Why Prime Time TV Shows Start So Late

the essential
The prime time shows of the main television channels start later and later. The CSA had auditioned the main channel bosses in 2019. Nothing has changed since.

The TV night that starts at 8:30 p.m.? It is a time that those under 20 cannot know, as Charles Aznavour sang. Year after year, the prime time schedule has shrunk by 45 minutes. Saturday evening, “The Voice” TF1’s flagship program started at 9:13 p.m. It was announced at 9:05 p.m.

The delay specialist is C8. Its prime-time started at 9:24 p.m. on average instead of the announced 9:15 p.m., according to the calculations of the Parisian in January. That’s 9 minutes longer than two years ago. Cyril Hanouna rarely finishes TPMP on time. On TF1, prime time starts four minutes longer than two years ago at 9:14 p.m. on average. Five years ago, the average was 8:51 p.m. for all channels combined.

A multitude of programs before the evening movie

It must be said that between the 8 p.m. news and the evening program, the first channel broadcasts the Loto or “My million”, the weather forecast and “C’est Canteloup”. With advertising breaks between each program. On France 2, between the newspaper and the evening program, the programs are also numerous: the weather, “Let nature in”, “Basic, the essentials of music” and the series “Un si grand soleil”. Same situation on France 3 with the soap opera “Plus belle la vie”, “Tout le sport”, “Let nature enter” and the weather forecast before the evening program.

All prime-time broadcasts of the main DTT channels officially start at 9:05 p.m., which has become the new common time. With the commercial breaks on the private channels, the program rarely ends before 11 p.m. or even later. Some of the spectators must sometimes not see the end of the film…

“A fed up of viewers”

The new president of the CSA Roch-Olivier Maistre, had made it a priority of his mandate in 2019. The superior council of the audio-visual then felt “a fed up of the televiewers”. The regulatory authority had received the bosses of the audiovisual groups to let them know.

Asked by the Parisianthe director of C8 Franck Appietto explained: “We are adapting to the habits of consumers who take more time to make dinner. It is the viewers who impose their rhythm on the channels, not the other way around”.

Lockdown changes lifestyles

However, the relationship of the French to TV has changed since the first confinement. If the peak audience for a TV evening was at 9:27 p.m. at the start of 2020 – 25 million people were watching TV at that time – the peak audience fell at 8:45 p.m. during the two confinements, according to Médiamétrie. Right on time with advertising breaks sold at a high price. With the strong development of teleworking and the 6 p.m. curfew since January 16, our lifestyles have evolved.

Thus, more and more French people no longer wait for 9:05 p.m. to watch their favorite programs. Replays have never worked so well. On the side of France Télévisions, since last September, we offer the programs and programs of the day in preview from 6 am on the internet. Without forgetting Netflix, Amazon prime or Disney plus which are attracting more and more viewers.

Why Prime Time TV Shows Start So Late