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TV Bounces Back -- For a Few Months

High fives all around, TV Industrial Complex!

Herbert Kratky /
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Everyone on the Web knows that TV is going away. It’s so obvious that we don’t even talk about it anymore, which gives us more time to talk about “Game of Thrones,” or Letterman/Colbert, or “Mad Men.”

But as TV heads for the exit (OMG Joffrey!) it still has the ability to surprise.

For instance, it turns out that primetime TV ratings grew — by about 4 percent — during the first three months of 2014. Analyst Michael Nathanson says that’s TV’s best performance since the last quarter of 2007. And it’s the first time TV has grown, period, in more than a year.

High fives all around, TV Industrial Complex! But don’t keep your hands up for too long: Nathanson attributes the boomlet to a confluence of big live events in the beginning of the year — the Sochi Olympics, the Oscars, NFL playoffs and the NCAA tournament — plus an insane winter that kept everyone locked up in their houses, huddling around the plasma for warmth. Can’t count on that every quarter.

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