Free TV shows are broadcast by free television networks with one primary goal: to capture the greatest number of viewers and hold their interest for the longest time.These numbers are then used by the networks to persuade advertisers to place their commercials on these top-rated shows.
Sounds simple, but this kind of work is not the easiest job in the world.
Programming the shows on a network has to consider so many factors.Capturing the greatest number of viewers calls for a judicious spread of programs that will interest all kinds of viewers.Factors about these viewers – age, gender, and their various cultural, religious, and political persuasions – have to be carefully considered as well.
Very important, too, would be the decision on what time slots these shows are programmed to be aired.Ideally, these would be the time segments when the intended target markets for these free shows are thought to be concentrated.(Surveys are done to pinpoint the precise time slots for all kinds of audience groupings.)
In short, the free TV shows that you love so much are not there on a whim or through sheer luck.They are there precisely to MAKE you watch them at such a precise time.
The following are some programming strategies that make up the various decision points that network executives consider when they air these shows.
Dayparting is the practice of dividing the day into several parts.After which, they assign particular shows to air in these time divisions (with the help of survey results) hoping to catch and hold the interest of the audience.
Tent pole programming
Here, the programmers identify the network’s hit series and place two unknown or weak shows on either side of the program.Usually, the strength of the hit series (the network’s tent pole) brings the other programs to rate good as well.
In the movies and in TV network programming, a tent pole is a film or a flagship series which is heavily promoted (and invested on) and is expected to hold up everything that the movie studio or TV network had produced.
The term is borrowed from the old traveling circus shows where tents were constructed in each town they went to.The big circus tent was largely held up by the main tent pole in the center.
Working like a real hammock, this is the physical opposite of tent pole programming.This time, an unpopular program is aired in-between two hit shows, sort of “hammocking” the weak show using the two popular hits.
The main goal, of course, is to gather bigger audience or viewers to the weak show, carried as it is by two popular shows.
This programming strategy is usually employed by rival networks out to derail the competitor’s program.It is airing a totally different program that appeals to another group of audience.The goal is to diminish or wipe out a big portion of the rival’s audience share.