For decades, the scheduling of programmes has always had strong influence not only as to which shows are aired at various timeslots, but also which shows get top ratings. These days, with so many viewing options out there, schedulers are more concerned with determining the best time for a show depending on how it performs on other platforms. The stakes of attaining the lion’s share of the audience is getting higher, and networks are aware that devising a foolproof schedule is almost impossible.

“We schedule programmes for AXN and Sony Channel based on knowing our viewers inside and out – what do they want to watch, on which device and when? Content consumption habits are constantly evolving so we need to be flexible to ensure we remain relevant,” says Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia’s (SPT) Senior Vice President and General Manager, Hui Keng Ang.

To some, the idea of organising television programmes by specified time slots might seem outdated in this generation where people are getting more flexibility to watch shows whenever they want. From Netflix to Youku Tudou, there are several options abound for “time-shifting” of shows.

“The digital lifestyle today has transformed the way audiences consume content. Our scheduling would have to take into consideration the mass audience appeal and making them easily accessible online through Toggle to allow our viewers the ease of catching up on their favourite dramas, anytime, anywhere and on any devices,” says MediaCorp’s Bernard Lim, Head, Family Segment, Customer Group.

MediaCorp’s Channel 8 programmes are scheduled by time-belts, mirroring the availability of audiences by lifestyle. Dayparting on Channel 8 typically involves programmes that are serialised and would resonate with the older viewers, for instance, Taiwanese long-form serials and infotainment programmes.

However, while time-shifting increases, schedulers are ready to defend their craft and point out that a majority of broadcast prime-time viewing still happens the traditional way, as shows are airing, according to Nielsen.

Similarly in the past, prime-time is when networks maximise ratings and revenue. A show’s success is still indelibly linked to strong viewing during initial air times.

“Prime-time is hugely important as it is when many of our viewers return home after a long day and want to sit back and be thoroughly entertained by AXN and Sony Channel’s great shows. Primetime is broadly defined as weekday evenings from 6pm – 1am. The lead-in shows prior to primetime are also key as they need to encourage viewers to stay tuned in for the upcoming premieres,” says Ang.

Besides the obvious uptick in ratings, the buzz that is generated by effective programming is crucial in the modern days’ television experience which goes far beyond linear. Hit programmes have strong chances at being made into cash-filled reruns, especially on the Web.

“In the past two years, the Channel has made concerted efforts in improving its offerings whether in terms of content quality, focus on target or period of telecast. This has resulted in a 0.4% increase in its prime-time ratings from FY13/14 to FY14/15,” says MediaCorp’s Lim.

For SPT, one trend that cuts across the region is the demand for day-and-date telecasts with the U.S. Viewers are increasingly demanding and eager to keep pace with the latest episodes. One focus is to always ensure that programmes are delivered as close to the U.S. as possible. Content today also needs to be social, and at the centre of digital ‘watercooler’ conversations across the various platforms. Another focus for AXN is to encourage viewers to get involved during the broadcast of a particular episode – either by second screen apps, live tweeting or Facebook conversations.

“Asia’s Got Talent and The Voice are great examples of social television, where we have virtual gatherings of fans sharing their thoughts on the events unfolding in real time,” says Ang.

For decades, the scheduling of programmes has always had strong influence not only as to which shows are aired at various timeslots, but also which shows get top ratings. These days, with so many viewing options out there, schedulers are more concerned with determining the best time for a show depending on how it performs on other platforms. The stakes of attaining the lion’s share of the audience is getting higher, and networks are aware that devising a foolproof schedule is almost impossible.

“We schedule programmes for AXN and Sony Channel based on knowing our viewers inside and out – what do they want to watch, on which device and when? Content consumption habits are constantly evolving so we need to be flexible to ensure we remain relevant,” says Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia’s (SPT) Senior Vice President and General Manager, Hui Keng Ang.

To some, the idea of organising television programmes by specified time slots might seem outdated in this generation where people are getting more flexibility to watch shows whenever they want. From Netflix to Youku Tudou, there are several options abound for “time-shifting” of shows.

“The digital lifestyle today has transformed the way audiences consume content. Our scheduling would have to take into consideration the mass audience appeal and making them easily accessible online through Toggle to allow our viewers the ease of catching up on their favourite dramas, anytime, anywhere and on any devices,” says MediaCorp’s Bernard Lim, Head, Family Segment, Customer Group.

MediaCorp’s Channel 8 programmes are scheduled by time-belts, mirroring the availability of audiences by lifestyle. Dayparting on Channel 8 typically involves programmes that are serialised and would resonate with the older viewers, for instance, Taiwanese long-form serials and infotainment programmes.

However, while time-shifting increases, schedulers are ready to defend their craft and point out that a majority of broadcast prime-time viewing still happens the traditional way, as shows are airing, according to Nielsen.

Similarly in the past, prime-time is when networks maximise ratings and revenue. A show’s success is still indelibly linked to strong viewing during initial air times.

“Prime-time is hugely important as it is when many of our viewers return home after a long day and want to sit back and be thoroughly entertained by AXN and Sony Channel’s great shows. Primetime is broadly defined as weekday evenings from 6pm – 1am. The lead-in shows prior to primetime are also key as they need to encourage viewers to stay tuned in for the upcoming premieres,” says Ang.

Besides the obvious uptick in ratings, the buzz that is generated by effective programming is crucial in the modern days’ television experience which goes far beyond linear. Hit programmes have strong chances at being made into cash-filled reruns, especially on the Web.

“In the past two years, the Channel has made concerted efforts in improving its offerings whether in terms of content quality, focus on target or period of telecast. This has resulted in a 0.4% increase in its prime-time ratings from FY13/14 to FY14/15,” says MediaCorp’s Lim.

For SPT, one trend that cuts across the region is the demand for day-and-date telecasts with the U.S. Viewers are increasingly demanding and eager to keep pace with the latest episodes. One focus is to always ensure that programmes are delivered as close to the U.S. as possible. Content today also needs to be social, and at the centre of digital ‘watercooler’ conversations across the various platforms. Another focus for AXN is to encourage viewers to get involved during the broadcast of a particular episode – either by second screen apps, live tweeting or Facebook conversations.

“Asia’s Got Talent and The Voice are great examples of social television, where we have virtual gatherings of fans sharing their thoughts on the events unfolding in real time,” says Ang.