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Wii "Stealing" TV Viewership In Japan? - July 12, 2007

Submitted by Making_Waves (706) at 2:10PM PST on July 12, 2007

Hardcore gamers may feel underwhelmed at the announcement of games like Wii Fit... but the mainstream public (at least in Japan) is eating up everything Nintendo's serving. Interestingly, the phenomenon of Wii love is already starting to have some unusual economic side effects -- the most recent being a precipitous drop in the overall ratings (and revenue) enjoyed by Japanese television stations. According to a recent article over at the Times, enthusiasm for the Wii is starting to seriously adversely affect the bottom line of Japan's mainstream broadcast networks, especially in the economically-critical prime-time "golden hour". The article cites a senior executive at Fuji TV (Japan's largest commercial television channel), who accuses the Wii of 'stealing' families away from the normal network fare of Samurai dramas, wacky game shows, variety shows, etc. customarily broadcast during the summer months. As evidence, he points to the fact that last week was the first in nearly two decades where no single show on any commercial station attracted more than a 9 per cent audience share. "The quality of programming has always been a little cyclical in Japan", comments an executive at rival TV station TBS "but there has never been a period of decline like the one we are seeing now. There are outside factors at work. One is people watching TV on their cell phones where we can't track them, but the really big factor is the time people are spending on the Wii." Of course this begs the obvious question... what the heck are they playing for hours on end? Everybody votes? The Internet?

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