Thursday, May 28, 2009

NBC's ratings - Bad, Bad, Bad

I was struck by a particular headline this afternoon:

NBC's Ratings -- Lowest Since Early TV

I mean, I know that the market is segmenting with all the cable and satellite channels that are now currently available, along with the ever increasing pressure for entertainment hours from both the internet and video games, but this seems like a simply stunning turn of events. I remember even a short time ago NBC was one of the ratings leaders with everyone following, and now just a few years later... well... I think that headline says everything.

What the numbers indicate is that both Fox and CBS have twice as many viewers than NBC, which means that while NBC isn't in the network ghetto occupied by the CW and My Network TV, it isn't really an address outside of the Nightly News that is increasing in value. Additionally, the most successful Spanish language channel was only about a million viewers back from NBC, meaning other competitors are catching up as well.

And from that standpoint, I guess I can see why NBC is trying to keep Jay Leno and foregoing the expenses of having a scripted schedule after 10PM. Limiting their programming to before 10 certainly hasn't hurt Fox, and at this stage, having a consistent set of programming day after day to build on and to perhaps generate some additional advertising revenue.

Not to mention the fact that replacing their scripted and reality show offerings at 10 with Leno means that from an accounting standpoint, they know how much that hour of television is going to cost week in and week out. I might not like the idea of being burdened with 5 hours of Jay Leno a week instead of almost any other kind of traditional programming, but if it is profitable and it helps to keep the other 17 hours of prime time programming afloat, then I would grudgingly accept that.

I guess time will tell if this is brilliance or sheer folly on the part of the NBC executives, but it is clear that something has to be done to stave the bleeding.

No comments: