Learning to live in Lilliput, the media land where small is beautiful. Optimizing reach with low ratings and other thoughts on TV fragmentation

Erwin Ephron
(Ephron, Papazian Ephron inc.) United States

'Fragmentation' is the new bogeyman1. It used to be 'clutter'. Buyers seem to question whether advertising, as we know it, can survive the loss of the twenty-rated TV show. What a puzzling reaction. We appear anxious and depressed about television's future when we have many reasons to rejoice. Television isn't shrinking, it is splintering. Viewers continue to watch more than twenty-eight hours a week - this audience is simply divided up into more pieces and is being sold by more suppliers. Small can be beautiful. This can be opportunity and not misfortune.

For example, fragmentation can improve targeting. The newer options include FOX, UPN and WB for younger audiences, ESPN for men, CNBC for upper income men, VH1 for teens, Nickelodeon for kids, and so on.