The Rise of Streaming and the Decline of Traditional TV: A Look at the Shrinking Audience for Conventional Broadcasts and Cable Networks


Jon Stewart Makes a Comeback to a Smaller and Older TV Audience

Since the last time I watched “The Daily Show,” significant changes have taken place. The same thing that happened to “The Daily Show” has also affected traditional TV as a whole. Multiple generations have stopped paying for TV, opting instead to spend their time with streamers such as Netflix, YouTube, and TikTok.

As a result, the remaining audience for conventional TV is shrinking and getting older. Nielsen charts show the decline in prime-time TV viewership, an aging demographic, and a decline in late-night TV viewership. In 2015, conventional TV attracted 103 million people a night, but that number has now dropped to 57 million, with the median age of viewers increasing from 51 to 62.

Prime-time TV has experienced a significant loss in average viewership across broadcast and cable networks since 2015, particularly among younger adult viewers. The same trend is reflected in late-night TV, where Jon Stewart is making his comeback.

These statistics may not be shocking if one takes them into account; however, they are still surprising when presented in this manner. It remains to be seen how the changes in viewer demographics will impact Stewart and his fan base.

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