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RTV 3007. Programming. Filling the Program Schedule. Purposes of Programs. Attract largest audience with best demographics Balanced schedule for sales department Satisfy public interest requirements Develop favorable image. Where Stations get their Programs. Local Production.

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RTV 3007

Programming


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Filling the

Program Schedule


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Purposes of Programs

  • Attract largest audience with best demographics

  • Balanced schedule for sales department

  • Satisfy public interest requirements

  • Develop favorable image



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Where Stations get their Programs

  • Network(s)

    • Full Service

    • Regional

    • Ad hoc/Occasional




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Where Stations get their Programs

  • Syndicated Programming




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Program Sources: Where Networks Get Their Programs

Production Community (Hollywood)

Network Production

Co-productions


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Broadcast Network Program Process

  • Development of Program Proposals

    • Treatment (one minute synopsis of show)

  • Promising ideas into scripts

    • Often Includes Step Deal & first refusal rights

  • Production of some scripts into pilots

  • Testing and evaluation leads to contract for limited number of episodes


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Network Program Process

  • Networks announce next season’ s lineup of new shows in Spring (May)

  • Networks reserve some new shows for Fall lineup (Sept.) and some for the second season (Jan-Feb) to replace shows that don’t make it

  • 9 out of 10 new programs that make the air fail because of poor ratings


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Network Program Process

Some “hot” producers are given development deals for a number of programs over a period of time


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The Changing Production Environment

Changes in Program Ownership Rules

Vertical

Integration



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Program Costs

Average per-episode fee paid by commercial networks for television series (2000)

  • 30-minute sitcom $925,000

  • 1-hour drama $1,450,000

  • 1 hour Newsmagazine $750,000

  • 1 hour Reality $650,000

  • Made-for-TV-Movie (90-120 minutes) $2,850,000


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Program Costs

Average per-episode fee paid by commercial networks for television series (2004)

  • 30-minute sitcom $1,125,000

  • 1-hour drama $1,675,000

  • 1 hour Newsmagazine $840,000

  • 1 hour Reality $795,000

  • Made-for-TV-Movie (90-120 minutes) $3,150,000


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Program Costs

Costs keep rising:

Average per-episode fee paid by commercial networks for television series (2006)

30 minute Situation Comedy $1,600,000

60 minute Drama $2,800,000

Reality $1,500,000


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Program Costs

Per-episode fee paid by commercial networks for specific television series (2006)

ER $13,000,000


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Program Costs

Average 2002-03 per-episode fee that NBC paid WB (producer) for 30 minute situation comedy, “Friends”…

$10,000,000


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Program Costs

Average per-episode cost to produce “Friends” in 2002-03 …

$10, 500,000

Deficit….$500,000 per episode


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Final season of Friends (2002-03)

  • Each Friends cast member received $1 million per episode ($22 million for the season)

  • Friends cast members also get a cut in syndication profits

  • Deficit well over $500,000 per episode for last Friends season

  • Advertising rate for 30-second network spot during Friends $450,000


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Program Costs

In most cases the cost of producing a program is higher than what the network will pay


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Program Costs

This is called “The Deficit”


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Program Costs

Examples of other large deficits (2000)… 

Frasier $400,000

Law and Order $420,000


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Program Costs

But….

ER per episode license fee $13,000,000—”in profit”

NYPD Blue, Spin City, X-files had production costs paid for while still on network run


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Why take a deficit to produce a broadcast network program?

  • May make millions with a “hit” in off-network Syndication, especially a long-running series

  • Example: Superstation TBS pays approximately $1 million per episode (plus one minute of ad space) for a four-year run of Seinfeld


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Programming Strategies


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Programming Strategies

  • Goal: Maximizing Audience Flow

Flow: The audience attracted to a

program will watch other programs

before and after it


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Friends NBC Thur

West Wing NBC Wed

ER NBC Thur

Law & Order NBC Wed

Raymond CBS Mon

CSI CBS Thurs

Survivor CBS Thurs

Will/Grace NBC Thur

L/O: SVU NBC Wed

Becker CBS Mon

Just Shoot Me NBC Thur

60 Mins CBS Sun

JAG CBS Tue

MNF ABC Mon

Judging Amy CBS Tue

Practice ABC Sun

Frasier NBC Tues

The Guardian CBS Tue

NFL Showcase ABC Mon

L/O Criminal Intent NBC Sun

Flow: Oct 2001 Prime Time Ratings


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Program Strategies

  • Strip: Presented at the same time each day of the week

    • Builds viewer loyalty

    • Builds viewer habit


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Program Strategies

  • Block : Programs similar in appeal follow one another


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Program Strategies

  • Strong Lead-in: Major program

    at start of day-part


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Program Strategies

  • Checkerboarding: Different programs each day in a time slot


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Program Strategies

  • Hammock: Putting a weak or unproven program between two successful ones


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Program Strategies

  • Front-loading: Major episode, feature film, early in season

  • Cross-over:Character from one program appears on other program

  • Spin-off: Taking popular characters from one show and give them their own show


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Program Strategies

  • Seamless Programming : One program ends and the next begins without interruption

  • Repurposing: Re-run of broadcast content on a cable network shortly after it airs originally on network affiliate stations.


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Program Strategies

Disrupting Audience Flow


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Disrupting Audience Flow

  • Counterprogramming: Seeking audiences not being served by other programs in a time period

    • By Genre

    • By Demographic Niche

    • By Program Launch Date


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Disrupting Audience Flow

Stunting: Moving programs around the schedule, extra-long programs, etc.



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Syndicated Programming

Programs sold directly to stations rather than distributed by network

  • Film Packages

  • Off-network

  • First-run


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Off-Network Syndication

Episodes of programs formerly “licensed” to one of the major networks--now leased (in reruns) to individual stations or cable networks





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Off-Network Syndication

  • Vital importance to rights-holder: makes $$$ again & again & again....

“Friends” will earn over $1 billion in syndication


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Off-Network Syndication

  • Vital importance to rights-holder: makes $$$ again & again & again....

    A & E paid $155,000 per episode for Law & Order

    TNT will pay $250,000 per episode for those…and $800,000 for episodes not shown on A & E


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Off-Network Syndication

  • Must have sufficient episodes

    (75-100) for strip

  • Syndication can begin before network run is ended


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Fin/Syn Rules 1970-1995

  • No Syndication Allowed

  • Limited Financial Stake in programs


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Fin/Syn Rules 1970-1995

  • Why Fin/Syn?

    • Increase Competition

    • Prevent Network Monopoly

  • Elimination of Fin/Syn: Cable and Fox Competition




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Consequences of Eliminating Fin/Syn?

Fox halts sale of Buffy to WB Network and sells it to UPN

(reason Fox TV was acquiring 10 UPN affiliated- stations)


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Consequences of Eliminating Fin/Syn?

Networks are taking more of a financial interest and partnership in co-productions (e.g. Will & Grace)


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Programming Syndicated Shows

  • Does Network Success=Syndication Success?

  • Network Schedule?

  • Market Characteristics

  • Timeliness of Theme


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Programming Syndicated Shows

  • Program Freshness

  • Your Schedule Holes

  • Competitors Schedule


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First-Run Syndication

  • Shows produced for syndication that air on local stations

  • Strips/Weeklies/Specials

  • Usually lower production values than nets

  • Like nets--pilots produced and then to market


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Paying for Syndicated Programs

  • Cash

  • Barter:Syndicator keeps some or all of the commercial time (NOT the same as Trade Out)

  • Cash/Barter


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BarterSyndication

  • Pro-barter argument:

    • Lowers cost of programs to station

  • Anti-barter arguments:

    • Station loses control of commercial inventory

    • Dilutes spot market


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Why Programs are Cancelled

Low Ratings

Wrong Demographics

Declining Ratings


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Why Programs are Cancelled

Loss of Ratings from lead-in or to following program

Increased Costs

Worn-out casts or creative people


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Examples of Off-Network & First Run Programming

Visit the following websites

  • Warner Brothers

  • Universal

  • Paramount (see tape)

  • King World

  • Not CBS


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Judge Judy

Judge Joe Brown

Life Moments

Hot Ticket

Real TV

Maximum Exposure

Montel

Renez-View

Relic Hunter

Entertainment Tonight**

Paramount Sales Tape 2002: First-run syndicated shows


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Frasier

Becker

Moesha

Sabrina Teenage Witch

Sister Sister

Parkers

Spin City

Charmed

Star Trek Voyager

7th Heaven

Paramount Sales Tape 2002: Off-network syndicated shows

All Reruns of previous broadcast network shows


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Trends: Primetime Network Series & Video on Demand

  • Primetime broadcast network shows available for downloads (iPod) and Video on Demand to Cable, DBS & Cellphones

  • Some shows have had regular ratings boosted by video iPod sales (e.g. The Office) especially among younger viewers

    • 15 percent of 18-24 year olds have downloaded TV program

  • Warner Bros. offering old reruns on In2TV


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Trends: Emergence of Reality Television

  • Attractiveness for networks compared to other genres of programs

    • Hits garner high-ratings, advertising rates

      • American idol $620,000 30-second spot/30 million viewers

  • Costs in comparison to other types of primetime programming

    • Repeat ratings lower than other types of dramas or comedies

    • Production costs have risen as some on-location shows get more complex (e.g. Amazing Race)

    • However most reality shows cheap to produce --- avg. $1.5 million per episode (2006)

  • Huge outgrowth of reality shows on cable nets


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Trends: Serials as another emerging Format

  • Shows like Lost captivate audience from week-to-week

  • Attractiveness for primetime network ratings

  • Costs in comparison to other types of programs

    • Compare number of scenes in a drama (50) to a show like Prison Break (88)

    • Pilot for Lost cost more than $10 million to produce

    • Ensemble casts more expensive

    • Repeat ratings lower than other types of dramas or comedies


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