For the second time in my life, I’m a Nielsen family. I’ve been asked to keep a diary for a week of all the shows I watch on television to help determine shows’ ratings.
The problem is that I don’t watch TV anymore.
My family used to watch it, first over the air and then with a satellite service. Out where we live, we don’t have the option of cable. Even if we did, we would probably get it for internet service only.
We gave up our satellite service a few years ago when money was tight and something had to come out of the budget.
Our provider offered us a lot of packages, but we watched maybe four channels consistently. After a couple of our favorite programs ended and after we lost interest in a few others, we had to ask if it was worth it to pay for 60 or more channels when we watched only a fraction of them.
Now if there’s something we want to watch, we can catch recaps on YouTube or watch it directly on a streaming service. Most of the good stuff — what little of it there is — is streamed anyway. Or we can binge watch an entire season if we wish.
Apparently other people feel the same way. When was the last time we heard people discussing the latest episode of a show? Not counting “The Mandalorian,” it’s been a while. It’s not like there’s a “Game of Thrones” or an early-series episode of “The Walking Dead” or “Breaking Bad,” where people tried talking about them in person or online without giving away spoilers. Notice those were cable series, not broadcast series.
The series that people do talk about now seem to be on the streaming services. “The Queen’s Gambit” is the latest example.
The past few years I’ve watched the Super Bowl on the network feed over the internet. Other than that, I’ve been able to live without live sports events. If the Reds ever win a postseason game again (losing streak stands at six), I might find a workaround, but really, I don’t miss it.
Going back to “The Mandalorian,” notice that Disney put the program on its streaming service, not on its broadcast network (ABC). Part of that could be the fact each season has been only eight episodes. Part could be that a streaming service gives the producers more leeway allowing each episode’s length to be dictated by the story and not limited by broadcast time constraints. Streaming is also more convenient for the viewer in several ways.
Or it could be that there’s more money in Disney Plus than there is in ABC or the Disney cable channels.
I’m not the kind of person the networks sell to their advertisers, anyway. I’m too old and too set in my ways. Most of what’s on broadcast television is what I’ve seen before.
And when you think about it, the internet in its various platforms has given us the opportunity to be content creators, not just content consumers.
So I’ll let my Nielsen diary sit a week before it goes back to the processing center in Florida. I’ll include a note saying why it’s blank. And we’ll see if anyone in network television contacts me to ask what they can do to get me back.
But I doubt it.