Ratings lessons for those who write about TV ratings — you compare ACROSS HOURS (same hours) not with DIFFERENT HOURS



It is comparing apples to oranges to compare a 5pm show to a 7pm show. Hours are very different in television.  No two hours are alike.

See below.

If you want to know how a 5pm show is doing, compare it to OTHER 5pm shows not to another time slot.  You don’t compare a 5pm show to another time slot.  Only other 5pm shows will have the same challenges and advantages.    The competition is to win an hour, with its particular challenges.  Ed Schultz’s competition is THE FIVE on Fox News Channel at 5pm and the 5pm programming at CNN — it is not his colleague Chris Matthews at 7pm.

Different hours in television have different challenges, including different programming competition on other networks, including broadcast, different average of numbers of TV’s turned on in the nation at a particular hour and even different audience viewer appetites for a particular hour. People may want news at 7pm but entertainment at 11pm so naturally a news show will do better at 7pm than 11pm.

You would never compare a 5pm show to a 5am show — so why compare a 5pm show to a 7pm? Those are just very different hours. And why do television writers often do that? They often really don’t understand TV because they are in print.  Print is different from TV.  Comparing newspapers to each other is different from comparing television news shows.