Sunday, March 3, 2024

TV Industry Shock: Main Publisher of Daily Ratings Shutting Down as Networks Refuse to Share Numbers or Give Transparency

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For the last few years, two guy snamed Mitch — Salem and Metcalfe — have been republishing the TV ratings for broadcast and cable on a daily basis. His work has been invaluable to journalists. His site is called Showbuzzdaily.com

But more and more the networks don’t want these numbers known. Ratings for regular TV and even cable have shrunk tremendously. The networks are depending on streaming, and give no numbers.

Two months ago, TV syndicators stopped publishing their numbers for shows like “Dr, Phil” and “Live with Kelly and whoever” as well as “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune.” With the writers strike, and shows in rerun, the syndicators didn’t want their numbers made public because they are terrible.

Now the Mitch’s have announced his site is closing. The networks won’t give him data. He had this problem a couple of years but negotiated a way out of it. This time, it’s over. Their statement is below.

I have to thank the Mitch’s, who I’ve never met, for the yeoman service. Their work gave a transparency to the business. Without it, journalism will be harder. But we will manage to go on.

Thanks, Mitch’s.

Statement:

Sadly, we have to announce that after this week, we will no longer be able to provide TV ratings to readers, and thus that ShowbuzzDaily will be effectively be ending its operations.  To be clear, unlike other interruptions that we’ve had, this isn’t due to a technical issue that can be fixed.  It’s also not related to revenue (or lack thereof).  Without going into details, we’re simply not going to be in a position to continue providing data.

Although we didn’t plan this, there’s a sense in which our departure coincides with an inflection point in the entire TV industry.  As everyone is aware, the bottom has dropped out of linear viewership, and the ratings have had increasingly less utility.  (Last Thursday’s cable ratings in the 18-49 demo included 25 shows clustered between 0.09-0.12, basically molecules of difference.)  The balance of home viewing, for better or worse, has swung toward streaming, and the proprietors of those companies have chosen to be opaque with their information, providing data that’s incomplete and unverified when it’s available at all.  That very lack of transparency is one of the key issues in the ongoing Writers Guild strike.  Meanwhile, scrutiny of linear numbers is becoming a preoccupation akin to documenting angels on the head of a pin.

Nevertheless, we’ll miss that analysis, and we’ll miss you.  (Well, maybe not the wrestling trolls, but everyone else.)  Your goodwill, enthusiasm and interest have kept this site going, and we hope you maintain your passion for television as an art and a business.

A few final housekeeping points.  The site may stay up for a bit following our official close (we might even post some box office pieces), but eventually it will vanish.  We know that some of you may want to inquire whether we can provide you with copies of data from the site in Excel or other formats, and we’re afraid that isn’t going to be possible.

We’ll still be around for the next few days, and we hope you’ll be too.  It’s been fun, but as all TV fans know, even the best series (with the possible exception of SNL, which appears to be immortal) must eventually come to an end.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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