Summer re-runs are an interesting phenomenon to be sure.  Here are a few
1- Belief in the "superiority" of one's own programming.  Summer re-runs
cause viewers to watch the shows they don't normally watch (the second
choice for a given programming night).  If a station believes they truly
have the best programming, but that some people did not "sample" it during
the fall - then summer re-runs ARE an opportunity to steal market share.

2-A related point is that re-runs are a form of advertising of the program
(to "hook" new viewers, and as such might be justified even if they did have
a marginal cost, but --->

3- The fact that the marginal cost of re-runs is zero (or very near) is also
important. (As a side note, one should probably consider that advertising
revenues might be higher for new programming; but the question of whether a
new episode of <insert some marginal program here> is worth more than a
re-run of <insert ultra-popular show here> is a separate one which has
probably been looked at elsewhere. )  Can anyone help me here?

4- Intuitively, it might seem as if the networks have an excess capacity
problem (not using their studios in the summer).  Maybe the studios and
background workers who would be more apt to work "year round" are used to
make TV movies in the off season.

5- It is conceivable that some combination of actor's unions and the
preferences of "stars" <who have monopoly rents associated with their names
and talents> have kept this system in place (perhaps to preserve
opportunities to make movies).

Didn't some of the newer networks (FOX and UPN) experiment with new episodes
year-round in their early years?
-----Original Message-----
From: Lehmann, Ray (CTG) <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Date: Monday, July 10, 2000 2:07 PM
Subject: Summer reruns

>It strikes me the recent wild success of "reality-based" television
>like Survivor, Big Brother, and 1900 House can largely be attributed to the
>fact that these, along with sports and news programs, constitute just about
>the only original content on the major networks during their summer hiatus.
>Which causes me to wonder how it is that the tradition of  "summer reruns"
>has managed to last so long. Why have the networks apparently been averse
>breaking  the tradition and producing more original content in the summer
>capture market share from their rivals?
>R.J. Lehmann
>Retail Editor
>Travel Weekly
>(201) 902-1931 (v)
>(201) 319-1947 (f)

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