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Over at OTB, James has noted that TV watching just isn’t the same. He notes an AdAge article:

Just because your favorite dramas and comedies are back on the air after the writers strike doesn’t mean you’re necessarily watching them. A preliminary look at ratings of returning programs on the big broadcast networks reveals that the “majority of original programming has failed to return to its pre-strike levels among key demos,” according to Havas media-buying shop MPG. The firm found that audiences are “coming back to some of the shows, but not most of them,” said Nina Kanter, VP-director of communications analysis at MPG.


There are legitimate reasons for the ratings declines. Some shows have seen their competition alter as networks rearrange their schedules. CBS’s “NCIS” and “Criminal Minds” now face Fox’s “American Idol,” for instance. Because most networks put the bulk of their marketing spending into promos that run on their own air, it’s quite possible that TV audiences, turned off by repeats and strike-replacement programming, didn’t get those messages, according to MPG’s analysis.

Some returning shows are doing well. NBC’s “The Office” and “Scrubs” have demonstrated improved post-strike ratings, MPG said, though both have aired without regular competitor “Grey’s Anatomy” on the air. CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother” also posted ratings gains compared to its pre-strike performance, but the sitcom may also have benefited from a guest appearance by singer Britney Spears.

Says James:

It may just be that the traditional model has been overtaken by events, with the strike-forced hiatus helping push trends along.

I suppose it to go far deeper than this. The way we were watching TV was a habit. if viewers are not rushing back to their sets then perhaps the shows they were watching were successful not because they were GOOD, particularly, anymore, but because it was an ingrained habit. A habit which got broken for them by the strike. People have found other ways to spend their time.

Look, let’s be honest; Commercial TV, particularly the big three, have been coasting for a long while, and so too have the writers of the shows that they transmit. When the people paying the newly inflated writers fees look at all of this, one wonders if they’ll consider that they made a bad bargain in the agreement with the writer’s unions.

But is there something deeper, going on here? I think so, … something as regards unions… and it’s something we’d better figure out quickly.

Certainly, the union movement as a whole didn’t do itself any favors with this writer’s strike. It is they, and not the entertainment companies that got the blame for TV shows going missing for an extended period. They’re not exactly winning the popularity contest. There’s a lot of viewer resentment, directed at the Unions and their members. It’s a major reason for the drop-off in veiwers.

So what did demands for more money gain the writers? Viewership has dropped in dramatic fashion. Their audience has been cut by half, and much of what is left is annoyed with them. So what they’re getting, now is a bigger percentage of a far smaller pie. A pie which is not likely to start growing, again, given the number of customers….(read that, viewers) they’ve succeeded in alienating. Where did the viewers go? These people simply found other ways to spend their time, once the Unions were successful in ruining the gravy train that modern Television shows have become.

Here’s the basic that most unions won’t bother even thinking about, much less telling you:

Unions are based on the idea that there is no such thing as competition. That, for example, if the prices go up at American car makers, that the car buyer won’t have any choices to avoid those higher costs. Now, you’d think they’d have learned the lesson from the Japanese. But, no; they keep playing this like they’re the only game in town.. and they invariably feign shock when people walk across the street to deal with Honda, or whoever. Indeed, the little secret to the success of Japan, Korea, and so on, is directly attributable to the American Auto unions. The unions drove American car buyers directly to the waiting arms of the Japanese, the Germans, the Koreans, and whoever else, and have bankrupted the American companies they’ve been claiming to be in partnership with, costing many

In much the same way, the writer’s unions have been successful at burning down the television industry. Disaffected customers simply take their time elsewhere.

And so it goes… Every single place where unions come into the picture, the ultimate failure of the business is an eventuality.

Name any major league sport you’d care to. Tell me, for example how the average family of four can afford to pay for the tickets to go to an NFL game. Why are they so expensive? Unions. Many teams are being pushed to the very edge of moving, because of salary demands from the Unions. They will cease to exist.

The one industry… and I hesitate to use the word in this context… which isn’t failing as a result of Union involvement… the one bright spot for Unions… the one place where membership isn’t falling off, and the one place they’re getting what they consider to be proper recognition… is Government. Then again, government is the one place where competition isn’t allowed. Still, the added costs that unions invoke, are always there. No biggie, of course… in the case of government, it’s simplicity itself to raise taxes to cover these added costs. (No wonder the Democrats are in the pockets of the Unions!)

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