People are watching less regular TV these days. That does not necessarily mean that they are seeking any less visual content. Online services and recording technologies have simply given consumers more choice in what they watch and how they watch.
Part of the trend relates to regular ad-supported TV programming. With diminishing viewers come diminishing returns on investment. Therefore, fewer sponsors are interested.
Simultaneously, big data is enabling advertisers to focus their ads with greater precision toward expected regular TV audiences. While this might seem the perfect solution to the problem, I don’t think it is sustainable. I like the way Ian Schafer (founder of digital marketing agency, Deep Focus) summarizes the situation (Felix Gillette and Lucas Shaw, “Why No One Wants Their MTV” Bloomberg Businessweek, 7/6/15–7/12/15, pp. 47–51):
“‘No matter how well you match up advertising to programming, there are going to be more and more people trying to avoid it.’” (p. 51)
I don’t think that the crowd is just thinning. It might just disappear.