4 Ways You're Accidentally Killing Your Favorite TV Shows

#2. AMC Wants to Be HBO (But Can't Afford It)

AMC has spent a lot of time and money making HBO-quality adult-oriented programming. Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead proved to be hits on a network that had previously been known for John Wayne movies and airing the Jaws sequels out of order. The problem is, those shows all have premium cable budgets, and while HBO and Netflix can afford to sink millions of dollars into Game of Thrones and House of Cards because of their subscription-based revenue model, AMC is still dependent on the "watch this episode the night it airs or else we're screwed" model that has torpedoed countless other equally popular but less expensive shows. Chasing the next Breaking Bad may end up being the meth-sculpted albatross that sinks them.

Leaving them enough cash for just one new show: Talking Talking Dead.

You see, making expensive shows is a huge gamble, with the potential to win big and lose just as massively. A few failed shows are all it takes to make the stock take a serious dump and throw the network into financial ruin. So when we stop watching The Walking Dead as much as we used to, or we don't bother tuning in to Halt and Catch Fire or The Turn at all (if you asked "What the hell are those shows?" you have proven this point exactly), AMC panics, because they can't afford to lose what they spent to make them. If none of their new season of shows takes off, AMC might be back to late-night airings of Revenge of the Nerds and Hackers by this time next year.

#1. We Refuse to Support Our Favorite Shows

One of the main reasons DVR took off was because it allowed us to watch our shows whenever we wanted and skip over all those annoying commercial breaks. That attitude continued when networks began putting their shows on the Internet, because if the current generation believes in one principle above anything else, it's that no one should ever have to pay for anything and all forms of entertainment should be funded by good will and charity. And that attitude is destroying the entertainment industry, your favorite TV shows included.

Michael Buckner-Rommel Demano/Getty Entertainment-/Getty
Stop trying to Kickstart a My So Called Life revival.

You see, young people disproportionately watch their television online, which represents a substantial cut in ad revenue compared to what a traditional broadcast generates. Between 80 and 85 percent of online ads are skipped when the viewer is given the option, so the advertisers who are willing to support Internet broadcasts will only pay a fraction of what they would to put an ad on television. That said, even if we hit "Skip This Ad" after the first five seconds, we are still watching part of the ad, which is worth something to the advertisers. What's really killing content is when we refuse to watch the ads at all.

Most Internet viewers use some kind of ad-blocking software, which completely circumvents advertising -- Adblock Plus alone has 60 million users. Since the current generation is also watching much more of their TV online, this means that a huge number of people who regularly watch a specific show are essentially refusing to support it. This is sort of like watching a trombone-playing circus bear juggle unicycles for an hour and then refusing to take 30 seconds to toss him a fish.

Which would have been a scene in Community Season 6, but now it won't, and it's YOUR fault.

One-third of those 60 million Adblock Plus users are people age 20 to 29, which you may notice are the exact same people that start Internet petitions and social media campaigns when their favorite shows are in danger of cancellation and write protracted blog posts lamenting the lack of quality content on television. Do you really want to see a sixth season of Community? Quit writing petitions and start watching some Lexus ads.

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