In the eighties, I produced what I called “biographical” show opens. For instance, in a religious ministry program, the purpose was to open the program by telling the audience who the pastor or speaker was, what his message was all about, and how it could change their lives. It was a way to let the audience know critical information right away so they could buy into the program based on the credibility of the host or hostess. But that took at least 30-45 seconds, and sometimes longer.
But now, TV show openings (especially for popular programs) are much shorter. The thinking today is to get people into the programs much faster. Much of this perspective comes from living in a 500+ channel universe. In cities with 100 or more cable or satellite channels, our informal research indicates that people take an average of only 2-5 seconds to decide whether or not to watch a particular program. (And for those of us with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, 1 second is all we need!)
Therefore, in a world where people are changing channels so quickly, the real need is to get them into the program much faster and hopefully get them hooked. One of our video editors at Cooke Media Group, who has worked recently with a major television sports network, tells us that particular network has mandated that all program opens be no more than 10 seconds, because that’s when their research indicates people are changing the channel.
How long is your program open? Is you audience getting bored before the real program even starts? Perhaps it’s time to shorten the open and get to the meat of the program before your audience has time to change the channel.