Media Planner: TV’s Most Engaging Specials

May 4, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Although the protracted writers strike restricted the number of original episodes of scripted series for several months, the great majority of special programming was still telecast. A few specials were modified; for instance, the annual Golden Globe Awards presentation was reduced to a quasi-press conference.
Ratings measure how many viewers tuned to this season’s broadcast network specials. An additional measure of value is how attentive viewers are to a show.
IAG Research’s measure of attention, Program Engagement (PE), is based on a viewer’s response to questions about a show’s content. Because PE is strongly linked to ad recall, specials with higher PE scores offer a superior environment for commercials.
The table below shows the most engaging special telecast on each of the five broadcast networks since the beginning of the current broadcast season. Excluded from this analysis are theatrical films, news shows and sports programming.
As you can see from the table below, the leaders within each network form an eclectic group. The quintet is different in genre, in program length, in demographic skew and in reported ratings level. There is a holiday special based on a hugely popular film, an awards show, a made-for-TV movie (which introduced, or reintroduced, a scripted series), a miniseries and a more-than-fashion show. Nevertheless, these five programs attracted higher proportions of attentive viewers, a special achievement indeed.

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