Television Ratings Essay

2625 Words11 Pages
Lealand and Martin (2001, p. 69) state “very little happens by accident in television, and every element or intervention has its purpose”. This statement is particularly true when it comes to television scheduling. The act of television scheduling is the practice of organizing television programs in a daily, weekly, or season-long schedule (Ellis, 2000). Each days schedule is “the result of a number of careful, strategic decisions by specialists in programming (or scheduling as it’s also called), who have purchased the programs and then planned the sequence in which to screen them” (Horrocks& Perry, 2004, p.184). Ellis describes the television schedule quite well by use of analogy; “If programs are the building blocks of television, then the schedule s its architecture, defining the edifice that gives meaning to each programming block” (2000, p.41) But why is scheduling so ‘careful’ and ‘strategic’? What influences make the schedule place programs in their allocated slots? This essay will seek to answer these questions by analyzing television scheduling in general, and by analyzing an actual television schedule to describe the strategies and methods used by television schedulers. In terms of why television scheduling is so ‘careful’ and ‘strategic’, the answer is simple. Television scheduling is centered on and driven by ratings and advertising. Advertising dollars are crucial and sought after by broadcasters and scheduling is one way to gain them. As Horrocks & Perry (2004, p.186) put it “programming [scheduling] is highly responsive to the interests of advertisers”. Scheduling is therefore an aggressively competitive activity, in which channels attempt to maximize appeal to certain audiences at certain times. Certain scheduling strategies are used to give television programs the best possible chance of attracting and maintaining an audience, and schedulers aim
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