| May 10, 2012
By Frank Radice
As part of our ongoing guest blog series, today we feature Definition 6's article on the new era of primetime. Be sure to check back regularly for more posts from our guest bloggers as well as our own thought-provoking original content – Ed.
With upfront season in full swing, I've been thinking about primetime TV viewership and I had to ask myself -- Is 9:00 p.m. the new 10:00 p.m.?
Five years ago if a network's primetime show didn't hit a 5 demo in 18-49 viewers, it would be in deep trouble.
Today, the 10 p.m. demo, for the most part, seems to be around a 3 or lower.
Why is that?
A few things come to mind.
One: DVRs are everywhere now. It's not just a TiVo anymore. Every cable company has one, and they are quickly replacing the old set top box (and let's not forget the Roku, the Xbox, the Boxee, Apple TV and any of the other cool devices out there).
And research is also showing that tablets like the iPad are quickly becoming the second screen of choice for content consumption, while services like Aereo allow you to watch and record your favorite show in their cloud for later viewing anywhere.
Two: …and this is probably a function of the first thing…there are so many places to get content, and so much targeted content on cable and online, that the hours of material anyone can watch at any given time, is just too much to bear.
Three:…and this is just anecdotal of my colleagues in New York; hard working people are going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier (again, this may have something to do with DVRs). I mean, why not, right? Especially when you can watch "LAW" at night and catch "ORDER" in the morning on your digital device!
Another reason may be simply that the big three (or four) networks are just not programming what people want to see at 10:00 p.m.
That is the traditional home for dramas and procedurals… but the biggest numbers are now coming from the 9:00 p.m. non-scripted shows like "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Voice."
Maybe the premium cable nets, programming high-end shows through the 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. slots without commercials, are causing the erosion.
And maybe that tiny sliver of "unplugged" viewers is starting to grow.
If everyone could create multiple revenue streams, none of this would matter much. Get paid even without the eyeball analytics (or without commercials in some cases.)
Just create great programs and let people find them wherever they are, regardless of what time they are on.
In the end, it always comes back to great content that can cause conversation (either in person or online, especially social media channels.)
So, let 9:00 p.m. be the new 10:00 p.m.
I will just go to sleep early and watch my favorite stuff somewhere else, some other time, and be happy about it.