Window Of Opportunity: Nielsen Zeros In On Prime Time

The Nielsen Company says television prime time is really a small amount of time.

While TV networks, media agencies, and producers continue to consider Monday through Saturday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST and PST prime-time viewing (7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday), the media research company says the most prime of the prime time (the highest viewing) continues to be between 9:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The least? That comes at the end of prime time -- 10:45 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. -- when the fewest viewers use their televisions. Other growing TV research continues to point out that more DVR playback continues in the 10 p.m. time period for many networks.

Nielsen says there are no real differences among men and women watching TV during prime time -- but age is a factor. Viewers 18-49 typically tune in later. For this group, Nielsen says TV's main demographic -- 9:45 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. -- is prime-viewing time. The least viewing for 18-49 viewers comes at the beginning of prime time, from 8:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Specific micro-periods of prime-time programming for TV network researcher/schedulers can be important. Viewership levels are key if they are maintained or grow higher from the first half of a show to the second half. This denotes loyalty and/or consistency of a TV show.



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