Why Reality TV May Continue To Grow In The Coming Years

Taking a look at recent MoffettNathanson research on cable programming, one of the best-performing categories in the last five years has been “non-fiction” programming. Over that period, total day gross ratings points -- commercial ratings (C3) among 18-49 viewers -- grew 1%. All this while the likes of news, general entertainment, and kids programming sank anywhere from 5% to 7%.

That said, reality TV did hit some of the same stumbling blocks as other categories in 2014 -- a sharp decline of 8% in total day gross ratings points. Two of the biggest losers in that category were from A&E, with “Duck Dynasty” down 44% and “Storage Wars” slipping 24%.

If you are a TV network, how much to spend on programming is always an issue, with scripted programming a costly affair. Reality TV comes at a lower price point.



That said, business metrics may change. TV advertisers and their agencies believe traditional TV messaging is undervalued, that using the right viewing and consumer buying metrics would give the business a boost.  At the same time those metrics are moving to  targeting buying of audiences, not programming.

And here’s another thing to consider when it comes to reality TV: This genre works really well with the ever-growing social media activity, according to some analysts.

That may push cable networks to alter programming and scheduling choices in a different direction than what we have seen.

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