The structure of dayparting has been described in television as an effective way for advertisers to reach different demographic segments throughout the day. With the media landscape and our audiences becoming increasingly fragmented, the old school of thought of dayparting goes out the door.
When you thought of buying primetime, you considered families gathered around the television watching shows appropriate for all ages. Daytime programming was intended for homemakers and stay-at-home moms and the selection was almost limited to only soap operas. Saturday mornings were filled with cartoons for kids and news shows for adults. Late night television and overnights were simply infomercials or movies that no one really watched. But boy have things changed!
The modern day soaps that ran as daytime programming are now primetime dramas that most people can only afford to tune in to once a week. Cartoons can be found all day for all ages on both broadcast and cable networks. Primetime television is mostly reality TV, or some type of talent, fitness, or ‘relationship’ contest. As you can see, not only has programming shifted by daypart, but also the manner in which we view has shifted as well.
The shift in viewing television has been associated with the growth in social media, internet and multitasking consumers. People typically don’t start slowing down with the activities and obligations that fill their day until after 8pm, and now they’re able to watch their shows when, where and how they want.
As media buyers it gives us an opportunity to strategize our television buys and have a leg-up on negotiating rates. We use every trend to leverage rates and maximize our buys. When we want to reach large audiences, we’re able to buy around the inflated primetime programming rates because we know where and how to find our demographic in other places. People are staying up later, and overnights can generate some pretty solid ratings if you’re looking at the cost-per-point.
What I’ve attempted to convey is that dayparting is a great, yet dated mechanism to use for targeting demographics. While it still holds merit, we should consider the shift in consumer behaviors and audience targeting by network and program to be more effective.