PBS Primetime Reinvention
PBS will be making a couple changes to its primetime schedule this fall. First, PBS will revamp the lineup by grouping together compatible programs, such as drama Sundays, antiques Mondays, science/nature Wednesdays, and so on.
In addition, starting with Nova on Wednesday nights this fall, sponsor spots will move to internal breaks at the 5 and 55 minute marks of an hour show. Promos would also appear internally at the 20 and 40 minute marks, informing viewers that a program they might like is coming up. There will be no break between programs. The end of one show and the intro of the next will seamlessly flow from one to another, helping retain viewers. This is a major change from the old format of inserting sponsor spots in the time between programs when viewers have a tendency to migrate to other channels.
Benefits: Audience is better served/has better viewing experience -- Viewer frequency and ratings increase -- Time spent watching goes up -- Internally placed sponsor spots are seen by more viewers -- Audience is more informed about when shows are on and why they should keep watching -- Opportunity to increase loyalty and support.
Fewer, shorter interruptions than commercial broadcasting: What distinguishes PBS from other networks is the stories told and the topics covered. That won’t change. The 53+ minutes of content per hour will remain the same - just distributed differently. Audiences will never be more than 1:40 from the next piece of program content. If, as expected, ratings and feedback are good, PBS will add this internal break structure to Antiques Roadshow on Monday nights this winter and presumably other programs in 2012.