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Television Programming and Eyeball Retention

By Daniella Waknin

Feb 23, 2017

Image result for family watching tv


A core function in the life of a television program scheduler is to understand the optimal sequence of programming and to make better decisions based on audience flow. They strive to understand the order in which to play a sequence of shows so that the network receives the most effective ratings. In the past few years however, there have been a few changes in the way viewers are tuning in, causing hindrances for programmers. These new behavioral patterns are making it more difficult to track and understand audiences.

As we all know, consumers are now leaving traditional screens and platforms and are watching their content on the Netflix’s and Hulu’s of the world. Viewers consume content on so many different platforms, that it has become so incredibly important to track where viewers are coming from and where they are going. The numerous platforms out there are having a huge impact on the traditional TV audience.

Example Snapshot

In 2016, the National Football League (NFL) partnered with Twitter to stream Thursday Night Football games in addition to the regular streaming on television. This initiative stemmed from NFL TV ratings being down in 2015, so the NFL was hoping that streaming the game on two platforms simultaneously would increase ratings. And it did – but not how they expected. They assumed more viewers would be watching via Twitter and were stunned to learn that the number of viewers on Twitter were nowhere near those who tuned into the game on TV. Twitter’s first game livestream reached 2.1 million people, but most of those viewers only watched it for at least three seconds.  When measuring viewers on TV for that same initial game, 15.4 million people watched the game on CBS and the NFL Network combined.

So What Happened?

This illustrates the significance of data collection, but more importantly – it emphasizes the need to make sense of it. Program schedulers now need to know the race and sex breakdown of each viewer, what the median age is, the income range and so much more. They must get into granular detail in order to leverage insights that retain audiences and attract viewers from their competition. This type of granularity can decrease the likelihood of a dip in viewership or on the contrary, expect a significant increase for a show or game.

Click here to contact RSG Media’s Media Mantra team to discuss other real life examples and to see how Media Mantra is helping schedulers avoid pitfalls while maximizing reach. 

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