TV Networks Use “Comedy” to Attract More Viewers and Advertisers

May 31, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. up front (adv.) – (informal) in advance
Example: We bought our tickets up front because we thought they would sell out quickly.

2. sitcom (n.) – a funny skit based on daily life situations
Example: She was laughing the whole time while watching her favorite sitcom.

3. cable (adj.) – refers to the paid-for service where TV channels are delivered through cables and not by broadcast transmission
Example The cable TV package I bought lets me watch over a hundred cable channels.

4. outpace (v.) – to surpass or be greater in performance
Example:  New and exciting TV shows outpace old ones in terms of number of viewers.

5. outlook (n.) –  possible future of something or someone
Example: Businessmen fear the negative outlook on the economy.

Read the text below.

In preparation for their fall TV show lineup, US broadcast television networks focused on presenting new comedy shows to advertisers to attract younger viewers.  

From May 13 to 17, networks hosted “upfronts” or meetings in which executives promoted new shows and program schedules to advertisers. Upfronts allow advertisers to choose and buy commercial slots for programs up front, even months before the shows air.

The four largest broadcast networks—ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC—plan to produce more comedies than dramas this year. Currently, 46 comedies and 35 dramas are under development.

Analyst Brad Adgate from Horizon Media says that comedies have better chances of being selected by advertisers because sitcoms are more popular among the 18-49 age groups. Such groups are the same target audiences of most advertisers.

Furthermore, comedies help bring younger audiences to broadcast networks like CBS, whose average viewer is aged 55.

Experts believe that the major broadcast networks, may have gained between $9.0 billion and $9.2 billion from total upfront sales. Because of recent negative outlook on the economy, however, upfront sales were lower compared to last year.

Competition has also been tougher for broadcast networks recently. Several cable networks are already outpacing some traditional networks. Experts estimated a $9.6 billion to $9.8 billion worth of upfront sales for cable networks this season.

The online video industry, on the other hand, held its own advertisement selling meetings called “newfronts.” Companies like YouTube, Yahoo and AOL are promoting their market share of young audiences to attract advertisers.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Why do you think comedy shows are popular among young people?
·         What do you think will be the effect of increasing comedy shows on TV? Do you think it would be good to have more comedy shows? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Aside from comedy, what shows do you think are popular among young people lately?
·         If you were an advertiser, what kinds of programs would you choose for your commercials? Please explain your answer.


May 31, 2012