Leno and The Late News

July 6, 2009 at 3:38 PM 2 comments

Caricature-Jay-LenoIn simpler times, if a network had a new show to promote, the marketing department would design a whiz-bang :30 commercial about the show, air the commercial in shows with a similar audience, and sit back to wait on the waves of viewing to happen. But Dave Morgan over at MediaPost posted an article where he posed the question: Do on-air program promos even work anymore?  Its a valid question, in this day and age of DVRs, online video, Video-on-demand, social media and thousands of channels of viewing options.

An Excerpt From MediaPost

Recently, we ran a series of tests to evaluate how well on-air program promotions do at actually driving viewers to watch specific television shows. We analyzed anonymous set-top-box data through TNS’s Infosys Media System.  Below are findings related to viewer responsiveness to on-air promos for NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” from this past spring. Folks that saw on-air promos for “Parks and Recreation” were 15.9 times more likely to watch the show than folks that didn’t see the promos. Yes. 15.9X. People that didn’t see any on-air promos for “Parks and Recreation” didn’t watch the show. 0.17% is the percentage of folks that watched the show but hadn’t seen a promo. We saw similar numbers for virtually every show we analyzed. This means that if a viewer doesn’t see an on-air promo for a show, you can be 99% certain that he isn’t going to watch the show. Yes. Not only do promos work, but the reverse is true as well.

How does this affect us in Tampa? Working with as closely with the marketing department as we do, we definately want to utilize research to make sure as many people as possible watch our shows.  One good example of this is the upcoming Jay Leno Show debuting on NBC Monday through Friday at 10:00pm.  Not only do we want people to watch this show (as with all our NBC programming), but we especially want these viewers to continue on to watch our late news.

Much of our research in the upcoming weeks will focus on finding out how likely the local Tampa audiences is to watch this new, earlier version of Leno and how likely they will flow into news.  Norman Hecht Research conducted a national study on the subject.  Over 50% of people in the Adult 25-54 age group indicated they were interested in watching Leno, and half of those interested people indicated a “very strong likelyhood” that they would watch the local news after Leno.  Holding onto a 50% prime lead-in might be considered good in some markets, but our station tends to hold north of 100% or more of the lead-in – meaning people who weren’t watching our prime come to our news anyway.  Hopefully this new Leno audience will lead to some stronger NBC numbers at 10pm and thus to some stronger late news numbers.

Why do I bring up the promo concept though?  Because of the problem of DVRs.  Typically, a station loads up the 10-11pm hour of prime with news topical oromos, encouraging people to watch the 11pm news that night.  But itf a person records a 10pm NBC program on their DVR one night and watches it the next, that topical news promo becomes irrelevant to them, as they can’t go back in time to watch our late news from the night prior.  Some of the Norman Hecht research indicates that due to the topical nature of Jay Leno’s shows, people will be more likely to watch Jay Leno live and record any other competiting network’s program at 10pm.  This live viewing has the potential to benefit our late news ratings significantly.

How do you find out about new television shows you want to watch?  Has usage of DVR changed how much you watch local news programs?


Entry filed under: Television.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David Michaels  |  September 11, 2009 at 5:13 PM

    DVR hasn’t really changed much for me, I skipped the ads when using the trusty old VCR too

    • 2. Jennifer Yarter  |  September 28, 2009 at 4:45 PM

      Ah yes, David, but the difference is that the DVR makes recording the original program THAT much easier than with the VCR.

      The dirty little secret of advertising is that no one can truly predict whether a viewer will ever see or hear your ad, regardless of the medium. A reader may be a newspaper subscriber, but may never have even read the page where your ad is placed. A driver may be listening to their favorite radio station, but flip the station once a commercial shows up. A tv viewer may even dare to go to the restroom during a commercial break. All things that make the “game” of advertising that much more challenging.

      In addition, the game changer is that Nielsen is now actually recording the difference in ratings between Live viewing and viewing done on a DVR. All of a sudden, a viewer skipping a commercial is now a serious, measureable obstacle to TV viewing.


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