Advertising shows on other stations

I don’t get this. Why do stations run ads for shows that appear on other stations? I assume the theory behind it is to increase viewership of the advertised show, improving rating and perhaps ad revenues, but every viewer that tunes into “XBC” channel after seeing an ad for it on “XBS” channel is one fewer potential viewer for whatever XBS is running in that timeslot.

I don’t recall ever seeing ads for one network on another unless the networks were somehow related (Fox & FX, for example). I think some of the cable stations (Bravo, A&E, USA, etc.) have the same parent company, so it’s merely a means of cross-promotion.

But if you’re talking about CSI ads on ABC or West Wing ads on Fox (unless we’re talking about syndicated episodes and local affiliates), I can’t say I’ve ever seen that happen.

No, I’m talking about the former, ads for Fox shows on FX and the like. I understand that they’re doing it to promote other shows they own, but if I’m watching, what’s a Fox show, America’s Ugliest Hidden Camera Millionaires or whatever, I can’t be watching that NASCAR reality series on FX. They can’t create a viewer of show 1 without losing a (potential) viewer of show 2.

Sure you can, with the magic of TiVo, or a plain old VCR if you want to be primative. Plus, they can put the idea of the show in your head, and then change the time slot of one of them so they don’t conflict. (Or are you saying you only watch one show a day, regardless of the time?)

Of course they can; in fact, they can’t really lose viewers with this strategy–only gain some.

Let’s say you’re watching Fox at 6:00 but have no intention of watching what’s on Fox at 8:00. Now comes an advertisement, “Tonight on FX! 8:00! Be there!” and that’s something you are interested in seeing. Now, whereas you were going to watch 0 Fox-owned TV stations at 8:00, now you’re going to watch one. Unless you memorize the TV Guide, you’re not always aware of what’s playing on other stations the next night or the next week. Cross-advertising pulls in more likely viewers, often by offering programming that reaches multiple demographics.

Sure, some people might ditch Fox for FX on a particular night because of the ads, but that’s out one pocket and in another in the grand scheme of things–and rest assured, the people who own these stations would rather you leave Fox for FX than for Bravo or ABC.