Audience Ratings: Radio, Television, and Cable

By Hugh Malcolm Beville Jr. | Go to book overview

Preface

Programs are the heart of broadcasting, while sales provide the muscle. Ratings with their feedback element are the nerve system that largely controls what is broadcast.

In 1987, broadcasting and cable were part of a $25 billion industry. A pervasive element influencing all aspects of the electronic media is the audience rating. It is difficult to imagine a successful system of free commercial broadcasting without this important feedback. The ratings report the size and composition of the audience that is reached by a given program, station, or schedule of commercial announcements. These data are crucial to the activities of broadcasting management, sales representatives, program producers, advertisers and their agencies, writers, performers, and their agents. More important, from a public standpoint, the rating expectation for any program under consideration is a major component in network and station decisions as to what programs will survive and when and where they should be scheduled.

Ratings are a powerful force in broadcasting and telecommunications. They determine the price that will be paid for programs and the pay that performers will receive. They govern the rates that advertisers will pay for 60-second or 30-second or smaller commercial units in and around each program. Ratings determine stations' audience and rank order in their market, and to a large degree they dictate the profitability of broadcasting stations and their value when put up for sale. The salary and bonus compensation of key network and station officials are also governed by ratings success. Ratings results ultimately determine whether top management and program and news management in television and radio broadcast organizations will retain their jobs, be promoted, or demoted.

-xi-

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Audience Ratings: Radio, Television, and Cable
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Radio Services-- Pre-Tv (1930-1946) 1
  • Notes 26
  • 2 - Radio Services--Post-Tv (1946-1987) 28
  • 3 - Television Services (1946-1987) 62
  • Notes 81
  • 4 - Rating Methodologies: a Comparative Examination 83
  • Notes 129
  • 5 - Qualitative Versus Quantitative Ratings 131
  • Notes 157
  • 6 - Cable Ratings (1979-1987) 160
  • Notes 183
  • 7 - Using Ratings Data 185
  • Notes 217
  • 8 - Ratings: Servant or Master? 219
  • Notes 240
  • 9 - Government Intervention 242
  • Notes 256
  • 10 - What We Have Learned: 1930-1987 258
  • Notes 270
  • 11 - A Look to the Future 271
  • Notes 307
  • Appendix A - Ratings Basics: Terms, Calculations, and Relationships 310
  • Sources 315
  • Appendix B - Offices and Services of Principal Syndicated Ratings Companies Operating on A National Basis 316
  • Appendix C - Audience Measurement Highlights U.S. Total Population 321
  • Questions for Review and Discussion 333
  • Answers 376
  • Bibliography 389
  • Index 395
  • About the Author 407
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