Study Indicates UPN, ABC Lead Broadcast Clutter-Rich Stakes

May 16, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Media agency MPG North America has released a study that shows in January 2005 UPN and ABC ran the most nonprogram prime-time minutes of any of the networks-about 14 minutes per hour.

UPN’s number of nonprogram minutes was actually slightly higher than ABC’s: 13.9 minutes versus 13.8 minutes. Nonprogram time includes paid commercial TV time, direct response time, nonpaid network promotional time and public service announcements.

“UPN must have realized it had a lot of catching up it could do,” said Nina Kanter, director of communication analysis for MPG North America. “In 2001 they were the second to lowest with Fox.”

CBS was in third place with 12.5 minutes. NBC was next at 12.4. Fox and The WB each had 12.3 minutes.

Over the past five years UPN also had the greatest gain, growing by 2.7 minutes and nearly doubling the gains of its nearest rivals, ABC and Fox. NBC and The WB had the smallest gains in nonprogram time-NBC up just 0.3 minutes per hour, while The WB inched to 0.4 minutes per hour.

A Snapshot in Time

The survey, relased last week, also noted UPN had just under five minutes per hour of product placement in its TV shows, the most of any network. Fox was next at 3.50 minutes, then NBC (2.83), The WB (1.95), CBS (1.76), and ABC (1.54).

For cable, MTV had the most nonprogram material, averaging 17.1 minutes per hour. Next came VH1 at 16.6 minutes. AMC, with just over 12 minutes per hour, had the least. MPG examined 15 of the biggest cable networks.

History Channel, USA and Discovery Channel nonprogram time was up more than 2 minutes per hour from 2001. E! and Fox News, surprisingly, went in the other direction. E! cut back 0.8 minute; Fox News sank 0.4 minute.

Daytime featured considerably more nonprogram minutes than did prime time. NBC and ABC were virtually tied at a little over 18 minutes per hour. ABC was down slightly at 0.4 minute per hour from 2001; NBC was off 0.5 minute per hour. CBS came in lower overall than ABC and NBC with 16.5 minutes per hour.

Ms. Kanter noted the study was a snapshot in time produced for an undisclosed MPG client. MPG cautioned that nonprogram time can fluctuate based on a variety of factors: market demand, ratings performance and inventory management. For example, specific networks may want to assign more promo time for specific programming periods or to soak up unsold inventory.