Media Planning 101: Syndication Goes Back To School

Syndication is a better bet for marketers trying to reach back-to-school shoppers in late summer on TV, as its ratings hold up better than network programming.

That's according to an announcement yesterday by the Syndicated Network Television Association (SNTA), which finds that syndicated television ratings typically remain strong through August, the core back-to-school shopping month, while also delivering a higher composition of primary back-to-school shopping targets like mothers and value-conscious shoppers.

Syndication isn't immune to lighter summer viewing levels. But it remains within 10 percent of its yearly average while network programming drops off 30 percent, says the SNTA.

In addition, more mothers of children ages 6 to 17 watch syndicated shows than watch network shows, and by significant margins. For example, ratings for syndicated feature films are 39 percent higher than network ratings; 35 percent higher for dramas, and 30 percent higher for news magazines.

The SNTA also provided ratings data that shows syndication over-delivering against moms who shop at discount stores, department stores, and specialty stores.

"If you want to reach the mothers of back-to-school children, the place to do it is in syndication," said Mitch Burg, SNTA President, in a statement. "Every single genre of syndicated programming -- court, action, game, sitcom, talk, drama, or entertainment news - is watched by customers who shop in the major back-to-school retail stores."

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), back-to-school represents a $15 billion marketplace for traditional items such as clothing, shoes, backpacks, and school supplies.