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TV’s ad dollars aren’t going away but TV’s viewers are

The biggest shows on TV aren’t what they used to be. But TV ad buyers don’t seem to care.


The TV business just completed its annual “upfront” week, where the big networks advertise their shows to advertisers. As always, this involved glitzy presentations and lots of booze.

One new twist this year: The networks took time to denigrate Facebook, Google and the rest of the digital advertising world.

Those guys have real problems, but they pale compare to TV’s real problem: Its audience is melting away, year by year.

If you’re reading this, you know this. But sometimes it helps to put things in perspective.

So here you go: Here’s a list of TV’s top 10 shows in 2000, and a list of TV’s top shows last year. Can you see the difference?

Which brings us to another ritual: TV ad buyers explaining why they’re going to spend more money than ever on TV, even though they know its audience is going away. This year advertisers are expected to spend more than $72 billion on TV, up from $71 billion and change last year.

That’s going to change, eventually. But not quite yet.

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