The Wall St. Journal ran a fascinating look at the impact of the current media environment -- declining ad dollars and users (formerly known as viewers) fleeing to the Internet.
Check out "Local TV Stations Face a Fuzzy Future as Revenue Declines" by Sam Schechner and Rebecca Dana.
The TV/broadcast environment is changing, just as mainstream media everywhere is. One difference is that the business model for TV is the same as news on the web: it's been free, supported by advertising. So for users stuck in front of the laptops, why not just access TV shows online?
But that move is having a big impact local broadcasters. If you can get network shows online, why tune in with your TV?
The article suggests that some on-air networks will switch to cable because they can get a piece of the subscriber fees even during a drop in advertising. Since most of use already use cable boxes and since the rest will have to get digital converters, users may not feel much impact -- except to see their cable bills increase. Which is not a surprise.
Still, the impact on local market TV is that there won't be much local programing.
Check out the article; it's worth reading.