Monday, January 17, 2011

"Why are all my TV shows being cancelled??"

**Update**
In almost an errie coincidence, I posted my blog link on Blastr.com and commented on TV Show Cancellations.  Less than two hours later, Blastr posted the following article addressing concerns on show viewership, cancellations and renewals.  It's a worthwhile read and answers alot of my questions.

http://blastr.com/2011/01/the-truth-about-tv-ratings-online-viewing-and-sci-fi-shows.php

**Original Post**

So you may be asking yourself, "Why are all my tv shows being cancelled?".

This is one of those situations where you’re going to get the answer to your question by asking a bunch of other questions.  Let us begin with this one:

Who pays for TV shows on broadcast networks?  The answer is:  The Advertisers.

The classic TV model which has existed for decades has been based on viewership and  revenue based off of commercials and ad placement.  The more popular the show, the more money an advertiser has to spend to place their ad. These ad dollars keep the show on the air

Why is this model broken?  The issue is how the powers that be rate viewership on a program.  I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the folks in control of this particular task aren’t as progressive and hip to technology as some of us younger folks.  Currently, traditional viewership is measured by how many folks tune into a program on it’s broadcast night and timeslot.  The reason why this is broken is that with the advent of DVR’s (which have only recently been rolled into viewership totals..and even then only for certain DVR providers) and other streaming technologies (Hulu and Netflix) folks are waiting until later to watch their shows.  They’re not turning on the TV on the original air date/time of that show.  DVR’s and online streaming can account for viewership totals that the powers that be are not taking into account!

The way we view our entertainment has evolved in recent years.  We are no longer tied down to inconvenient dates and times for the broadcasts of our favorite television shows.  We know that when we are ready, our TV shows are going to be sitting on our DVR’s and in our Hulu queues ready to be watched when it’s convenient for US!

Advertisers may use the excuse “People just fast forward through the commercials when they use a DVR”.  True, this may be the case.  But in the same token…what stops a person from walking out of the room when a commercial is on to use the bathroom or fix a snack?  I can honestly tell you that I was never super-glued to my couch when I had cable tv. This is a Schr√∂dinger’s cat type problem.  Since advertisers can’t assume all watchers get up and ignore the commercials, they can also assume that everybody watches them.  It’s a paradox of logic, but there you have it.  Unfortunately, when you place in someone’s hand a remote control that can fast forward through commercials, it’s automagically assumed that that’s exactly what you’re going to do….ergo Advertiser’s place less stalk in viewership totals from DVR’s.

Hulu was able to get around this…..they shortened commercial lengths to no more than 30 or 60 seconds, but there’s no way to skip them.  Who’s going to get up for 30 seconds to use the bathroom? Or fix a snack? Hey! They can’t even fast forward through the commercials.  That’s great!  You can argue that they can still pause, but even still, they’re going to watch the rest of that commercial when they get back.

The bottom line is this.  The hip new shows are going to have hip new watchers that are going to watch their fav programming when it’s convenient for THEM!  Don’t punish the folks that put all this hard work into making some seriously suppierior programming just because the folks that are responsible for judging viewership’s aren’t hip to the new trends and are stuck using an old and broken model for television.

Lets evolve and lets keep the good shows on the air.

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