Television Programming Content Drives Viewers

by Paul McDonald | Feb 15, 2019 | Media

Television, no matter what platform it is viewed on, is still a significant player in the media landscape. And, I believe the driver behind any television success is programming content.

I was looking at some data recently regarding total number of scripted television shows being produced. Over the past eight years, the total number has grown from 266 to 495 programs annually. The biggest growth, of course, has been in online programming, which was relatively new in 2011, with only 6 program offerings, but last year 160 shows were produced! And, of course, unscripted, or reality, television is everywhere, mostly because it’s cheaper to produce than scripted television.

In 2018, the outlets where television was watched also shifted. Hulu crossed the 20 million subscriber mark and Netflix reached the 61 million mark in US subscribers alone. Traditional television viewing, especially by millennials and Generation Z has declined by 20-30% over the last three years. Research is finding that these age groups are still watching, but now they are choosing more and more to watch out-of-home on mobile devices. And when they are at home, they are using multiple devices at the same time. I expect this is one of the reasons that the CW Network is not only relying on traditional ratings information to make their programming decisions but are also relying heavily on social media response to determine which programs are a success.

Even though there is no doubt that online television is growing, in 2018 traditional linear network television in the total population was only down 4% in viewership from the previous year. One statistic I found even suggested that at 11 PM, 73% of media users were watching television!

Because there are more places to find television programs, there are more opportunities to be heard. And that can be a good thing. While many networks and programs support left-leaning agendas, there is opportunity to see programming that features family-friendly and faith-friendly content, as well. For example, I always look forward to new programming from UP TV to see what kind of faith elements they are going to incorporate.

A recent article in Adweek called “The Science of Storytelling” was talking about new methods to predict whether a show might be successful or not. So often, network executives have been “sure” a program would be successful, only to find it fail with its intended audience. This article suggests that neuroscience and studying the way our brains and bodies react to what we see will give them a better understanding of what will work and what will not. And they have data to back up their claim.

For the faith-filled story teller, I believe that, if you truly have talent and use your God-given gifts to create a program that tells a compelling story and gives God the glory, you can find success, no matter the platform or the competition.

Let Infinity Concepts help you create a successful television program! Contact us today!

Paul McDonald
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