Why TV Just Won't Die

Those who predict the imminent death of TV might have to wait awhile. There's still a vast swath of land -- commonly known as "Middle America" -- where broadcast television works just fine, thanks.

New research suggests the people most likely to have an "Internet-connected digital living room" are relatively well-off families on the coasts, with household incomes of between $100,000 and $150,000. It's a fancy demographic, for sure, and it excludes much of the nation.

"These upper middle class households would ideally have children and be located in a metropolitan area on the East or West Coast," according to Multimedia Intelligence, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based market research firm.

The research group surveyed 25,000 people in both English- and Spanish-speaking households, and they found, contrary to popular belief, it wasn't the young, fabulous and tech-savvy who were most likely to digitally network their entertainment centers.

"Older households, those with a head of household age of 60 to 69, are among the fastest growing segments adopting data home networking. The number of US households in this category saw a compound annual growth rate of 29 percent between 2004 and 2007," according to Multimedia Intelligence.

Of course, Middle Americans are still free to turn to the web for their TV fix, but PCs and other portable devices are mostly unsatisfying for anything longer than 30 minutes. So, until most Americans have fully networked their living rooms, it's hard to imagine that broadcast television will evaporate or die any time soon.

We may be in the minority, though: In recent months, a number of industry watchers -- including TiVo CEO Tom Rogers and internet entrepreneur Marc Andreessen -- have predicted a tragic, newspaper-like fall for network television (or old media). The problem is four-fold: The internet is cannibalizing TV audiences; pirated cable TV shows are readily available online; increasing numbers of people fast forward through the commercials now (thanks to digital TV); and finally, and this may be debatable, but critics say the programming just sucks.

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[via wired]

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