Game theory questions about Japanese TV

by on July 5, 2005 at 5:22 am in Television | Permalink

Have you ever noticed that Japanese TV shows start at odd times?  One show starts at 6:58, another at 7:00, and another at 7:05.  Why is that?

A.  Until several years ago, most Japanese TV shows did start exactly on the hour, but because of the TV ratings war, some stations decided to get the jump on their competitors and start their programs a little earlier. The networks realised that because most programs ended a little before the hour, people would often start channel surfing, but they would be more likely to start watching a station that wasn’t airing commercials at that time. Similarly, if a program runs until a little past the hour, viewers are more likely to watch the next program because they have missed the beginning of programs that have already started on other stations. Now that every station (except NHK) does it, there is nothing to be gained from starting programs earlier or later, and the stations have become trapped in a vicious circle where starting times are getting earlier and earlier.  Thanks to all the people (too numerous to list here) who sent in answers to this question.

Here is the link, which contains a lengthy list of fascinating questions (and answers) about Japan. You could spend half an hour there.  Many Japanese think green is a shade of blue, and they often take off their shoes before committing suicide.

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