TV Programming • American viewing habits have changed rapidly over the last two decades. • Americans have more programming choices. Average American receives 74 channels but only watches 15-17. • Americans have more “entertainment” choices. • Americans can determine when, where and how they watch their favorite programs.
TV Programming • The primary goal of broadcast networks, local stations and basic cable networks is to maximize the size of an audience targeted by advertisers. • The primary goal of specialty cable networks is to attract the most viewers possible from its target audience to entice advertisers with looking for those demographics. • The primary goal of a public television station is to provide alternative, educational and/ or informative programming.
TV Programming We’re going to look at programming from several angles: • What kinds of programs are available? • Where do those programs originate? • Who pays for those programs? • Who makes money off those programs?
A Programmer’s Task • Choose programs that meet the needs and wants of an audience. • Negotiate the development or “rights” to a program. • Organize those programs into a cohesive schedule that flows from one program to the next. • Market the programs to the appropriate audience. • Convince advertisers the programs will reach their consumers.
TV “Dayparts” • 7-9 a.m. Early Morning • 9-Noon Morning • Noon-3 p.m. Early Fringe • 3-5 p.m. Fringe • 5-6 p.m. Late Fringe • 6-8 p.m. Access • 8-11 p.m. Primetime • 11-1 a.m. Late Night • 1 a.m.-7 a.m. Overnight
Television : Various Categories • Children’s Programming • Sesame Street, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, Barney and Friends, The Magic School Bus • Dramatic Series • E.R., Law & Order, C.S.I., Hawaii Five-0 • Educational and Informational Television • Discovery Channel, History Channel, Documentary, Biography, etc. • Reality Television • Apprentice, America’s Top Model, Survivor, Fear Factor, The Bachelor, Amazing Race
Science Fiction • Star Trek, The X-Files, Twilight Zone, Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Doctor Who • Situation Comedies (Sitcoms) • Sienfeld, The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, Mike and Molly, How I Met Your Mother • Soap Operas • Melrose Place, General Hospital, One Life to Live, Days of Our Lives
Entertainment Series / Programs / Specials • E-Talk Daily, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, The Grammy Awards, The Much Music Video Awards. • Game Shows • The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionare? • Talk Shows • Live with Kelly, The View, Ellen, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Jerry Springer
Programming Genres • Animation • Children’s Programming • Movies (Made-for-TV, Theatrical) • Mini-Series • Specials • News • Sports
Where Does Network Television Programming Come From? • Broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB, UPN) buy many of their programs from studios(some of which now own broadcast or cable networks) or independent producers or produce the programs themselves.
Where Do Cable Programs Come From? • Cable networks often create and produce their own programming. • Or buy programming from program syndicators. • Or buy programming from independent program producers or production houses. • Many cable networks are owned by large media corporations who are in the primary business of creating programming. Developing a cable channel gives them an outlet for their product.
Programming Costs • Television programming is expensive to produce. • “ER” cost NBC $2 million an episode when it debuted. It cost over $13 million as it neared it’s final season. An episode of “Survivor” costs $695,000. • An average night of primetime programming costs between $3 and $5 million. Programming costs account for more than half of a network’s total expenses.
Local TV Programming • Local television stations air programs they receive from the network with which they are affiliated. This usually accounts for 75 percent of their schedule. • They fill non-network time periods with local programs (usually news and sports) and programs they purchase from outside sources (syndicators)
Syndicated TV Programming • Syndicated programming is sold by distribution companies to local broadcast stations and cable networks. • First-run programming refers to programs produced primarily for sale to individual stations (for example, Oprah, Dr. Phil, Live, Wheel of Fortune, ET,Ellen, etc.).
Syndicated TV Programming • Off-network programming refers to programs that have previously aired on a broadcast network (for example: Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, ER) • Syndicated prices are based on market size. Stations also negotiate the number of “runs,” per title. • First-run programs are priced on an annual or multiple-year contract.
Syndicated TV Programming • Off-network is based on a per-episode fee. Everybody Loves Raymond is priced at $8,000 an episode. There are 200 episodes. Cost to the station is $$1,600,000, but station is obligated to take any additional episodes produced for the network at a 10 percent annual increase.
Syndicated TV Programming • Many syndicated programs now contain commercials sold by the syndicator and stations are obligated to air those commercials even if they pre-empt or cancel the program. • Stations also can obtain programming through barter. Stations keep half of the commercial inventory, the syndicator keeps the other half. No money changes hands.
Programming Strategies • Lead-off: placing the strongest program in the first position of the daypart to attract the largest possible audience (The Big Bang Theory on CTV on Thursday) • Lead-in: placing a strong program before a new or weaker show (Vampire Diaries before Beauty and the Beast on Thursdays CW)
Programming Strategies • Hammocking: placing a new or weaker show between two strong programs (placing Two and a Half Men between The Big Bang Theory & Grey’s Anatomy on CTV on Thursday) • Block Programming: placing programs of the same genre back-to-back (four comedies on CBS on Monday)
Programming Strategies • Tent-Poling: using the strongest program to anchor the schedule at 9 p.m. (The Big Bang Theory on CTV on Thursday) • Counter-Programming: offering a programming slate that attracts an audience different from that of the competition (CBS’s comedy block vs. MNF (Monday Night Footfall) on ABC; Survivor began as counter- programming to NBC’s Thursday night lineup)
Programming Strategies • Stunting: doing anything unusual to the regular lineup (running two episodes of That 70s Show back-to-back, having a big-name guest star appear in episodes of back-to-back sitcoms, etc.)
Programming Strategies • Bridging: rarely used strategy of starting an hour program on the half hour to get a head start on the competition
Issues in TV Programming • Diversity • Violence • Family Viewing Hour • Sexual Responsibility • “Good Taste”