Get the Money

The numbers in this Fast Company article (via) are the same ones from that hideous USA Today article we linked to a few months ago.  None of them are the least bit encouraging for those of us who want to finally see Zombie Simpsons halted.  Here are the numbers (that aren’t as down for Zombie Simpsons as they appear):

The Simpsons finished the 1989-90 season at #28 in the Nielsen ratings, the first Fox show ever to break into the top 30.

Last season, it ranked 83rd.

Today the show averages 6.7 million viewers — although it’s the 7th most watched show on Hulu.

Last year, companies spent $314.8 million to advertise during Simpsons first-runs and prime-time repeats, down 16.8% from 2007.

Yes the ratings are down, that’s no secret, they’ve been going down steadily for years.  I’m not sure how one could differentiate whether those numbers are down because of the general decline in television viewership or because the show hasn’t been worth watching in a decade.  It’s some combination of both, although the fact that it was once ranked in the top 30 of network shows and is now in the 80s suggests that the decrease in quality has had a significant effect.  But $314.8 million just for first run and primetime reruns on FOX covers twenty $5,000,000 episodes three times over.*  Even if we give ourselves a big fudge factor (which we probably should because this data isn’t exactly straight from the horse’s mouth) there’s no way they aren’t still making enormous amounts of money just off the broadcast of the new episodes.  And that’s before you factor in three quarters of a billion dollars for merchandising. 

I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: the quality of the show has little to no effect on FOX’s bottom line. 

*The USA Today article said the $314.8 million was for local station repeats as well, I’m not sure which is true but I don’t think it changes the general conclusion.


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