As reported in Advertising Age‘s McKinsey Study Predicts Continuing Decline in TV Selling Power, teens are switching off TV and moving to other entertainment. While this trend threatens the status quo in media planning, it indicates that it’s time for a change for Big TV.

What do teens know that Big TV doesn’t? Teens want to live, not just watch. So they are moving toward video games. They aren’t moved by that old siren song: “Don’t touch that dial. Stay tuned. Don’t change the channel. Don’t change.” The kids I know like to change themeselves and the world around them.

Moreover, teens have dignity (surprise!) and aren’t eager to give it up…

Yet today’s popular programing is a race to the bottom of the food chain, where dignity is abandoned by both broadcaster and viewer. Eventually, TV will finish its climb to the bottom: constant attacks on the reputations of celebrities and the unknown alike, constant befouling of language, health and sex, and — possibly the worst of all — superficial analysis and fear-mongering masquerading as news.

Of course, we can all turn off our TVs, but — puhlease — you and I know that’s not going to happen. My home ejected broadcast and cable 12 years ago. Yet when I’m near a remote control (traveling, in a hotel), I know that we all crane our necks at the perverse, the vulgar, and the profane. Shoot, that’s entertainment!

Am I calling for censorship? No way. That’s the tool of despots.

But Big TV will live in the mud it stirs. And that mud might turn heads, but intelligent consumers — even those who are teenaged — are tiring of the mess.

TV needs the competition of other low-life entertainment like video games. Maybe that will inspire TV to return to its roots: connecting communities, providing useful news and information, teaching, and entertaining — hopefully with more nutritious fare.