When it comes to media advertising and programming, there are basic factors to consider. These factors include; target audience, time of airing, gender, age and most importantly the adverts to run during the breaks and sponsors of a show.
Most media organizations rarely bother with programming. Most shows in our televisions and radio stations have been running for almost ten years. Citizen TV has had shows like Inspector Mwala, Mother-in-Law, Machachari and Papa Shirandula for so long that even the kids who started watching them have grown fed up with them.
It is important for media organizations to do an audience analysis before the beginning of every New Year to determine popularity of a show instead of relying on information from Geo-poll or even Info-trak. This will help tell whether the show should be scrapped of the station or renewed for a new season. This paper shows the importance of programming and advertising in media organizations. It also showcases some of the issues of advertising in today’s media.
Introduction to the study
Broadcast programming or scheduling is the practice of organizing television shows or radio programs in a daily, weekly, or season-long schedule. Modern broadcaster use broadcast automation to regularly change the scheduling of their programs to build an audience for a new show, retain that audience, or compete with other broadcasters’ programs.
The mass media has social responsibility to the public as the consumers. According to McQuail (1992), the freedom of mass media or the press should be directed properly in order to give real benefits to the community and their audiences, not just to liberate the mass media and its owners from liability, expectations, and demands of society. In this case, the mass media do not only have the right but also the obligations to the public. Thus, freedom of the media should also tie to public’s rights and the existence of social responsibility (Masduki, 2007).
As a social institution and a vehicle for public communication, the mass media bridges the relationship between the media, the public, the state and the market, and adheres the principle of balance between freedom and responsibility. The public interest and primacy should be the references in implementing media freedom. In this case, the media should take into account the basic principles of public broadcasting; i.e. PICON (public’s importance or interest, public’s convenience, and public’s necessity and need).
Besides, the media has the role to educate in order to be able to give enlightenment, intellectuality, and make people understand their rights and obligations as citizens. Many of TV programs contain low tastes and tend to be commercialized for mere entertainment industry. In this situation, the theory of free and responsible media is required.
According to Encyclopedia of Communication and Information COPYRIGHT 2002 the Gale Group Inc.)While the television set and the radio receiver are considered to be ‘hardware,’ programming is the essential ‘software’ that actually tempts people to use these devices. The primary function of the station or network is to provide programming content that will appeal to some segment of the audience. The ability of a station to reach its desired audience will determine its success. Its programming mission and strategy are critical to its viability. As such, programming is the most visible and most vital commodity of television.
When it comes to programming, you need to consider the genre, time of air, target audience and also the advertisements and promotions. There are some basic programming strategies that are common to both radio and television. A station or network must analyze the audiences that is available during a given time of day, examine its own schedule as well as that of the competition, determine the budget and revenues that are available for that time, and with its ultimate goals in mind make programming decisions.
What program comes on before and after each show is another important factor, as well as what the other networks are offering in the same time slot. Added to this are target audience demographics (characteristics such as age, race, sex and economic level), program promotions, and advertiser appeal. Each of these factors is crucial for having a successful show and a successful season.
According to (Programming and Advertising Competition in the Broadcasting Industry Jean J. Gabszewicz, Didier Laussel and Nathalie Sonnac) The extent to which advertising influences media content has been under close scrutiny for several decades.
Steiner (1952) was the first to open the debate in a precise manner, when conjecturing that competition among private broadcasters could lead to insufficient program diversity, due to the search for advertising revenues. His argument was based on the idea that popular programs could be duplicated excessively in order to attract larger audiences and thereby more advertisers.
Pure duplication of the channels’ programs never is observed at equilibrium: without differentiating their programs, channels would enter into cutthroat competition through ad broadcasting time reductions in order to increase audience; this competition leads to zero advertising profits. Without publiphobia, or with a weak publiphobia, the model even predicts maximal program differentiation of the channels. With a more significant publiphobia, channels continue to differentiate their programs so as to increase advertising broadcasting time without losing too much audience. But the extent of this differentiation is limited by publiphobia: “excessive” ad broadcasting time leads to audience losses that are incompatible with advertising profits maximization. We show that the degree of program differentiation decreases with the size of publiphobia.
There are several papers closely related to the present analysis. Vaglio (1995) proposed a Hoteling type model of the audience for TV broadcasting that shares several properties.
In particular, he supposed that consumers are advertising averse and notices that, due to this aversion, TV channels face the dilemma of either making money with a low ad to program ratio in order to keep large audiences, or doing it with a high ad to program ratio, which entails audience losses. Also, he tried to analyze how the fact that ad to program ratios are subject to government’s regulation could affect the behavior of TV channels when selecting their programs.
According to Anderson and Coate (2000), TV and radio broadcasts constitute a specific type of public good. Then they questioned the ability of the market to provide broadcasting efficiently in a context where broadcasters earn revenue by selling time to advertisers. They concluded that, depending on the parameter values, there may be under as well as overprovision of programming and advertisements.
According to ( Anderson, Simon P. and Stephen Coate. ‘Market Provision Of Broadcasting: A Welfare Analysis,’ Review of Economic Studies, 2005, v72(253,Oct), 947-972) Its main focus is to explore the ability of the market to provide broadcasting efficiently in a world in which broadcasters earn revenues by selling time to advertisers and advertisements provide information to consumers about new products.
The paper shows that market provided broadcasts may feature too few or too many commercials, depending on the relative sizes of their social benefit and their nuisance cost to viewers. In addition, the market may provide too few or too many types of programs, depending on the relative size of viewing benefits and the benefits to advertisers from contacting viewers.
The possibility of both under and over-provision of advertisements and programming, means that there are ranges of the parameters for which the market provides broadcasting close to efficiently.
According to research on (Advertising, Competition and Entry in Media Industries, by Claude Crampes, Carole Haritchabalet and Bruno Jullien) Recent innovations, such as digitalization or the Internet, have considerably reduced the limitation on transmission channels, providing new opportunities for entry. New media, new business models and media convergence have drastically changed the media market conditions.
In a context where the number of media platforms that can be distributed increases, socially excessive entry may become a real concern. My paper is intended to illuminate the on going process by discussing the role of advertising from a two sided market perspective.
Digital technologies have also deeply changed both the way information is transmitted and the way a specific audience can be targeted. The model we use in this paper takes account of this technological advance by assuming that the returns from advertising for broadcasters and the disutility of advertising for households are not necessarily linear functions of the number of announcements. With a linear advertising technology, the revenues from advertising are competed away through lower subscription prices and equilibrium profits are the same as in models with no advertising.
This profit equivalence breaks when the advertising technology is not linear: profits are higher and there is more entry if the advertising revenue per subscriber decreases with the audience. We then analyze the implications for entry and efficiency, and extend the analysis to various relevant contexts, incorporating price setting in the advertising market, free media and endogenous content.
The literature on financing media from two sides includes content by Gabszewicz, Laussel and Sonnac  and Dukes and Gal‐Or  who analyze the impact of advertising on the level of differentiation. They find that advertising reduces differentiation between media platforms. More recently, Peitz and Valletti  compare both the advertising intensity and the level of differentiation when media platforms offer free services and when the subscription price is positive. Our model does not allow for endogenous differentiation apart from the impact of entry, but we also conclude that free services are associated with larger advertising levels when customers dislike advertising.
The analysis of Anderson and Coate  focuses on welfare issues. They show that equilibrium advertising levels can be above or below socially optimal levels and that media platforms can provide too many or too few programs. Armstrong  compares an advertising quantity game and an advertising price game in the Hoteling model.
When it comes to programming and advertising, the media organizations are able to use different platforms and methods as strategies to promote new shows. According to a (curata blog) an employee advocacy program is one way of leveraging communities. It allows you to utilize the strength in numbers approach to promote your content to more social media users. However, you first have to have a community in order to do so. There are already more than two million communities within LinkedIn alone.
Not to mention additional communities in the form of Twitter chats, Google Plus communities, shared Pinterest boards, and even Facebook Groups. Joining and becoming an engaging member of relevant communities allows you to promote your content to a much targeted audience of social media users.
Such groups could be in the hundreds, thousands, or even more—the largest LinkedIn Group has more than one million members! (There’s even a community for content marketing and promotion: The Content Marketing Forum.) For the youth, they are most likely to be found on YouTube and Instagram, the 35-50 generation is on Facebook while older than that read the newspaper, listen to the radio or watch television. Most corporates are on LinkedIn and Google Plus.
Some of the most commonly used strategies used during programming and advertising of new programs include:
Bridging is being used when a station tries to prevent the audience from changing channels during a junction point – the main evening breaks where all channels stop programs and shift gear (Ellis, 2000). This is achieved in a number of ways including:
- a) Having a program already underway and something compelling happening at a junction point,
- b) Running a program late so that people ‘hang around’ and miss the start of other programs, or
- c) Television advertising the next program during the credits of the previous.
According to Whitakerd 2018, when a station or network schedules a number of programs consecutively that have a similar demographic appeal, this is referred to as stacking. Often, networks will stack a series of sitcoms together, assuming that audience flow will hold viewers for several hours. Back in the 90’s and early 2000’s ABC was using this method of stacking for their TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) lineup.
It was a series of funny, light-hearted, comedies that appealed to a large target audience and was very successful lasting for many years. ABC has pulled this idea back out with their TGIT lineup on Thursday nights with Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. The target audience for these drama’s would be largely Women 18-49.
Stacking is a technique used to develop audience flow by grouping together programs with similar appeals to ‘Sweep’ the viewer along from one program to the next (Vane and Gross, 1994, p.175).
Whitekerd 2018, if you are scheduling a program for a network or local station that’s opposite ‘Monday Night Football’ (an extremely popular TV series with men), you will probably not chose another program that appeals to men.
Unless you have something that will draw more men than the major football teams — and that would be difficult you would probably be better off scheduling a program that appeals to women who may not be interested in watching football.
Counterprogramming can also involve other demographic characteristics. For a program that appeals to an older audience you might want to counterprogram with something that appeals to a younger audience. For a program that appeals to a sophisticated audience, think about a program that appeals to a not-so-sophisticated audience.
Deciding on a target audience also involves your advertisers. A show that has commercials for expensive cars, designer clothes, exotic vacation spots, and upscale restaurants will have to appeal to an audience that can afford these things.
If you are trying to sell designer jeans, you don’t want to buy commercial time in a show that appeal primarily to an older audience. As mentioned earlier, advertisers are interested in the number of viewers that watch a show but they are even more interested in the show’s demographics. In fact, demographics are important to advertisers in any area of mass media: TV, radio, newspapers, online, magazines and books.
Demographics, again, refers to statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it. This would include data on your audiences Age, sex, education, income, etc. Again the Nielsen Company are the ones that gather this data and provide their results to local and network stations who in turn use the data to make programming decisions and to sale commercial time.
Unusual strategies used to promote a show will include;
- Memes. The younger generation is obsessed will all things internet and memes have become a norm in their daily lives. A meme advertising a show can be passed from one WhatsApp group to another and from Instagram and snapchat to Facebook. People will upload it to their status thus giving the show free advertising amongst one’s peers.
- Promotions. Whereby, the cast offers prizes to loyal viewers and give out t-shirts and caps as an advertising strategy. There can also be roadshows to different counties and especially the major ones. During this period, the cast could act out scenes in their upcoming show to the people to get them sold on to the idea of a new program.
Pick a fan each day the program films to be a guest on the show and to allow them to visit the whole set. This will have more and more people watching hoping for the chance to be on television.
A very common phrase in Kenya is sex sells. This applies all over the world and having a cast that oozes sex appeal will attract more viewers and of different demographics. Also, get a cast that is not afraid to use their own social media to advertise the show.
Get ideas from kids
According to Frank Armstrong from PR Daily, Kids have so much creativity. They say things with innocence and clarity, often out of curiosity and the struggle to understand new things by associating them with what they already understand. (They do this to a degree that most adults cannot.)For businesses that pay attention, children’s advice is free, unfiltered and often valuable.
It can lead to new talent acquisition.
And to conclude, I’d say that our media is severely lacking when it comes to prioritizing the younger generation when it comes to programming. There are more adult appropriate shows than there are kids’ shows. I mean what happened to the time where the children would come from school and watch cartoons as they took their snack??? The only station still airing cartoons at 4pm is KTN and even they are showing cartoons like SpongeBob, Sofia the first or even Elena of Avalor, all this can be found on Nickelodeon and Disney Junior.
Media organizations could do better and should strive to do so because as seasons change, so do people and we don’t want to wake up one day and realize no one watches local stations anymore.
- https://www.nber.org/papers/w7513 the national bureau of economic research
- https://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/television-broadcasting-programming-and encyclopedia.com
- 11 Effective Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Content https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6451.2009.00368.x
- ADVERTISING, COMPETITION AND ENTRY IN MEDIA INDUSTRIES https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1430-9134.2004.00027.x
- Programming and Advertising Competition in the Broadcasting Industry
- Jilid 32(1) 2016:207-231 Jurnal Komunikasi Malaysian Journal of Communication