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TV Best Buys - Part 3

Furniture World Magazine


A look at programming that reaches recliner and sofa/sleeper buyers.

Recliners and sofa/sleepers have long been important profit centers for home furnishings retailers. For the first time, we will take a look at the television programs people are viewing who are in the market to buy these products. These are the programs that will help you to reach your target customer... the specific buying audience... effectively and efficiently. Here you will find programs that have strong appeal to those people who should, would or could purchase home furnishings from you if you only give them a chance to know who you are, what you carry, where you are located and when you would like these potential customers to come and visit your store.

In September, the programs which will generate the largest audience of people intending to buy recliners and/or sofa/sleepers (with a window of 45 days) are: In the recliner category (priced under $500), #1 is "Party of Five" (FOX) followed by "Ellen" (ABC). #3 is "Grace Under Fire" (ABC) followed by "ABC Saturday Night Movie". The balance of the top 10 are: #5 "Touched By An Angel"; #6 "Dateline-Tuesday" (NBC); #7 "Roseanne" (ABC); #8 is "20/20" (ABC) tied with "Picket Fences" (CBS) and #10 "Married With Children" (FOX).

Best bets for Recliners under $500 are: "Ellen" (ABC) and "Touched By An Angel" (CBS).

In the category of Recliners (priced over $500), the top programs are: #1: "Touched By An Angel" (CBS); #2 is "20/20" (ABC); #3 is "Murphy Brown" (CBS); #4: "CBS Tuesday Movie" (CBS); #5 "Dr. Quinn" (CBS); #6 is "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" (ABC); #7 is "Chicago Hope" (CBS) with #8 "Ellen" (ABC), #9 "ABC Saturday Movie" (ABC) and #10 "NBC Sunday Movie" (NBC). It is safe to say, CBS is a great place to sell recliners, with 50% of the top ten programs in the +$500 category.

In the higher end category, CBS accounts for 50% of the top ten programs, and if you included "Walker, Texas Ranger" on Saturday evenings which placed #13, it becomes even stronger. Why is this important information? The recliner category, especially above the $500 range, according to the survey, scored fourth highest in the ratings for probable sales during this period.

Moving into the Sofa/Sleeper categories, (under $500), the number one program is "Murder One" (ABC), a distinguished program with a smallish audience which has overwhelming numbers from those considering a sofa/sleeper purchase. The number 2 rated program is "48 Hours" (CBS), followed by "Murphy Brown" (CBS), in fourth "Prime Time Live" (ABC) and "Fraiser" (NBC) in fifth. The balance of the top ten are: #6, "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" (ABC); #7, "Single Guy" (NBC); #8, "Simpson's" (FOX); # 9, "Caroline In The City" (NBC) and #10, "Melrose Place" (FOX).

The #3 highest rated category for probable sales during the next 45 days are Sofa/Sleepers above $500. The program that best reaches prospective buyers of sofa/sleepers according to the survey "48 Hours" on CBS. It is one of the highest rated programs in this home furnishings survey with ratings nearly twice as large as the average program number in this category during this period. Well behind, but in #2 is "Prime Time Live" (ABC), followed by #3 "Ellen" (ABC); #4 "Fraiser" (NBC) and #5 "Touched By An Angel" (CBS). "Friends" (NBC is #6, followed by #7 "Single Guy" (NBC); #8 "Murphy Brown" (CBS); #9 "E.R" (NBC) and tied with"E.R." is "Homicide" (NBC).

By far the best bet for this category and for this period is "48 Hours" on CBS. What was missing from these categories, both in recliners and in sofa/sleepers was the lack of viewing within cable networks during this period. Part of that is due to the Summer Games which dominated thinking when this survey was taken. But on the most part, networks have been losing viewership to cable all summer. (For more information on upholstery and cable's rise, see last month's article.)

One final note: These programs are the ones that purchasers of new product have indicated they watch when in the market to buy furniture during a specific period. The Lance Benefield A.T.T.I.T.U.D.E.S survey was taken during the period from February through April, 1996. As a precaution, as time changes, so do the attitudes of the buying public.

Lance G. Hanish is the President of Lance Benefield & Co., Inc. Worldwide, a leading marketing communications firm serving home furnishings retailers. Questions on any aspect of television media management or production can be direct to Mr. Hanish care of FURNITURE WORLD Magazine at lhanish@furninfo.com.