Is Peak TV Over-The-Top Or Under The Radar?

Is so-called Peak TV that high quality? What’s the end game here?

One thing is certain: Peak TV doesn’t refer to record-breaking levels of viewers consuming top-quality entertainment TV content. Supply and demand will out.

Several years ago, John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks, warned too much good TV -- Peak TV, that is premium-scripted TV content -- will continue to overlooked. Landgraf says 450 to 500 shows will have to fight for its share of marketing voice. Many will lose out.

TV networks use the on-air time on their traditional TV platform -- ad-supported or otherwise  -- to promote shows. But declining TV viewing is making that harder. Networks may use some of their sister networks -- broadcast, cable and otherwise -- to help with those efforts.

For a long time now, Steve Sternberg, veteran media agency/network programming analyst, in MediaPost columns and other places -- has advocated broadcast TV networks should be allowed to place TV program promos on competing channels. He believes cross-network promotion helps the overall traditional linear TV program business.



After all, TV networks take show promos from Netflix, Amazon and others. Aren’t they competitors as well?

You need only look at the lack of viewership of some of the big entertainment award shows -- like the recent “Primetime Emmy Awards” -- to see the problem. Just 6.9 million Nielsen-measure viewers watched the recent show on Fox, another all-time record low.

Blame it on several factors, including the entertainment or lack of an actual host. But consider other issues.

First, go back to the so-called peak TV theme. TV viewers have long complained they don’t have the time see all these great TV shows -- or at least know what they are about. Might TV viewers want to sample this content, perhaps via the industry’s big awards show?

Right now, there isn’t enough TV content on the Emmys -- a show that seems to be at the nexus of TV programs and promotion. 

True, a three-hour awards show won’t be the only piece of an industry-wide marketing plan to support quality-scripted TV content. But it could showcase a sampling.

Remember the old yarn “viewers don’t watch networks, they watch shows”? The reality it’s worst than that: Many viewers don’t know which shows are on which networks.

All to say, the whole TV marketing exercise in keeping one’s show promotion just on its own airwaves should be abandoned. Cross-promotion is the only way forward.

If not, we’ll just keep changing the channel (and missing a lot of shows) to get one’s interest peaked.

1 comment about "Is Peak TV Over-The-Top Or Under The Radar?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 27, 2019 at 9:42 a.m.

    Wayne, even though the average person is now spending about 15-20 % less time with "linear TV' content than 6-7 years ago, the amount of time we devote to "linear TV" content now is just about the same as it was in the 1980s and much higher that was the case in the heyday of TV ratings---the 1950s and 1960s. WhY? Because now, we have so much more programming and so many more channels to select from and this acts to increase the amount of time we devote to TV content---not reduce it. All that is happening is that the average minute ratings of virtually all TV shows is way down---but not so much the cummulative amount of time we devote to them, collectively. As for CBS cross promoting NBC or ABC shows and vica versa, in my opinion that would simply accentuate broadcast TV's old folks viewer slant as that's who these promos would be reaching. This is especially true in the growing over-the-air reception segment--now about 14% of the country---which accounts for a huge percentage ---probably 30%--- of the broadcast TV audience.

    If the broadcast TV networks are really trying to attract new viewers, not more of the same---one would think that they should be cross promoting mainly on cable channels where they can far better target those they need to reach--as well as other media--digital, radio.

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