While it’s obvious why the numbers would be low (the US holiday, the excellent weather, summer reruns), the fact that records are being set shows that network TV is gradually losing its hold on popular culture. While the free networks face challenges from newer forms of media like video games, the Internet, and MP3 players, they’re also competing against other ways of watching video content. Consumers can now watch TV on cable, satellite, FiOS, IPTV, and the Internet, all of which offer far more options than the over-the-air networks.
The networks are attempting to stay relevant to advertisers by changing the way they sell ads. They’re stepping up their use of product placements and other forms of advertising that are less likely to send consumers reaching for the remote. Placement also helps to guarantee that commercials aren’t being skipped by DVR users.