Essay topics: The following is a memorandum from the business manager of a television station.
"Over the past year, our late-night news program has devoted increased time to national news and less time to weather and local news. During this period, most of the complaints received from viewers were concerned with our station's coverage of weather and local news. In addition, local businesses that used to advertise during our late-night news program have canceled their advertising contracts with us. Therefore, in order to attract more viewers to our news programs and to avoid losing any further advertising revenues, we should expand our coverage of weather and local news on all our news programs."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
The proposed solution in this manager’s memorandum to increase the number of viewers and to avoid further loss on advertising revenue is to revert program time allocation to its previous situations. There are two ultimate goals that the manager aims at: 1. to boost the number of late-night viewers, and 2. to prevent advertising revenue cut. The logic of his argument follows as that because the late-night news program has been restructured to show more national news while cutting down weather and local news, the viewers and business partners are not satisfied, thus resulting in a decline in viewership and a withdrawal of advertising. Therefore, in order to revert this outcome, the station needs to revert its actions. The manager, however, cannot justify his solution with the given information. No substantial evidence are presented to prove the efficacy of his hypothesized solution.
First of all, a causal relationship between the decline in viewership, business withdrawal and late-night news program has been assumed and predicated but not proven. To examine this relationship more carefully, one must rule the possibility that other factors might contribute to the setback. Competitive programs, for instance, can attract viewers and business as well. In the case where its competition is gaining competence, the station will not rejuvenate by the manager’s proposal. Other potential causes include but are not limited to economy crises, during which people cannot afford cables, general health concern promotion, which caused people to spend less time on late-night activities and etc,. Moreover, business withdrawal is not directly related to viewership. Although ostensibly most advertisement bidders hope to maximize their product’s appearance by displaying their product at the most viewed programs, their final goal is to improve revenue, which is best done with a targeted audience. Hence, an adverting company does not annul their contracts because of a drop in television program viewership; it must have also experience a drop in its targeted customers. As a result, the station must fathom the fundamental reason of this plunge in targeted audience before they are able to solicit business partnership. In short, the reason behind this station’s setback is not necessarily the change of programs. The manager based his argument on oversimplified assumptions and thus cannot provide a strong case for his recommended change.
Secondly, even if the causal relationship is justified, there is no guarantee that a reversal could reset the status. Assuming that the viewers and business disengage from the program because they felt that the late-night news board-casting national news are, for whatever reason, disappointing, brining back weather and local news is still not a validated countermeasure. The simplest reasoning is people’s inertia, or loyalty. It would be easy to drive away viewers by showing undesirable contents, but it would be hard to attract and solidify. With all the possible programs a viewer has access to, one does not simply settle for, nor leave a certain program without considerations. Customer loyalty, a common term in commercial world, is at the heart of every successful business. For the station to expel its viewers and business partners it could be a shift from local news to national news, but for the station to win them back it would not be a naive counter-shift. Furthermore, with a volatile program, the station risks at being perceived as capricious. Viewers who are just accustomed to national news at late-night could be aghast at the weather and local news program and thus leaving the program. In this situation, old viewers are not driven back, new viewers are driven away, causing further damage to the station. In the attempt to attract viewers, the manager' tactic could be counterproductive.
To conclude, the manager is well-intended to concern about the stations’ recent impediment; yet his attempt at proffering a solution is based on false preconditions and false causal relationships. In order to justify his solution, the manager must provide support for the premises he made, and a reasoning for the necessary outcome of it.
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