The following information is pertinent to the vitality and success of the FOX 24 cable-programming national network. It is necessary to discuss the importance of the ratings and shares system to enable FOX to increase viewership in the local TV market of 247, 780 (. 235% of US). This market is highly competitive among the affiliates of the other major networks: ABC, CBS and NBC.

The target demographics for FOX include an average age of 28 years with a $55, 000 annual income. 56% of viewers are male while 43% are female, and of these only 37% have a college degree. Due to such specifics, it is imperative that keep a variety of shows that appeal to a wide range of young adults. The FOX Family Channel is more oriented towards children and families. The data compiled by the Nielsen Media Research is essential to TV programming across the United States and in Canada. It monitors television ratings and estimates audience sizes by providing the highest quality of accuracy, allowing the television marketplace to function effectively.

This information provides programmers and commercial advertisers with the awareness of people's viewing habits. Depending on air times and the popularity of certain shows, the station calculates the advertising fees that generate a majority of its revenue. All TV shows are ranked in order each week according to their ratings. Ratings are simply a tally of how many viewers watched a specific TV program and are surveyed nationwide every minute of every day.

The 'sweeps' are four months out of every year (November, February, May and July) when Nielsen measures every local TV market in detail in addition to the ongoing national surveys. The rating system involves mathematical statistics with a focus on percentages. For example, there are 100 million homes in the world with TV sets. A rating aims to answer the direct question, 'What percentage of the television homes in the world is watching a particular telecast?' A rating of 15 means 15%, or 15 million homes, were watching. At certain slow times during the day and night it is difficult to get viewers. The total viewing audience, the homes who are actually watching their television sets, is called the HUT, or Homes Using Television.

At 8 p. m. , the daily peak for television viewing, the HUT is approximately 70. That is, 70% of the television homes in the world are watching something. At 2 a. m.

it is closer to only 5%. A typical prime-time HUT is 60, which represents 60 million homes. By using the rating and the HUT it is possible to determine the share. The share is the calculation of what percentage, or 'share,' the rating is of the HUT. In other words, what share of the available viewers did a program reach? The 15 rating out of a common HUT of 60 is a 25 share because 15 is 25% of 60.

Having a 15 rating and a 25 share is acceptable - the program will then probably be renewed. Lead-in programs are extremely important to understand when dealing with syndicated and local programming. A lead-in program generally premieres at 7: 00 PM on weekdays. It is necessary that this program be strong and engaging enough to get viewers to watch it, hopefully persuading them to continue tuning in to the rest of the shows on prime-time without switching channels. An interesting lead-in program should make viewers think that the rest of the nightly programming for WHAT will be just as enticing.

During November of 2000 last year, 3 rd Rock from the Sun was the syndicated lead-in program for FOX, premiering at 7: 00 PM on Monday through Fridays. This show brought in an average household rating of 2%. This means that in the local market area, only 2% of all TVs in the United States were watching 3 Rd Rock from the Sun. The share was 4%, meaning that 4% of all TVs turned on saw 3 rd Rock. The demographics for the show fall consistently between age and gender, showing ratings between 3% and 5%, excluding children from the ages of 2 to 11. Total households watching 3 rd Rock from the Sun equaled 9.

Out of 112 adults viewing, men dominated the viewer ship over women. A mean of 70 men, ages 18 to 54, watched 3 rd Rock from the Sun, versus a mean of approximately 35 for women ages 18 to 54. In the category of children ages 2 to 11, 37 watched the lead-in program compared to only 23 of teens 12 to 17. Being the lead-in program, 3 rd Rock from the Sun faced tough competition from the other major network affiliates. Compared to 3 rd Rock from the Sun's petty 2% rating and 4% share, Frasier pulled in a 9% rating and a 19% share, closely followed by Wheel of Fortune with a 9% rating and 18% share.

Living Single had only slightly higher statistics than 3 Rd Rock from the Sun with a 4% rating and an 8% share. Presently, several of FOX's prime time shows have had adequate statistics. The most prominent, That '70 s Show, which airs on Tuesdays at 8: 00 PM, had a rating of 6. 7% and a share of 11% out of an average of 10. 3 viewers.

However, it is ranked in the 49 th position, barely in the top 50 TV shows for the week. Unfortunately, for the past several months in the 2001 season, FOX has failed to provide a Top 20 TV show for prime-time cable programming. NBC leads with the highest rated shows: Friends, ER, The West Wing and Law & Order. To continue a strong viewership, it is with careful consideration that FOX should decide to revaluate its syndicated programming for the lead-in and prime time shows. Without a strong Top 20 program, advertisers are less likely to buy air space from FOX, thus causing revenues to drop and the company to falter.