Friday, July 25, 2008

DVR is a Game Changer, Someone Tell the Networks

When I started writing this I planned to write three or four consecutive posts about TV. I had a lot of thoughts about how TV could be better for DVRs, and I like to think that DVRs could be better for TV...

First, the problem: When a sports broadcast does not end on time the broadcaster often shifts the start time of later programs so they can be displayed in their entirety. This wreaks havoc for the DVR user, whose device relies upon the program scheduling to know when to run. Extra innings in a Sunday afternoon baseball game can cause prime time to shift, sometimes by over an hour.

I think that the networks are foolish to ignore the DVR market. I know they really dislike DVRs because they embody a change in demographics that scares advertisers. I think that this data can easily be tracked and the ad revenue will not cease for quite some time. In fact, if they work with DVR providers they may be able to collect more accurate information on the subject. I think that time shifting, particularly with the ease that a DVR offers, opens up the viewership to new demographics while the existing demographic stays the same. It also could change the value of off-peak time. Imagine running new content at 3 a.m. and telling viewers to set their Tivo, but I digress.

The important part here is to make sure that the intended viewer sees the show they want to watch. Even those who don't have a DVR may have time constraints that prevent them from watching the 9 o'clock time slot. There are more potential solutions when you consider the DVR, but even the average viewer could benefit from a few changes.

Give the event some insulation. Put a show after the event that can easily be canceled if the event goes into overtime.

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