SCHEDULING STRATEGIES

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LEAD-OFF. BEGINNING THE EVENING WITH AN ESPECIALLY STRONG PROGRAM.NETWORKS ROUTINELY MOVE POPULAR ESTABLISHED SHOWS TO THE 8PM SLOT. LEAD-IN. PLACES A STRONG SHOW AHEAD OF A WEAKER (OR NEW) SHOW TO GIVE IT A JUMP START. HAMMOCKING. PLACING A WEAKER SHOW BETWEEN TWO STRONGER SHOWS. BLOCKING.

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SCHEDULING STRATEGIES

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1. SCHEDULING STRATEGIES LEAD-OFF BRIDGING LEAD-IN COUNTER- HAMMOCKING PROGRAMMING BLOCKING BLUNTING TENT-POLING STUNTING SEAMLESSNESS

2. LEAD-OFF BEGINNING THE EVENING WITH AN ESPECIALLY STRONG PROGRAM. NETWORKS ROUTINELY MOVE POPULAR ESTABLISHED SHOWS TO THE 8PM SLOT

3. LEAD-IN PLACES A STRONG SHOW AHEAD OF A WEAKER (OR NEW) SHOW TO GIVE IT A JUMP START

4. HAMMOCKING PLACING A WEAKER SHOW BETWEEN TWO STRONGER SHOWS

5. BLOCKING PLACING A NEW PROGRAM WITHIN A SET OF SIMILAR DRAMAS, SITCOMS, OR OTHER GENRES TO BUILD A ‘BLOCK’ OF PROGRAMMING APPEALING TO THE SAME AUDIENCE

6. TENT-POLING Used when one strong show is available and is surrounded by weak shows. The strong show is placed in the center of the time period in hopes that it will increase the ratings of the lead-in and lead-out shows. When two strong shows are available, the strategy of hammocking would be used.

7. BRIDGING STARTING AND ENDING PROGRAMS AT ODD TIMES, THUS CAUSING THEM TO RUN PAST THE STARTING AND STOPPING POINTS ON OTHER NETWORKS

8. COUNTERPROGRAMMING OFFERING SOMETHING OF COMPLETELY DIFFERENT APPEAL THAN THE OTHER SHOWS. DONE ON THE BASIS OF GENRE AND DEMOGRAPHICS

9. BLUNTING MATCH THE COMPETITION BY SCHEDULING A SHOW WITH IDENTICAL APPEAL. IF TWO NETWORKS ARE ALREADY BLUNTING EACH OTHER, A THIRD NETWORK WILL USUALLY SUCCEED BY COUNTERPROGRAMMING

10. STUNTING SCHEDULING SPECIALS, ADDDING GUEST STARS, HAVING UNUSUAL SERIES PROMOTIONS, SHIFTING HALF HOUR SERIES TO LONG FORM.

11. SEAMLESSNESS RUNNING THE END OF ONE PROGRAM RIGHT UP AGAINST THE START OF THE NEXT SHOW. TS GOAL IS TO KEEP VIEWERS WATCHING

12. PRIME TIME ! TV’S LARGEST AUDIENCE 60 HUT LEVEL 8-11pm ET

13. 7,600 HOURS ANNUALLY MON - SAT 8-11PM ET SUN 7-11PM ET

14. Prime Time Ratings = Network’s Image/Viability Low Prime Ratings $50,000 per 30 Sec Spot WB, UPN High Prime Ratings $600,000 per 30 Sec Spt NBC ABC CBS FOX

15. Who do Advertisers Want to Reach? WOMEN 18-34 MEN 18-34 MEN 18-49 WOMEN 18-49

16. YOUNG FEMALE EMPHASIS 1970 “ All prime time programs should be aimed at young females. They control most consumer purchasing and succumb more easily to television spots” 2000 Prime demo women 18-49 followed by men 18-49 Advertisers pay prime rates for young audiences and “edgier” programs.

17. CHANGES IN PRIME TIME AUDIENCES 1970 - 2000 Homes have a TV set for each family member. Decline of the family Scores of cable channels competing Audiences are deeply divided by age, gender and ethnicity. Advertisers press the networks to pursue thin slices of the audience. 18-49 viewers most in demand.

18. RESULTS OF HEAVY 18-34 PROGRAM TARGETING Excessive emphasis on young demo- graphics led to an erosion of broadcast audiences. “Copycat”programming led to a sameness in shows that further narrowed network ratings. Fox, WB, and UPN targeted young males ignored by other broadcast networks

19. “LEAST OBJECTIONABLE PROGRAM” Theory VIEWERS FIRST DECIDE TO WATCH TELEVISION. THEN THEY WATCH THE LEAST OBJECTIONABLE PROGRAM Still works in video store movie selection THEORY ASSUMES A LIMITED NUMBER OF PROGRAM OPTIONS

20. AUDIENCE FLOW Network strategies are directed at capturing and holding the largest adult audience. 4 out of every 10 of a lead-in show’s rating points will flow to next the program

21. NETWORK SEASONS Stations demand best shows during sweeps

22. SHOW LIFETIME: 5 YEARS ? Shorter attention span of viewers Syndicating series while still on network Scarcity and high cost of writer/producers High cost of renewal

23. WHICH SHOW GETS CANCELED? Based on network profit Revenue - Cost = Profit Revenue directly related to ratings Bottom 1/3 canceled - Top 1/3 stay Acceptable audience share 1980: 20 rating, 30 share 2000: 10 rating, 15 share

24. WHICH SHOW GETS RETAINED ? MOST LIKELY TO BE RETAINED New situation comedies Reality-based series Shows with lower costs Shows with target demographics

25. HOW IMPORTANT IS TIME SLOT? Over 1/2 of series moved to a new time slot do not improve the ratings of that slot. 85% placed in low-rated time slot do not improve ratings. 33% get lower ratings than previous show Nets “decide quickly” and “cancel fast”

26. PROGRAM COSTS Escalated wildly in 80’s - 90’s Crime dramas (most expensive) replaced by reality and newsmags. Most expensive (science fiction/western) totally disappeared. By 1995, sitcoms/reality were 60% of shows. Cost of “Malcom in Middle” $1.2 million per episode.

27. MAJOR SHOW GENRES SITCOMS “Friends” “Dharma & Greg” “Drew Carey” CRIME DRAMAS “E.R”. “Sopranos” REALITY “Survivor” NEWS MAGAZINE “60 Minutes” “Dateline NBC” THEATRICAL MOVIES MADE-FOR-TV MOVIES SPECIALS & SPORTS

28. Most “new” US Shows Are Patterned After Long Forgotten or Foreign Shows Net Program Sources Produce their own Buy from other studios Warner Brothers Fox Paramount Disney Top Independent studios have the most experience, top writers, clout with stars Steven Bochko Witt-Thomas Carsey-Werner

29. THE NETWORK BOTTOM LINE Play it safe - take few risks Resist trailblazing shows unless you have nothing to lose. Benefits from shows like “Survivor”.and Millionaire are BIG.

30. THE ‘STEP’ DEAL 600 Scripts chosen for development at network expense. Net and Producer do “step deal” contract payments to producer/ control project to net Net gets first refusal right. Producer can’t offer to others until net turndown script written to make first cut

31. HOW NETS BUY $HOW$ New shows: 6-10 episodes May order another 10+ episodes, with each episode running twice, # Episodes declined from 40 in 1960 to 22 Highest-rated episodes repeated out of ratings (Dec/Jan/March/April). Weaker in June/July/Aug) “cancelable at any time”

32. EACH NETWORK ORDERS 30-40 PILOTS TO FILL 12-20 ANTICIPATED GAPS IN SCHEDULE @ $1 - $3 MILLION per show

33. 100 PILOTS SHOT FOR 40-60 OPEN PROGRAM SLOTS Many pilots are done as “made for TV” movies to recoup pilot investment

34. BASIS FOR SELECTING SCRIPT FOR PILOT Resemblance between pilot and shows that worked in the past. Projected ability of show to deliver target demos. Current viewer tastes as shown by ratings cost of pilot Appeal of series stars

35. BASIS FOR SELECTING SCRIPT Types of competing shows on night when show might be scheduled. Availability of appropriate time period. Reputation of writers and producer Compatibility of pilot with lead-in/lead- out Cost: From $500,000 to $1.5 million per half hour.

36. Promotion as a scheduling strategy How do viewers find new shows on TV?

37. How do you most often find out about new TV series?

38. “Jumping the Shark” When producers of a show make a bad decision that starts a downturn in the show’s ratings

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