Reality Tv Competition Success

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Amanda Zusman
9/24/12
T344 Programming strategies

The Most Successful Program Format in the Primetime Timeslot

The primetime television timeslot is known to deliver the most viewers to networks and advertisers each and everyday. The primetime hours range from 7PM-11PM and summon many persons getting home from work and families at the tail end of mealtime. Entertainment programming scheduled during primetime has always been popular amongst audiences, however; in recent years certain reality competition programs have risen above the other formats by using innovative concepts to engage viewers. The key to the explosion of this television format was the interactive element of audience participation. For each interactive reality competition, the viewers determine the winners. The beginning of the popular format as we know it started with Britain’s “Pop Idol” back in 2002. The UK Idol franchise expanded to the US during the same year, named “American Idol”, after observing the amounts success the program had in the UK. A popular recent popular trend between networks is purchasing the intellectual property that encapsulates the idea of a particular program. These shows are then adapted into our American culture so that we can partake in the same type of engaging entertainment phenomenon. Overtime this particular program format has proven to be a crowd-pleaser among viewers of all ages indicated by ratings and by media coverage. For these reasons as well as others, shows of this caliber have earned themselves spots on broadcast’s primetime day part. Although the primetime timeslot is embodies a strategic mixture of diverse programming, primetime broadcast television is dominated by shows that stem from the same television program format. Typically these types of programs are scheduled in the “lead off” spot during the primetime segment because they draw in such a large audience rich in age diversity. During a show’s active season, they take a large toll on the success of their respective broadcast network’s overnight ratings derived from Nielsen’s Galaxy Navigator. Lead offs run during the first hour and sometimes extend across the second hour of the primetime timeslot, from 8-10PM, bridging over other programs that start an hour later. On Wednesdays two interactive reality singing competitions, “The Voice” and “The X-Factor”, go head to head by “blunting” one another to determine which network will win over the majority of the same target audience. On Wednesday, September 13, for example, NBC’s first two hours of primetime included one hour of “The Voice” followed by one hour of “America’s Got Talent”. NBC’s biggest competition that night was Fox’s stripped episodes of “The X Factor”. NBC claimed victory over not only FOX but also the four other major broadcast networks, being ABC, CBS, NBC, and the CW during the 8-9 PM hour with “The Voice” in the leadoff spot capturing a majority part of persons 18-49 and receiving a 3.3 rating. Coming in a close second place during that very competitive time period was FOX’s interactive reality competition, “The X Factor” (Wednesday’s Broadcast Ratings, 2012). Although there can only be one winner that will beat out the rest and help its respective broadcast network “win the night”, it is intriguing to see that both the number one and two spots of the night and typically each week both stem from the same general program format. This type of format is designed to harness a large and diverse audience. The adoption of another originally British show, “Britain’s Got Talent”, helped NBC grasp not only a large chunk of the demographic audience but also helped it acquire more viewers in terms of psychographics. On that same night discussed previously, “America's Got Talent" won the 9-10PM hour with a 2.9 rating. "Talent" out-delivered "X Factor" in total viewers and also retained 88% of it’s lead-in audience that were watching “The Voice” just before, (Wednesday’s Broadcast Ratings, 2012)....
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