A Media Buyer’s Take on Summer TV

August 17, 2016

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As a media buyer, I’m intrigued by ratings, viewers and more. Summer TV used to be an oxymoron. Ratings were low and original content was hard to find. But I would argue we’re getting some peak TV during the summer. Here are just a few of my favorites.

The summer kicked off with the premiere of Game of Thrones on April 26. Ok, the show falls into Q2 but it extended into the summer with the finale at the end of June. The much hyped sixth season saw its highest ratings ever with 8.89 million viewers for the June 26 finale. This translates to a 4.4 rating against the 18-49 demo making it the third highest rated show amongst this target (behind The Walking Dead and Empire) of the year. When you add in streaming devices, DVR and on-demand views, the show has been grossing 23.3 million weekly viewers. So much of the joy of watching Game of Thrones is constantly wondering who's going to die or be resurrected on each episode, making it one of the few shows, other than The Bachelor, that incites group viewing. People have weekly get-togethers around watching the episodes. I actually lost a bet with a friend during such a group viewing which lead to me making a t-shirt featuring Jon Snow and saying “Keith is always right”. Like a Lannister, I paid my debt.

Both Lifetime and USA premiered their most ambitious and buzzworthy projects last summer:

Both Mr. Robot and UnREAL are high quality, critically acclaimed shows from networks that often get ignored. Releasing the shows in summer has given them a chance to find a viewing audience that otherwise would be too occupied watching the hundreds of other options during the year.

Other favorites:

I encourage you to check out these shows. They’re all unique, taking TV in new areas and pushing storytelling in new directions. As media buyers, it’s giving new opportunities for Q2 and Q3 buys as three of the shows mentioned above appear on basic cable. The shows are inspiring strong fandom and creating an incredible weekly schedule for audience viewing. Plus, they’re spurring content beyond the show – content that brands can be a part of – even in summer.