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A Flair for the Dramatic—Dramas Capture Viewers and Ad Dollars
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A Flair for the Dramatic—Dramas Capture Viewers and Ad Dollars

From family feuds to office backstabbings to actual stabbings in the back, American viewers love to watch the drama unfold on their TVs. According to Nielsen’s latest Advertising and Audiences report, there are more dramas on primetime TV this season than any other genre—accounting for 37 percent of all programming across broadcast and cable. Meanwhile, the sports genre was a close second, making up nearly a third (31%) of all primetime programming.

But primetime is just part of the drama genre’s dominance. Drama enthusiasts are also recording their favorite programming to enjoy at their leisure. The genre accounts for roughly two-thirds (62%) of primetime timeshifted viewing, demonstrating that viewers are actively making a date with drama.

It’s not just programmers and viewers who are drawn to dramas—advertisers have taken note of the genre’s value too. And they’re investing in this trend, spending $12 billion in 2013 to reach viewers who are notoriously glued to their sets and at the edge of their seats. This was the most spent among all TV genres last year, followed by general news ($9 billion) and sitcoms ($6 billion).  

But what’s the value of drama’s captive audience for advertisers? As noted in the report, Nielsen TV Brand Effect data has shown that when viewers are engaged in the content they’re watching, they are also more engaged in the ads. 

As shifts in the media landscape become more pervasive, understanding how to capitalize on these changes is imperative for marketers, and the drama genre is emerging as one of the industry’s valued opportunities.