We’re well acquainted with network television press releases claiming “wins” for this or for that, and we do our share of hyping the horserace that is TV ratings, but does “winning” ever matter more than absolute ratings?

Robert and I disagree.

I believe that all that matters to the business of television are ratings, whether they’re going up or down, and the ad sales those ratings generate. A network would rather finish second with a 1.1 rating than finish first with a 1.0 rating.

Robert believes: “Would  NBC rather win with 1.0 for Leno vs. 0.9 for Letterman than lose 1.2 vs. 1.1?  Bill suggests NBC would absolutely prefer the 1.1 to the 1.0, even if it meant Leno was in second place.  But at those tiny margins I not only think it’s possible that Bill is wrong, I think it’s quite likely.”

While I am never in doubt, I am always ready to be corrected.

So, here’s the question for any television network that would like to respond:

When and why, if ever, is it preferable for your business to finish ahead of the competition with a lower rating for your network, than to finish behind the competition, but with a higher rating for your network? (i.e. when is it better to “win” with a 1.0 rating, than “lose” with a 1.1 rating)

You know where to reach us.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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