Upfront Uproar: Fall's 5 most grueling time-slot battles

As much as younger viewers effectively have little use for network schedulesoutside of sports and other high-impact live events, those nearer to womb than tomb are increasingly unlikely to tune into their favorite TV shows in real-timeit’s a reach to say that time slots no longer matter. The rise of the DVR, Netflix and other digital diversions have diminished the importance of lead-ins and counter-programming, but they haven’t usurped the significance of scheduling altogether. As long as the majority of viewers are still watching live (and they are), advertisers should continue to pay attention to the arrangement of the building blocks of prime time.

If nothing else, the show that wins its hour among live viewers is far more likely to deliver higher commercial ratings than one that reaches a disproportionate percentage of its audience in playback. (About 75 percent of the ads that are captured by the DVR are zipped or zapped, so the show that makes the best case for being viewed in real-time automatically has a leg up.)

The vagaries of playback aside, time slots continue to play a key role in determining how ad inventory is priced. The anchor shows that air at 8 p.m. consistently fetch higher unit rates than the dramas that occupy the decidedly less-trafficked 10 p.m. slots, when the DVR reigns as the top-rated “network.”

Continue reading at AdAge.com

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