Winner Takes All…or Not?

TV by The Numbers put up an interesting blog post today on the subject of the importance of TV ratings…

When and why, if ever, is it preferable for your business to finish ahead of the competition with a lower rating for your network, than to finish behind the competition, but with a higher rating for your network? (i.e. when is it better to “win” with a 1.0 rating, than “lose” with a 1.1 rating)

I would rephrase the question thusly: Is it acceptable to finish second or third in the ratings, period? In the cable news world one could make such an argument. It all depends on the branding strength of the program and the channel. You can have low ratings but if your brand caters to a high income demographic with lucrative advertisers, being first isn’t the imperative one might think, at least in the short to medium range term. Long term, it can become more of an issue especially if the media writers start piling on about how low your ratings are because that can affect the public’s perceptions and that in turn undermines the branding irrespective of the quality of your programming.

Update: Mediaties Steve Krakauer and TVNewser’s Alex Weprin weigh in…

One Response to “Winner Takes All…or Not?”

  1. You also need the high ratings to have leverage when it comes to renegotiating sub fees. TVN had a post about Goldman Sachs upgrading NewsCorp because they think FNC will get $1.25 per subscriber when it renegotiates with some carriers this year.

    If FNC eventually gets $1.25 per subscriber for all 98 million+ HHs, Yearly, they will make $1 billion 470 million in sub fees!

    Think CNN and MSNBC are in any position to ask for that much? lol

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