First-Year TV Network Programs Work Harder To Succeed

First-year network TV shows have a higher advertising bar to scale than returning shows, just to have a chance for another season, according to one study.

SQAD, the media cost forecasting/research company, says looking at the average unit 30-second cost for cancelled shows can determine whether they get renewed.

Soon TV networks will be making decisions on 2016-2017 TV season rookie shows to see whether they will be rewarded with a second season.

SQAD say “decisions are often based on more than just ratings—executives also take into account revenue brought in by ad sales during programs.” It adds that “a new program must bring in higher revenues to prove themselves than later season shows who already have a loyal fan base.”

The research company looked at differences in average unit price for all cancelled TV shows against the price for only first-year shows, which tells a lot.

On NBC, the average unit cost of all cancelled shows was $80,000 for a 30-second commercial for the 2015-2016 season. But just looking at those first-year show cancellations that average was $99,000 -- a $19,000 difference.



By comparison, the 2015-2016 first year NBC cancelled comedy “Crowded” had an average unit cost of $72,000; NBC second-year drama “Aquarius,” which was cancelled after that season, averaged $56,000 for a 30-second unit.

CBS’ difference was less -- $83,000 for cancellation of all shows and $91,000 for the cancellation of first-year shows. ABC had a similar price differential -- $106,000 for all shows and $112,000 for the first-year shows. The CW was at $18,000 for all shows; $23,000 for first-year cancellations.

Only Fox stood had these data points reversed, but not by much: $98,000 for all cancelled Fox shows in the 2015-2016 season and $96,000 for first-year cancellations.

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