The president of Spain’s national public broadcaster has announced that, from March 2nd, it will be showing its prime time programmes earlier, starting no later than 10.15pm.
Spain has one of the latest prime times in the world, in part due to the fact that Spaniards tend to eat dinner later and stay up later than their European counterparts. Spaniards also watch more television than any other European nation, spending an average of 10.1 hours a week in front of the box.
The change will see RTVE’s prime time output finish 24 minutes later than its nearest competitor, José Antonio Sánchez, president of RTVE announced.
"I think they’re doing it to attract more viewers," Néstor Oubiña, told The Local, on the streets of Madrid. "On Spanish TV the programmes are low quality, I prefer to watch things on the internet," he added.
Oubiña (pictured) joins a growing number of Spaniards who would rather watch television online, choosing what time they watch a programme, than being confined to a set television schedule.
"Public television is really bad quality," Oubiña added, "it should be neutral, but rarely is."
Others welcome the earlier start time: "It’s great, normally there are so many adverts that there are 30 minute ad breaks and working people aren’t able to stay up so late," Raoul Martínez told The Local.
Marina, a primary school teacher in Madrid, told The Local she thought starting prime time earlier was "a good idea, the earlier the better. Maybe it will stop children falling asleep in class."
RTVE also announced that programmes ending before midnight would carry a special logo.
"The corporation is particularly sensitive to the healthy use of television, based on the streamlining of schedules, as well as the better balance of work and family life," RTVE’s president said.
Even with the new earlier schedule, Spain’s prime time is one of the latest in the world. In the USA, prime time is usually between 7pm and 10pm, while in the UK, prime time lasts between roughly 6.30 and 10.30pm.
German’s tend to watch their television slightly later; their prime time starts at 8.15.
Spain might be the only country with a second prime time – which coincides with the long Spanish lunch break – between 2.30pm and 5pm during which talk shows, news and soap operas are typically broadcast.