Broadcasting, Programming, and The AudienceSteiner’s ModelSteiner’s model on programming preferences and broadcasting choicestries to show how stations come to the conclusion of what programming to show. This model goes on the assumption that broadcasters will go after the largestaudience possible. Going on the information given about this hypothetical situation, we canpredict what each of the four stations in this market will show. There are three distinct audience preferences. The first groups of 1200viewers has a first programming preference of sitcoms and a second choice ofsoaps. The second group numbers 900 viewers and would pick cops first and soapssecond.
The third group, 500 viewers, likes soaps first and sitcoms and theirsecond choice. This model says that the audience will watch their first choice firstand then the second choice, but only is their first choice is not available. Let’s say that the Federal Communications Commission licenses station Ain their market. Looking at the viewer preferences, station A would start tobroadcast soaps.
By show soaps, it would capture a market of 2600 viewers. Allviewers would watch because soaps is their first choice or it is their secondchoice but their first is not available. The FCC then offers a license to station B. After examining the audiencesizes, stations B also starts to show soaps. By programming to this audience, itsplits the soaps market with station A and both of them have 1300 viewers. Station B does not pick another programming because no other choice canoffer more than 1300 viewers.
When the FCC offers a license to station C, things will definitelychange in this market. Station C sees the biggest audience available is thesitcom market with 1200 viewers. But when station C takes that 1200 viewers from the soap audience whichhold sitcoms as their first choice, station A and B will both drop to 700viewers. They now have to make a decision. Both can find larger marketselsewhere.
One station, and it does not matter which one, will switch to cop shows. For this hypothetical, station B would choose cops for 900 viewers. Station A, who still is showing soaps, now only has 500 viewers. It doesnot like that, so it starts to show sitcoms.
Audience 3, with 500 viewers, nowis watching sitcoms because there are no soaps out there. Station A and C areboth showing sitcoms and are splitting a viewer audience of 1700 for 850 each. Now that the viewers are confused about what station is showing what,the FCC offers a fourth license to station D. After examination, station Ddecides to start broadcasting sitcoms in competition with stations A and C.
Allthree stations have an audience share of 566. That is more than the 500 soapviewers or splitting the 900 cops viewers with station B. Although Steiner’s model is not too far off what happens in today’stelevision landscape, it does have a couple of drawbacks that keeps it frombeing a true model. Steiner does not take into consideration that some audiences are morevaluable to advertisers than others. Because advertisers want certain viewers,stations might program to that audience to attract more advertising dollars. Steiner also assumes that as stations go into competition with anotherstation, they will split the audience equally.
That is not always the case. Viewers will watch the station they believe has the better quality, even ifthere are two or three stations showing the same thing. This model does offer some insights on how stations and networks makedecisions. Just look at the TV Guide and see how many sitcoms there are on anygiven night. This also shows why some minority viewers never get programming directedat them. The stations are going to the majority audiences which have largernumbers.
The minority viewer preferences, under these model, have to haveanother station before they get to see their shows, in this situation. First Copy CostsFirst copy costs in the newspaper industry are the fixed costs of owninga paper and printing the first one. First copy costs include the money spend on items that are necessary forthe newspaper to be printed. These fixed costs do not vary as the number ofpapers increases or decreases. Because they do not vary, they are very importantand must be covered by advertising and subscriptions.These fixed costs include the physical plant,