Television: Back to the Future

TV keeps changing, and viewers have more alternatives than ever. Yet television-viewing behaviour continues to follow some law-like patterns that have remained in place over the past 40 years.

Television: Back to the Future

Byron Sharp, Virginia Beal and Martin CollinsEhrenberg-Bass Institute, University of South Australia


What scientific knowledge do we have about TV?

We review how well certain empirical generalizations (EGs) have held up over 40 years and use this knowledge to construct an empirically grounded opinion on the future of TV advertising, encompassing:

  • Is there program, and/or channel loyalty?

  • Do genre specific channels attract segmented audiences?

  • Why have ratings dropped?

  • Why is TV advertising more expensive?

  • Will DVRs destroy the advertising model?

To start, we look at the three distinct eras...

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