TV media tends to take a multi-path of development in recent years as temporary attractiveness will not survive. While TV dramas, variety shows and thematic programs are gathered on screen, TV stations are paying more efforts on building core programs to transcend from pure content broadcasting to huge influence.
In such a process, there emerge questions like “will TV dramas play a lesser and lesser roles among all kinds of programs?”
Seeing from viewing rate in 2012, TV drams remains audience’s favorite program and act as foundation during the growth of a channel.
1.TV Dramas Purchase Features Master Works and Great Theme
Master works mean big-famed stars, huge investment, quality production and great writing, all are key elements impacting viewing rate and advertising customers’ expectation on next phase and focus interest fighting for with huge bet on a leading TV drama broadcasting platform. The purchase expenditure on great TV Dramas hit a new high in 2013, e.g., Let’s Get Married, to be released on CCTV-8, hits a record of 1.5 million yuan per part.
A couple of TV stations have enjoyed roaring of their ranking by releasing good and great TV dramas, e.g., Night Episode on Countryside Love and Cherry released on Heilongjiang TV, Empresses in the Palace on Dragon TV and Mental Tactics on Tianjin TV etc. in 2012.
These popular dramas have greatly stimulated the TV stations to put huge investment. A pretty number of TV stations spend over half of their advertising income on TV drama purchasing.
Great dramas are profitable but also expensive with limited quantity. This means that most TV stations and channels take great drama releasing just as a hot potato in a specific phase and that they need to do better job in releasing those “lesser” dramas in most of other show times. This is a question a TV station should consider. The general principle for achieving this is to select dramas matching well with the style of the channel and to release in a more proper way. For example, Hunan TV is good at adolescents’ drama, Dragon TV on metropolis drama and Tianjin TV on spy-themed drama. TV stations are keeping exploring their own advantages.
CCTV-8, the most powerful channel on TV dramas in China, features definitely master works and great theme. It releases great works all year round during the primary time. The show time Family Theatre, with top viewing rate at its show time, can be taken as an example in this regard.
2.TV Dramas Show Features More Efforts on Program Arrangementin Days and at Nights
CCTV-8 took the lead in drama arrangement from years ago. It releases 3 parts every evening and shifted to 4 parts after 2012. The extended drama releasing enables audiences enjoy a longer watching and thus contribute to its viewing rate.
Many TV channels with years of stable program arrangement plan on a grave adjustment after the issue of entertainment program ban by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. Since then it has raised up a question to most channels as what should be released during 9 to 10 pm from at least Monday to Friday. During the initial period after issuing the ban, only a small number of channels with power, such as Hunan TV and Jiangsu TV, adjusted to release 3 parts of a drama while most of other channel could leave it vacant or release themed programs or non-variety show. The result was not satisfying for entertainment-oriented channel in particular as sandwich type arrangement featuring a releasing order of dramas, themed program and variety show will easily lose audience. And the time 10 pm is also a peak time for audience makes their change, it is very hard to arrange if drama releasing ends early but audience may already start enjoying other channel if drama releasing ends too late. This results in the decision of releasing 3 other than 2 parts every night even the purchasing cost rises by 50%. Dragon TV started to do so in 2013 and it achieves a viewing rate 43.1% higher than that before adjustment among 29 provincial-level channels, and 67.8% higher among 35 city-level channels. This 3-part drama releasing model thus is followed by more channels.
Besides arrangement at night, consecutive releasing during the day also brings benefit to many of the channels, which release 8 parts of hot dramas in daytime on weekends and during holidays in particular. Such arrangement is peculiarly welcomed by salary earners who have no time to enjoy watching TV during the weekdays and also raises its viewing rate among the city-level channels with younger audience and more optimized audience structure. Repeated release of hot dramas is adopted not only at evening primary time at second and third-tier satellite TVs, but also during the daytime.
3.TV Dramas Marketing Features Extensive Promotion
3.1 Extensive Promotion – Extensively-reaching Topic
For the audience, great drama promotion acts as a thunder on the media and extensively-reaching topic is a thunder generator. Anhui TV proved the power years ago. No matter it raises surprise or suspiciousness, audience curiosity is the most important. As Oscar Wilde says that there is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. Channels will be the winner if its audiences turn to participants and topic promoters.
3.2 Extensive Promotion –Extensive Integration
Each of media is a battlefield, no exception among paper, outdoor, port website, or social communication website.
Comparing with developed competition arena, the channel itself is a free battlefield. Means of integration include high-frequency promotion film releasing, countdown 24 hours before releasing, first release ceremony for great drama, special show with creating team invited on well-viewed program and small themed show after releasing dramas etc.