Broadcasting, Programming, and The Audience
Steiner’s model on programming preferences and broadcasting choices
tries 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 largest
Going on the information given about this hypothetical situation, we can
predict what each of the four stations in this market will show.
There are three distinct audience preferences. The first groups of 1200
viewers has a first programming preference of sitcoms and a second choice of
soaps. The second group numbers 900 viewers and would pick cops first and soaps
second. The third group, 500 viewers, likes soaps first and sitcoms and their
This model says that the audience will watch their first choice first
and then the second choice, but only is their first choice is not available.
Let’s say that the Federal Communications Commission licenses station A
in their market. Looking at the viewer preferences, station A would start to
broadcast soaps. By show soaps, it would capture a market of 2600 viewers. All
viewers would watch because soaps is their first choice or it is their second
choice but their first is not available.
The FCC then offers a license to station B. After examining the audience
sizes, stations B also starts to show soaps. By programming to this audience, it
splits the soaps market with station A and both of them have 1300 viewers.
Station B does not pick another programming because no other choice can
offer more than 1300 viewers.
When the FCC offers a license to station C, things will definitely
change in this market. Station C sees the biggest audience available is the
sitcom market with 1200 viewers.
But when station C takes that 1200 viewers from the soap audience which
hold sitcoms as their first choice, station A and B will both drop to 700
viewers. They now have to make a decision. Both can find larger markets
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 does
not like that, so it starts to show sitcoms. Audience 3, with 500 viewers, now
is watching sitcoms because there are no soaps out there. Station A and C are
both 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 D
decides to start broadcasting sitcoms in competition with stations A and C. All
three stations have an audience share of 566. That is more than the 500 soap
viewers or splitting the 900 cops viewers with station B.
Although Steiner’s model is not too far off what happens in today’s
television landscape, it does have a couple of drawbacks that keeps it from
being a true model.
Steiner does not take into consideration that some audiences are more
valuable 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 another
station, they will split the audience equally. That is not always the case.
Viewers will watch the station they believe has the better quality, even if
there are two or three stations showing the same thing.
This model does offer some insights on how stations and networks make
decisions. Just look at the TV Guide and see how many sitcoms there are on any
This also shows why some minority viewers never get programming directed
at them. The stations are going to the majority audiences which have larger
numbers. The minority viewer preferences, under these model, have to have
another station before they get to see their shows, in this situation.
First Copy Costs
First copy costs in the newspaper industry are the fixed costs of owning
a paper and printing the first one.
First copy costs include the money spend on items that are necessary for
the newspaper to be printed. These fixed costs do not vary as the number of
papers increases or decreases. Because they do not vary, they are very important
and must be covered by advertising and subscriptions.
These fixed costs include the physical plant,