People Are Still Watching Commercials, Thank Goodness - Complications Ensue
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This post from a NY Times blog says people are still watching commercials, even though they have DVRs.

Does this mean that most people are passively, not actively, watching TV? I know I want to get to the next act. In any event my tolerance for hearing more about the Swiffer is pretty small. But I'm not the audience, am I?

I wonder if that's what's going on with FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: someone, somewhere -- possibly showrunner Jason Katims -- has made the decision that to really grab the audience, they need the threat of someone going to jail for murder. Maybe they feel that last season was too subtle to grab a big enough audience. For every me they lose, maybe they pick up five guys who sit through commercials.

If the biggest chunk of the audience is willing to sit through recorded commercials, then the TV business model we know isn't dead after all. Those cats aren't going to be illegally downloading shows. (And frankly, I never thought that the mass audience would put up with any TV distribution technology, illegal or not, that was harder to use than a DVR. Most people never used their VCR to record, after all.) And as soon as the strike is settled, everyone can get back to business.

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7 Comments:

A lot of the time I forget I'm watching something I've recorded. I'll even go to the extent of going off and making a cup of tea during recorded ad-breaks.

By Blogger Oli, at 10:18 AM  

Me too, oli.

Plus, there are very few shows I watch with my full attention. Mostly I'm doing something else at the same time as watching TV. So I do find myself watching commercials even when I'm watching a recording, often because when the commercials come on I'm more absorbed in that something else and not paying much attention to the show. It's "watching" commercials in a loose sense of the word - I'm just not paying that much attention to what's onscreen at the moment, whether it's the show or the commercial.

I think a lot of people are probably like that - there's the must-see-every-minute shows, and then there's the wallpaper shows. Sadly it's the wallpaper aspect of TV that might save the current TV business model.

By Blogger Diane Kristine, at 10:22 AM  

Downloading shows is such a hassle and takes too much time, especially to make it comfortable to watch. An hour to download the actual content, but something like 2 hours to figure out what codecs I need, what service to use, etc. etc. It's nore really worth it unless you're doing it all the time.

Friend of mine said that he can't stand TV because the commercials grab his attention, even if he's focused on something else. That was such a revolutionary thought to me, that someone, even as intelligent and conscious as this fellow, can be drawn to commercials on some kind of instinctual, primordial level.

Me, I fast forward through the commercials and let my TiVo record the shows for me.

I've lately been wondering, though, if the commercials immediately after the act out and immediately before the act in are more expensive than the ones in the middle. As a TiVo user, I'm more likely to see those ones.

By Blogger The_Lex, at 11:18 AM  

The only time that I've really cared about downloading shows has been to get a pilot that I missed or which didn't go to season (Aquaman). Or for the purposes of watching an episode with a group, but we all can't watch it on the air night (Battlestar on Sunday nights - the following Friday was best for us but it was a group activity because we all loved it).

By Blogger Raiel, at 11:45 AM  

TV-watching is a job, so cutting 60 minute shows to around 45 is a godsend for the fiancee and I.

It never hit me how much I value this until I realized I couldn't fast forward through Dexter last weekend, so there was no point in waiting 10 or 15 minutes after it started to watch the recording.

By Blogger Josh, at 12:04 PM  

"I wonder if that's what's going on with FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: someone, somewhere -- possibly showrunner Jason Katims -- has made the decision that to really grab the audience, ..."

Probably not up to him, with the ratings getting even worse the network is certainly putting pressure on the guy to shake things up.

Perhaps with him pulling the same duties on Bionic Woman now, somebody else is pushing the vision at FNL, someone more malleable by the network.

Maybe with other opportunities, he just doesn't care.

By Blogger Paul William Tenny, at 8:39 PM  

As it turns out, most DVR users DO fast forward the commercials. In fact, an overwhelming majority do.

By Blogger Todd, at 2:39 PM  

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