Marketing Breakdown

Allan Woodstrom's Marketing Blog

Jay Leno, Habitual Behaviors and Niche Marketing

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Jay LenoNBC confirmed today that they are pulling the plug on the Jay Leno Show prime time experiment.

The experiment started when NBC had to figure out what it could do to keep Leno in their line-up while still promoting the up-and-coming late night show host Conan O’Brien.

Moving Leno to prime time seemed logical. NBC could produce the show at a fraction of the cost to produce a full-hour drama. So despite a drop in ratings, the network figured they could keep profit margins steady.

The lower ratings trickled down to the local news affiliates, who struggled to keep good ratings themselves. The affiliates were the group who ultimately called for the end to the experiment.

It’s sad it had to end this way for the affiliates who had to let a few more good reporters go. Count me as one person who is looking forward to order being restored. For what it is worth, I always preferred Leno to Letterman and never really got into Conan. And as much as I liked Leno, during prime time, there were other shows I preferred.

What does this have to do with Marketing?
Consumers are creatures of habit. If you change something major about a product, like at what time it can be consumed, you run the risk of losing even the most loyal consumers. Which is what happened to me.  The show didn’t fit into my schedule anymore, so I quit watching.

And aside from habits, Leno was up against better competition. Prime time television viewers weren’t interested in viewing late night television. It was like trying to sell a KIA at a Cadillac dealership.

Lessons learned from this experiment are that we must carefully consider the consequences of changing a major component of an established product with an established customer. Habits are a tough thing to change.


Written by Allan Woodstrom

January 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Posted in Marketing, Television

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. […] post:  Jay Leno, Habitual Behaviors and Niche Marketing « Marketing Breakdown Niche Thoughts, marketingare-pulling, confirmed-today, experiment-started, figure-out, […]

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