For some unfathomable reason I've spent the evening watching Manchester United play Manchester City at football. I find most football boring, but this match, featuring some of the most overpaid 'entertainers' in history, was stultifying. It' unbelievable that the UK TV industry is built on the back of this boring ritual.
But it is. And it's a key component in the metrics of media, which only has a few parameters:
1) Size of audience - producers think they exist to 'tell great stories' or 'produce great programmes'. Bollocks. They exist to deliver audiences; they may be one step removed through broadcasters or distributors, but if their programmes don't delivery an audience, they're toast.
2) Value of audience - how well can a specific audience be monetised through subscriptions, pay per view and advertising (or gambling, eShopping, etc..).
3) Engagement - how involved are users with the content. Most viewers will go 'oww! Midsummer Murders, excellent, I'll watch that...' as long as it's free. But with Man U v. Man C there are people who will die if they miss the match. That's engagement. And it's the reason why ten football fans are more valuable than a thousand Midsummer Murders fans.
And this, dear reader, is what drives television and all of our media..