Prime-Time Dramas, Sports Grab Most Ad Dollars

More TV advertising dollars go into prime-time broadcast network dramas -- some $4.9 billion per year -- than any other genre.

That isn't too surprising -- dramas represent the dominant original program genre among broadcast TV networks, representing a 41.1% share of prime-time viewership, per a Nielsen survey.

Prime-time sports come in second place, pulling $4.06 billion in advertising sales and 22% of viewership. Reality TV took in $2.38 billion and 16% of viewing in prime-time periods. Comedy programming was at $2.1 billion and 11% viewing; and prime-time news was at $560 million.

According to Nielsen, $72 billion was spent on TV advertising in the U.S. in 2011, with a total of $14 billion spent in prime time in five traditional genres: drama, sports, comedies, reality and news.

Of the five prime-time categories that Nielsen followed, only one grew in viewing year-to-year. Comedies had 11.4% share in 2011 against a 9.9% share in 2010 and an 8.5% share in 2009.

Prime-time product placements on broadcast TV shows are down 24% in 2011 versus 2010, to some 7,042 versus 9,227 in 2010. Nielsen said reality dominates all product placement occurrences –- some 4,644 in 2011, a 58% share, which tops all other categories combined. Drama had 2,361 occurrences (29% share); comedies 1,071 (13% share); news, 13; and sports, 4.

When it comes to DVR use, Nielsen said 43% of time-shifted prime-time broadcast programming is played back the same day it was recorded, and 88% is played back within three days.

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