Television channel operators in Japan have begun to blame the Wii for stealing prime time television audiences in the country, according to a recent article in The Times
The article cites an unnamed senior executive at Fuji TV, the nation's largest commercial channel, as blaming the popularity of the Wii for a down turn in audience figures during the early evening "golden hour" time slot.
Recent viewing figures in Japan show that for the first time in almost two decades, no single program on any station gained an audience share in double figures. Only major sports events such as the Olympic Games, soccer World Cup and Japanese baseball season finale are now expected to pull in significantly larger audiences.
"The quality of programming has always been a little cyclical in Japan, 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," quotes the Times of an unnamed TBS channel executive.
The ability of the Wii to appeal to parents and other non-traditional gamers is suggested as the primary reason for the switch off from traditional television programming. The Wii has so far proven by far the most successful next generation console in Japan, outselling its nearest rival
, the PlayStation 3, by a factor of 6:1 last month.