PROMOS AND TEASERS - Complications Ensue
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Did promos always run up smack into the teaser? It's bugging me. I understand airing a promo for a show later on that night or on another night. Seems odd to run a promo for the show you're about to watch. I mean, I'm sitting down to watch the show already; do you need to show me what's going to happen in it? Or has clever market research revealed that viewers won't watch the show unless they know what it's going to be about.

I thought the point of a teaser was to give you a hint what the show was going to be about, and get you to watch the show. Have teasers become so clever and/or beside the point that they no longer do that, and we now need promos too?

I'm grumbling because I'd really rather be surprised what's going to happen in the ep. And I have to fuss with my DVR, going back and forth quite a bit, to make sure I'm starting the show when the show starts, and not when the promo starts, since they run into each other.

Same problem on the tail end. Hard to avoid the promo for the next ep -- and I really don't want to know what's going to happen on the next ep -- unless you're really, really quick with the remote, because the promo starts before there's even a decent fade out on the tag. Tag end, boom you're in the promo.

These are funny issues because writers obviously have no control over them, but you can't really write around them. You can only write as if they don't happen. You wind up writing for the DVD, where there are no ads and no promos, and people can actually watch the credit roll if they so desire -- rather than having it squunched to one side.

3 Comments:

In the previous life, when I was a network whore, we always ran "next on" promos, because the data showed that everyone grazed at the same time. If you caught them at the "next on" promo time, you had a chance to hook'em.

The other piece of data which astounded me when I first heard it but which I now think has got to be canon is this: even people who declare themselves "regular viewers" of shows only see half the episodes.

Maybe this has changed in the era of TIVO's and season's passes, but I know that there are shows (like Law & Order: Criminal Intent, or Bones, or even, occasionally, one of the CSI's) that I don't normally watch, or don't watch all the time, and if the promo looks interesting, I will watch where normally I might keep surfing. So that works on me, and if it works on me, who's a fairly loyal viewer to the shows I like, then it's got to work on other people. It's also the only way you ever get me to watch a show that's outside my wheelhouse.

The Next On's are now in transition -- time was they were all like On Fox -- "stay tuned for scenes from next week's exciting..." then you go to commercial break, come back, show the promo.

As previously blogged, we now know that some channels, Showcase and ABC being two of the prominents, are trying to eliminate that between shows breaks, which means the next on has to come right after the show ends.

What's interesting is when they get clever. Fox famously edits their Next On's to make it seem like something different happens than what actually happens. On the OC last year, if you watched the penultimate episode, you were led to believe that Marisa got shot. That way, they got to goose you, but still kept the actual program content fresh.

Promo makers are smart people.

Sorry to say, Alex, but though I know others who share your crusading dislike for both the promos and the next ons being smack dab up 'gainst the program -- to most of us, it whets the appetite.

then again, I'm just happy TV is still free. Mostly.

By Blogger DMc, at 8:44 PM  

There are 'next on' promos on the Sports Night DVD. At the end of an episode you have to quickly skip to the next in order not to have it sort of ruined. Why would they even put them on a DVD in the first place?

By Blogger michael j, at 2:10 AM  

I remember, a while back, there was this live action Canadian action-adventure series I liked called The Adventures of Sinbad and it had the very irritating habit of spending 1 to 2 minutes at the beginning of each episode showing me, from teaser to final act, exactly what I was about to watch -- including the reveals to what should have been exciting act out cliff-hangers (i.e. Will Sinbad and his band of merry men defeat the evil dragon? Why, yes, they will because they just showed the scene where Sinbad stabbed it to death). Stupid, stupid, stupid!

I also don't like the 'Next week on..." promos coming right at the end of an episode -- and if I have any control over it at all, that kind of shit will not be happening on my show.

By Blogger Kelly J. Compeau, at 11:54 PM  

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