The Marketing Function and the Programming Service Role in Television…

Posted on 20 Σεπτεμβρίου , 2006


There are two kinds of customers with which the marketing function in a TV station has to be concerned: the media audiences (B2C) and the advertisers (B2B). The main variables that define a TV station’s performance and therefore its profitability are TV Ratings and Share. The TV Rating point is defined as the number of people viewing television (or a station or a program) on an average minute over the total number of population.

It should be noted that rating points vary during the day as more television sets are turned on or off. Share on the other hand is calculated from the percentage of televisions turned on at any particular time and the number of viewers that are watching a particular station. Share must not be confused with rating. e.g. a program may only have 1 rating point yet 60% share. A channel’s primary objective is to maximise its viewership across the whole day therefore measuring the audience flow is very important. The gains or losses in viewers during a program or from program to program, indicate viewer loyalty and whether or not a particular scheduling strategy is effective.

Television, as media mean, contributes in three main aspects of human life: Information, Entertainment and Education. Its offering, exists to satisfy these three specific customer needs. The station’s programming mix (offering), by typology is composed by: News -Information, Series, Films, Light Entertainment, Children programs, Arts and Culture, Sports and Other Programs. Like a distribution channel, programming department is to decide what types of programmes are to distribute in the 24-hour schedule. Its main functions are: how programs will be sourced and, what the best time to broadcast those programs is. The day is divided into the following parts: Daytime television, Early Fringe, Prime time and Late Night.

Media industry is a very complex industry with many intermediaries. TV stations are the “meeting point” of consumers and producers. The marketing network, where a television station operates, consists of the company and the supporting stakeholders: customers, employees, suppliers, distributors, retailers, advertising agencies and others. The flow of the relation among them could be explained as follows: The audience has needs for information, entertainment and education. A TV station as a media service company, offers for free to the audience, its program, in order to meet the needs of its customers. This is the TV customer market.

The audience by viewing the broadcasted program is creating ratings. These ratings create value for the station, as they conduct its share in the market. Audience composition of a channel is an extremely important quantifier as it estimates the numbers of people viewing a particular program by category (age, sex, income, tastes etc.). Product and service companies need to communicate to customers, the attributes of their products and services. Television, offers to those companies, the opportunity to contact, in a very effective way, with their current and potential customers. In order to make this contact true, they are willing to buy Air – Time, which is the “product” that the broadcaster offers to this business market. However due to the significance that this purchase has, companies use Advertisers, which are companies specialized in buying Air-Time from TV stations and selling it to their clients.

The sales and marketing department, together with the programming department, obtains television audience ratings data on a daily basis. The data are analysed and compared by the research department, with audience ratings of competitors, to determine the appropriate strategy for scheduling advertising slots, in order to reach most effectively the profile audience desired by advertising clients. In addition, the sales and marketing department conducts a wide range of market analysis, focusing on various sectors of the economy and target audiences. To ensure that advertising slots are broadcast to meet client specifications, concerning context and timing, the sales and marketing department is also responsible for quality control of the advertisements that are being broadcasted.

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