Broadcast and cable networks are struggling to keep up with the multitude of entertainment options available today, including but not limited to streaming services. However, these networks still play a role in the entertainment landscape. In order to maintain their role, they must first assess which shows deliver higher ratings and why. Ratings indicate audience demand for a particular show, which can be unpredictable. Regardless, networks sell commercial spots to advertisers at predetermined prices based on their expectations of future ratings, or demand. As such, this research paper focuses on broadcast networks and investigates two questions: Are broadcast networks able to accurately predict ratings, or audience demand, for their upcoming season of primetime shows, indicated by the predetermined prices for ad spots in the shows? If advertising prices do not reflect audience demand for the upcoming season, what is the reason for this? To address the research questions, a two-part mixed method design of both quantitative and qualitative research was used, showing that broadcast networks have been successful in predicting ratings for their upcoming primetime shows, but they should consider additional factors when creating shows to capture the most audience attention.
Gandhi, Niyati, "Who’s Watching: The Accuracy of Forecasting Broadcast TV Audience Demand Using Advertising Prices" (2021). Honors College Theses. 323.