Timezone management

The scheduling of TV programming of any large broadcast company must cope with different time zones. For example, the U.S. and Canada have six time zones, Mexico has four, and South America has three, with further variation in the observance (or not) of daylight savings time and its start and end. Broadcast networks and pay-TV channels use multiple feeds, identical but offset from each other by several hours, to show programming at the correct time in each time zone. This is further complicated by network affiliates’ and pay-TV operators’ decisions (which may affect some or all of them in the market) in some areas to deviate from the schedules intended for them by using different feeds, and by the tendency of pay-TV operators to offer multiple feeds of the same channel, especially for premium channels. Furthermore, live entertainment, breaking news and some scheduled news events, and much sports programming are carried live regardless of timezone, disrupting the rest of the same feeds’ schedules.
The need to manage the resulting complexity varies by pay-TV and channel operator but generally tends to increase along with distribution capacity, which creates an incentive for pay-TV operators to add features such as regional broadcasting and for channel operators to add more geographically targeted feeds (whereupon offering them in all timezones is a free way of increasing customer satisfaction, which almost all channel operators take up).
We have successfully dealt with this daunting issue in some of the most challenging regions of the world, including, in several settings, in the U.S., in which single national ratings are expected for each network broadcast, which may be aired by its hundreds of affiliated local stations at different times—and occasionally not at all.