The Definition of a Broadcast Schedule and Television Marketing
Language: Italian This thesis is written in Italian
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Original Italian title:
Costruzione dei palinsesti e marketing televisivo
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Chiara El Rikabi, Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione (IULM), 2003-04
Chiara El Rikabi
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Academic area
This degree thesis aims at analysing the problems related to the definition of a broadcast schedule and the strategies of television marketing, portraying Mediaset’s world in particular.
A concrete description of a less commonly known and dealt aspect of the whole television world was meant to be described: that is the definition of a broadcast schedule, its logics, its form and its contents, together with the analysis and the strategies adopted in order to draft it, focusing on the draft of Mediaset’s schedules.
Further to the themes related to the broadcast schedule itself, I wanted to deepen the study of the marketing techniques, which are obviously peculiar if compared to the tactics chosen by a common company.
First of all, I pictured an overall outlook of the Italian television situation, giving, thus, a hint to the differences between Paleo and Neotelevision , the phenomenon of the Italian television going American the historical origins of the television sector and the close link between television means and advertising; then I focused on television enterprises’ dynamics: as a matter of fact I thought it was important to sketch in the main functions and the operative context of a television company, as its management has never been deeply analysed, whereas in such a highly competitive industry as the television one, only a great professionalism can lead to the company’s success. Further to the analysis of the television product (represented by the broadcast schedule) and thus the demand on that product, I took care of the fiction and non fiction programmes, as they represent the raw materials on which the process of defining a schedule is moulded. Following the survey of the television copyright market and the format market, I concentrated on the study of television competition, ending the analysis of television companies’ management with a brief study on Mediaset Group’s economic situation.
The core of the thesis lies in the analysis and study of the broadcast schedules and of the television marketing, which allowed to remark some interesting points, all based on the essential observation that the market of television and the market of advertising are linked by a double bond, thanks to the fundamental instrument of television offer, that is the broadcast schedule, which is a joint between the television system and the advertising system.
On the television market, the programmes represent the production factors, the broadcast schedule represents the product and the viewers are the consumers. Whereas on the advertising market, the broadcast schedule represents the production factor, the viewers are the products and the advertisers are the customers.
On the basis of these considerations, I could observe .how capable is the advertising market to condition the enterprise logics of the television market, as the production and the definition of the broadcast schedule is aimed at appealing the highest number of viewers. Therefore, this is the basic reason why television channels are pushed to organise the entire production routine around the broadcast schedule, which is considered as a “place” where its offer can be located in relation to its public’s demand.
Taking into consideration a supermarket structure as a parallel, I believe that the broadcast schedule can be consider such as a kind of “shelf of the television offer”: consisting in films, serials, reality shows, quizzes, games and information, which can satisfy the viewers’ demand and moreover, it allows to build an imagination world, as it stimulates dreams and desires thanks to the continuous attendance of its characters, who represent a bonding agent in this “virtual village”.
Scheduling strategies have a huge relevance nowadays, they have had to develop peculiar techniques over the last years, the first is counter scheduling, aimed at trying to gain higher and higher audience shares and to gain a channel identity which can feature each channel as unique if compared to another one.. In particular, in order to reach this last goal, one of the most used instrument is self promotion, that is the dissemination of trailers in the broadcast schedules which advertise programmes going to be broadcast in the future. As to the features of the channel schedules, there are relevant differences between the RAI’s model and the Mediaset’s model: the difference in the definition of the channel scheduling of the public adv agency, which contains more information programmes, in comparison to the private channels, where there are mainly entertaining broadcasts, may be brought about by the sources of gains. Companies based on the selling of advertising tend to prefer sorts which can appeal to a higher share of viewers; RAI, instead, is mainly supported by the TV licence fee, and ought to broadcast educational or cultural programmes. As to television enterprises financed by advertising, the goal consists in the audience maximization, as the reference market is represented by the advertising investors, who consider the number of people they can reach, the texture of the audience and the cost needed to reach the viewers when purchasing spaces in the broadcast scheduling.
Defining a programme scheduling mainly means working on the time and choosing the most suitable segments where different programmes can be placed in order to allow the viewer to “consume” them, thus the marketing professionals need to define the different kinds of people and when they are at home during the day and which are their television consume habits.
The draft of the programme scheduling turns out to be a demanding process, as the programming scheme needs to be flexible, in order to be able to keep it adjustable on the basis of the competitors’ choices, but it has also to be firm and drawn up in advance, as it has to be introduced to the adv agency as soon as possible in order to sell the advertising spaces. As a result of the analyse of its features, some criteria must be respected (for instance the convenience between sort and time band, the prime time rules, the need “not to break up” the viewers, and mainly the need to counter schedule), moreover the single programme schedule should not bring about competition inside the same network. Actually, the processes referring to the programme scheduling inclination are extremely complicated and this led to the developing of specific scheduling techniques, which were detected from the American world, as the US networks had to build their own schemes in relation to competition since their very beginning.
Furthermore, the difficulties in renewing the broadcast scheduling were shown mainly for the private network: defining how far a commercial channel has to be innovative is a difficult task, as innovation is a need but not a commercial TV’s flair.
Dealing concretely with the television marketing, as a result of the analysis of Mediaset Marketing office’s organisation and the tasks, it was clear that the Marketing Broadcast Management, the Product Area and the Broadcast Scheduling and Coordination Aree, are perfectly coordinated, although they have specific functions. Furthermore, Mediaset consists in three channels that is three Channel Managements, Through the study of the structure of Retequattro’s Management, it was clear that each channel needs to be placed suitably considering the viewers’ market. Retequattro’s identity is peculiarly stunning, and the complicated replacement operations it underwent over the last years accordingly to the needs shown by the advertising market and mainly by Mediaset’s adv agency (Publitalia 80); such replacement has started been profitable and the channel is now targeted to an enlarged public, consisting mainly in male and more educated people; that, without losing the previous audience.
The viewers’ preferences, television consume in general, the television market trend and mainly the image the people perceive of the programmes and the channel’s people were surveyed through the researches commissioned by Mediaset
It is possible to understand if the public perceives those images mainly through the verification of Auditel’s data, whose data gathering is the topic of the last chapter, where I focused particularly on the meaning TV gurus five to audience, that is on the way decisions are taken on the basis of Auditel’s data.
As I dealt with this topic, I considered it was important to give relevance to the various aspects on the basis of which the television mechanisms can be surveyed, joining the study of the broadcasting scheduling draft to the marketing techniques and instruments, mentioning the precious function of the audience indexes too, which lie at the basis of all analysis referred to the programmes, the people and the public profile.

EDITORIAL NOTE: this thesis consists in 347 pages