I live in the same geography as a marketing area for a sports team does not mean I have any intention of going to see the game, and for a variety of good reasons.  If you think someone should have exclusive rights to show it, you are again ignoring those of us who have paid for the privilege of watching this same game, yet do not have a television, or, access to television. Sometimes I want to watch a game while working at the office.  There is no television at my desk, but the video stream works just fine. And did I mention, I have already paid for it?

By the time the networks, and their boards realize what is going on, people will have already flocked to other forms of media.  My daughter already gets more video from YouTube than she does from television and this is not a trend that will change any time soon. But it is good to see that the networks are taking notice. To bad it is five years too late.

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