how does tv make money from ratings?

In this blog, we will address the question “how does TV earn money from ratings?” We will also explore what ratings are, how significant they are in creating income, revenue streams in 2022, and most importantly, how TV generates money from ratings.

how does tv make money from ratings

The rating of a show indicates how many people watch it. They are often quantified by the Nielsen organization, which assigns a unique box to a randomly selected family and monitors their viewing habits. If one Nielsen box is installed in every 10,000 households, then each Nielsen box represents 10,000 views. It’s a flawed system, as certain individuals are more likely to be chosen/willing to join the Nielsen family. Additionally, it excludes features such as DVR, streaming, and so forth.

Based on the show’s ratings, a sponsor can forecast how many people will see an advertisement if they purchase air time during the show. A show like “The Big Bang Theory,” which has continuously been the highest-rated sitcom on television, may attract a large audience, increasing the value of its time. A third-string show on a smaller network attracts fewer viewers and hence costs less.

Finally, the networks sell advertising time to sponsors based on the show’s ratings. The network “purchases” the show for a fixed sum per season by paying the production company “$300,000 per episode” or whatever amount is appropriate based on the show’s ratings and consequently revenue potential.

What are TV ratings

Ratings tell networks, producers, and advertisers how many people viewed a certain show during a given period. While most of us only see the nightly or weekly Nielsen Ratings, marketers and networks see the big picture and know how many people tune out a show after ten minutes, thirty minutes, or switch to another network.

The show’s ratings and cost determine the pricing of television advertising, which is how television stations and producers make money.

The “November Sweeps,” which occur in the first or second week of November, are today’s main indications. Reruns begin about the time the final eight episodes are shot, as do Christmas specials and variety shows, as well as films like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. There is also the Christmas Lane Parade. All of this influences the number of people who watch what and which station.

Streaming is also taken into consideration. NBC, ABC, CBS, The CW, and FOX all allowed fans to see episodes AFTER THEY HAD broadcast, replete with commercials. These advertisements may be one-of-a-kind. Furthermore, the network has real-time information into HOW MANY PEOPLE ATTEND WHICH SHOW. The total amount of “hits” it receives.

A show on the CW or FOX is considered a hit show if it wins on one of the three major networks. The Simpsons are possibly the slowest. The CW and FOX fight to see who has the better network.

There are also demographics to consider. The CW occasionally likes females between the ages of 12 and 20, and if they capture much more of them than Fox or the big three, even if the show comes in last place, they consider it profitable because that is the demographic they want. That is exactly what advertisers want. They are uninterested in the elderly. They have no desire to hire bankers or real estate brokers. They are looking for tiny children, preferably females, although men are invited to observe as well.

As a result, a network’s local winner can be a last-place show. It may be ranked 79th in Nielsen ratings, but if demographics and advertisers continue to support the show, it will continue to air. However, it does not have a large budget.

When a network show receives CW ratings, it can spell disaster for the show. The raw Nielsen statistics, as well as the nightly and weekly averages, are examined by network executives and advertisers to assess whether the essential demographic exists to warrant the show’s continuation.

If it’s Lawerence Welk and they’ve captivated the over-50 demographic, the Geritol crowd and the marketers (Geritol) are delighted, they’ll keep it on the air even if the weekly ratings are in the 40s. It’s a fantastic show for both marketers and the network. They make enough money to cover the show’s expenses plus profit. It has a fan base. And if the show is canceled, they may lose their viewership. If a show is unable to obtain sponsorship. If sponsors want to pay less per 30 seconds. And if the show does not fare well in the sweeps, it is canceled.

TV Shows Revenue Stream in 2022

Online television is television’s newest frontier. As financial arrangements evolve, producers get greater creative control over show costs, hence reducing syndication.

There are significant discrepancies between when shows are made available online and the income they collect at the conclusion. Revenue is generated by advertising, subscriptions, pay-per-view, and sponsorship. Many traditional television networks benefit from the added revenue and brand recognition generated by online television series. Typically, they charge a monthly or per-view price for repeated and second-screen content. The business model for cable television is undergoing dramatic change. They are up against a new breed of cable snobs, including Netflix, Amazon TV, and YouTube.

Additionally, significant Internet service providers and traditional non-broadcast media organizations, such as print media, are transitioning into full-fledged television production studios and relocating their television shows away from cable and into online platforms. However, there has been considerable interest in a pay-per-view business model in which viewers might pay a monthly fee to view one or more episodes.

What’s a Viewer Worth

Every hour of broadcasting includes an astonishing 20 minutes of advertising. Under the present method, each viewer generates one dollar in revenue. As an example, if a television drama attracts 20 million viewers, it will earn $20 million, which can be distributed in a variety of ways. This is why certain shows’ lead actors can be paid up to a million dollars per episode.

A viewer must first watch 20 minutes of advertising before proceeding to watch 40 minutes of television programming, according to the network. Advertisers pay the network $1 each minute to scream obscenities at the defenceless audience member. If all advertisements are 30 seconds long, there may be up to 40 advertisers, which means that each advertiser would spend 2.5 cents per person, or $25 CPM (cost per thousand), which appears to be a decent price to the customer. The genuine cost per thousand impressions (CPM) on primetime television, according to surveys, is around $20. This is a substantial quantity of traffic when compared to other forms of media.

If the clients don’t do the advertising, the efficient cost per thousand impressions doubles, making the commercial unaffordable. To compensate for the problem, TV networks have to to cut advertising costs in half. This is not a prerequisite for success. The idea for online television distribution is excellent. Run advertising before the start of a show and lock it in so you have no choice but to watch it. Then, perhaps once or twice more, repeat the process with a single advertisement. This is a method that the vast majority of people will accept. Furthermore, because online television is frequently on-demand, no DVR is required.

Finances must be reorganized, but they are doomed in any case. My concern is that once Internet-delivered television on demand becomes the norm, they will simply add a lot more advertising to the mix, forcing a rethink. What if I paid $1 to watch television without advertisements, the value I bring to an advertiser? Is that a viable option? Of course, it would, as Apple and others have demonstrated. Its effectiveness may be traced back to the 20-minute advertisement. Would you be willing to spend one dollar to reclaim twenty minutes of your life? That, I believe, is the case.

Finally, we investigated “how television gets money from ratings,” and discovered that a sponsor may estimate the number of people who will see an ad if they buy air time during a show based on its ratings. A show like “The Big Bang Theory,” which has consistently been the highest-rated sitcom on television, may draw a big audience, so raising the value of its time. A third-string show on a smaller network draws fewer viewers and hence has a lower cost.

Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQ): How television gets money from rating

how do tv shows make money on Netflix

Subscription-based streaming services such as Netflix rely on this concept. They charge a monthly fee to access their streaming platform. Their funding is derived from the monthly payments. In this sense, a TV production can still make money by pitching to Netflix.

how do free-to-air channels make money

Free-to-air television makes money by selling advertising space to broadcasters. The more viewers a network provides, the more money it can charge advertisers. Advertisers are attempting to sell their commodities, and this is dependent not only on the number of viewers but also on the demography.

how reality shows make money

A producer earns money initially by pitching a television show to a network. The producer secures the show’s budget and the production process begins. Ads are then used to repay the network’s or broadcaster’s investment. Ads are the most popular revenue stream for television programming.

How much does a TV show cost?

Reality television series have largely dominated network and cable television in recent years due to their strong revenue returns and low production costs. Producing a reality show can cost between $100,000 and more than $500,000 per episode.

how do tv shows make money on streaming services

Subscription-based streaming services such as Netflix operate on this approach. They charge a monthly subscription fee for access to their streaming platform. The TV show receives funding from Netflix, although the funding comes from subscription fees rather than advertisements. Cable operates similarly.

how do tv shows make money to pay actors

Significant roles on popular shows result in substantial wages for television’s top actors, but the benefits don’t end there. When a show is syndicated, redistributed, published on DVD, bought by a streaming service, or used in ways other than those for which the performers were rewarded initially, the actors receive residual income known as royalties.

How much does an episode of a TV show make?

An average television episode is one hour long. Commercials account for one-third of the time on the air or 20 minutes. According to the television business, an average estimate of ad earnings is $1 per viewer. That implies the network will earn $15 million if 15 million people watch the broadcast.


Fink, D. G. , Fisher, . Marshall Jon , Noll, . A. Michael and Fisher, . David E. (2020, January 31). television. Encyclopedia Britannica.