Baby Boomers and TV

Baby Boomers unhappy with TV offerings:

A significant number of baby boomers - 37 percent - say they aren't happy with what's on television, according to the study.

'The amount of people dissatisfied with television overall was a pretty big eye-opening thing for us,' said Larry Jones, president of the TV Land cable network, which commissioned the study.

I was thinking about this last night while watching Saturday Night Live. I realize the TV people want to capture the youth market ... but guess what - big hunks of the youth market aren't even watching TV.

I realized that on Monday, today, after watching SNL, that there was no one at work that watched the show. It's a younger crowd where I work. Or I'm getting older. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm the oldest person in the building.

And it's not just some kind of culture gap where SNL is no longer cool. Many of the people at work don't watch TV at all. Obviously they play games, and probably more than the average person, but they also get their news from the Internet, and they watch TV series by buying whole seasons at a time on DVD.

Rick Lambright pointed out to me that for the cost of a single cable subscription with HBO, you can buy two whole seasons of a show on DVD. I mentioned this to some of colleagues at work and a couple of them said, "Yeah, duh, that's what we do." These, ah, "kids", have no cable subscription at all!

Holy moly.

And, as I mentioned some time ago, DVDs are trivial to share. Do you really care if your buddy borrows the whole box set after you've watched the first season of 24? And your other buddy and your other buddy and your other buddy? This is completely legal. Share these DVD sets with your friends, who are also buying and sharing DVD sets, and pretty soon the cost per season of a show is about $10.00. There are no commercials, the quality is better than just about anything (maybe even better than HD in terms of compression artifacts), and you can watch at your own rate.

As your library of DVD sets grows, your ability to trade with your friends grows, so there is the "fax machine" effect, where the more people that do this, the better it is for everyone.

I don't know how TV will survive. It will, of course, just as radio survives, but I think it will be in some different form than we know now. I guess eventually it will consist entirely of cheap-to-produce reality shows. Certainly the long format series is becoming an increasingly rare commodity - they are just too expensive to produce and there is too much risk the show won't "hit" right away.

Sure, Seinfeld was nursed along until it "hit", but the costs were also very low, and there were far fewer distractions like the Internet and games competing for TV viewer's attention.

The media business changes so fast now.

Holy moly.