Fringe Time

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Definition: Fringe Time

Fringe time, as opposed to prime-time, is used for the airing of syndicated programmes on television. Fringe time is the time which is just before or after the main slot, i.e. the prime time.


Fringe time may come before or after prime-time. When programmed immediately before the evening’s prime-time schedule, it is called “early fringe”, and if it is screened after the local evening news or the late night shows, it is called “late fringe”. Syndication comes in two forms:

• Off-network syndication, older shows, which are no longer running, is made available for reruns on the local TV network. This is usually done to boost the ratings. E.g., reruns of highly popular shows like ‘Friends’ and ‘Seinfeld’.

• First-run syndication, are made specifically for sale into syndication markets.


The primetime and fringe times are decided by a practice known as dayparting, in which the day is divided into several parts or slots. In each slot, a radio or TV program is aired. The programs are decided upon keeping in mind the demographic profile of the viewing population and the activities undertaken by them at that time.


Fringe time is a term used for the delineation of time by the television broadcast industry in order to be able to sell commercial time on the basis of the audience size and demographics. Early fringe is the time period between 4.30 pm and 7.30 pm. It is named so because it comes before than prime-time and so is on the early side (or fringe) of prime time. The advertising cost is lesser here than in prime-time and the audience catered to is all-family (same as in prime time). So, the advertiser may consider advertising here in order to catch the prime-time viewer at less cost.


Prime-time is that part of the day when the size of the audience is the largest. The programs aired at this time are designed to appeal to a wide demographic base. 


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