Technology to change viewing habits?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Ray Chuang, May 20, 2004.

  1. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    Folks,

    I was reading in today's Sacramento Bee and there was an article by Sam Diaz of Knight-Ridder Newspapers syndication that said with advancing technology the entire idea of prime time television could be rendered obselete in about a decade.

    The reason is simple: the combination of view on demand technologies and digital video recorders will allow viewers to essentially download and view at home any program at any day of the week, essentially making viewing times as imposed by the broadcaster meaningless except for truly live events like sports, concerts and award shows.

    By the way, I believe that the concept of "sweeps" periods could be obseleted within the next few years. Improvements in ratings-measurement boxes used by Neilsen could make it possible to have "sweeps" level monitoring of program ratings year-round, and that will extensively change how the networks schedule programming. Indeed, it's already started to happen with the networks placing a lot of original programming during the summer months.

    Comments?
     
  2. James Gumbart

    James Gumbart Stunt Coordinator

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    I think you're overestimating the average person's ability to change.

    There are a great many people that will be happy with their 10 year old TV and VCR (or $40 Wal-Mart dvd player) for years to come.
     
  3. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    Ten years from now prime time could be obsolete. By then your average $75 13" television just might come with a built in tivo that will monitor your viewing habits and automatically store your favorite programs. Will that be the case a few years from now? No. By 2007 at least 75% of people will still be watching their programs live.
     
  4. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    I can tell you that MY viewing habits have changed.

    I use a satellite-based DVR.

    I rarely, if ever, watch TV "live."

    I use the "30 second skip" DVR feature to skip commercials, so I rarely see any commercials. I'm sure broadcasters love me for that.

    Even the few shows that I want to watch on the air date, I will begin watching 15 minutes after the start time and skip commericals - catching up to the live broadcast at the end of the program.

    If there are two shows I like on back-to-back, even on different networks, I'll begin watching 30 minutes late so I can skip commericals.

    The average Joe (or Jane) doesn't understand the DVR's capabilities well enough to understand how convenient they are, and so many are reluctant to plunk down the $ for one. That will change with time.

    -Scott
     
  5. Mitcheizik

    Mitcheizik Agent

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    I do the same thing.
     
  6. Jonathan Carter

    Jonathan Carter Supporting Actor

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    "Prime Time" tv is already obsolete for me. I don't watch anything the second it starts. Even when I do watch something during it's correct air time I start it 15-20 min. late so I'll be able to skip through the commercials. I usually watch the stuff later that night or the next day though.
     
  7. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Two words have changed my viewing habits:

    Bit torrent.


    I used to shuffle plans to make it home for a particularly exciting episode of television.
    I still try to, but it's not the end of the world anymore if I miss one.
    I was out to a social ocassion last night and missed Smallville. But I finished watching it by a little after 11.
     
  8. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Two more words: copyright violation. Last time I checked, none of the TV networks have made their shows available for worldwide distribution on Bit Torrent immediately after the broadcast.
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I never said otherwise. I simply addressed the topic at hand in an honest manner.
    And I fail to see how it's any different from Tivo or the VCR, both of which were sued for copyright violations and allowed.

    And since I lack a Neilsen box, I fail to see how my activities compromise the value of their creative monopoly.

    The DMCA has so far outstretched the original intent of copyright so as to be ridiculous. Copyright was about encouraging the creation and distribution of new creative works. Now it's about putting a strangle hold on access to said works.

    Which brings us full circle to the original topic at hand. How has technology affected/not affected your viewing habits, Wayne?
     
  10. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    TiVo has not been sued for copyright violation. ReplayTV was sued because it has a feature to share copied shows between ReplayTV owners and because it has automatic commercial skipping. TiVo has neither.

    I've got TiVo. I watch the shows I want to watch on my own schedule, and I don't have to become a filesharing pirate to do so.
     
  11. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    The method seems to me to be a minor distinction. If I download an episode to watch it and delete it once I'm done, how is this any different than using a specific machine to record the episode and playback?

    I can understand the problems with music and movies where there is a direct correlation between loss of profit and filesharing. But aside from commercials I'd leave the room for anyway, there's no real loss by getting the occasional missed episode from bit torrent.

    If I didn't download, I'd just miss the episode. In a way, bit torrent could be considered a tool for maintaining demand for product. Miss too many episodes and I may not bother returning. Bit Torrent keeps the interest alive.

    I don't disagree with any of the labels. It's that the connotations aren't neccessarily black and white.
     
  12. LanieParker

    LanieParker Supporting Actor

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    I am looking into getting Tivo. I hear great things about it and would be interested in getting it to view things on my own time.

    Right now I have nothing that I watch on tv. I was watching Survivor, American Idol (once in a while) and Fear Factor (when I remember to). I watched episodes of of One Tree Hill and The OC once in a while but was never consistant enough to get into them.

    I personally would love to watch commercial free television. That is usually why we tape things so we can skip past all that crap. It would make me even more happy if the networks made the actual shows a full hour/half hour and ditch commercials all together ( but we know that won't happen).

    As for moving along with progress and technology.... I'm fine with what I have now, a VCR and dvd player.
     
  13. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    The ability to record broadcast programs has a more disruptive impact on the networks than the issue of editing out commercials. When the networks had a captive audience, the marketing strategy had to target the broadest range of viewers - with the understandable dumbing down implications.

    Since the growth of cable TV and satellite programing, the viewership of traditional network broadcasting has reached levels that will make further erosion a threat for the existence of the major networks - unless they rethink their marketing efforts.
     
  14. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Just like others here, prime time has been obsolete for me since we got Tivo. I have also practically stopped channel-surfing and wtahcing crap I don't care about. I watch much more cable programming now than I used to do, since it's so easy to have the Tivo record it and then watch it when I feel like it.

    When TV's will come with simple built-in PVRs, I think prime time will be dead. However, I think that'll also be the death of the current advertising model, so we'll see if that actually happens anytime soon.



    Wayne, do you watch the commercials when you record the show? Otherwise, I fail to see how it's different to watch a recording on your computer than watching it on your TV?

    /Mike
     
  15. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    When I bought my Windows XP Media Center computer, it had a tv tuner and tivo-like function built in. It was a small step from watching DVDs on my computer, to watching tv on my computer.

    About advertisers, probably advertisers will start to pay more for the commercial space directly after a show goes to commercial, and for the commercial space directly before a show goes to commercial. Since one tends to "land" a few seconds on either side when one skips past them, an advertiser can easily show the first half of their commercial at the start, and the second half of their commercial at the end, and in that way catch the eyes of many tivo-time-shifting viewers.

    They could also go back to the old fashioned "Ford Theatre Presents Jack Bauer on the 24 Show"
     
  16. Jonathan Carter

    Jonathan Carter Supporting Actor

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    That's because it isn't any different. Some people just have a very unwavering and incorrect view of file sharing. Yes, downloading movies and music is stealing $$ from people but I don't condone or condemn people for their habits as far as that is concerned. As for TV, tell me the difference between using a VCR or DVR/Tivo to record the show then skip commercials when you watch it. Hell, even if you watch the commercials you still defeated the networks "prime time" plan.

    Maybe instead of running around trying to sue companies like Replay TV, networks should work on a new, modern format. I know I'd like to see one. I would be interested to see how an on-demand way of viewing tv would work. I know I watch more shows than I used to thanks to my DVR box because I don't have worry about a show time conflicting with another show time or an activity I have on a weekly basis, losing interest because I missed 1 or 2 eps, or even wasting time on a show that takes time to develop giving up on it just because another show that looks better is on at the same time.

    Now I can control my TV viewing and do exactly what I want when I want. That is what scares the hell out of the networks.
     
  17. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Indeed, yes, starting soon shows will have to live or die based on their inherent quality of lack thereof. None of this "lead in" BS.

    Hopefully another offender will stop their tactic: The local news promo'ing particular news stories based on the fiction shows content. For example, during episodes of 24, the local Fox affiliate would air "tonight at 11, are terrorists planning another devestating attack?" simply because that theme tied in with the fiction show 24. They basically invent any promo to suit what they hope the audience of the fiction show wants. (Another example - hypothetical this time - would be news promos on Touched By An Angel promoing "Are angels real? Find out at 11!"). ("Are newscasters shameless ickwads? Find out at 11!").
     
  18. Jonathan Carter

    Jonathan Carter Supporting Actor

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    It's already been done by my local CBS 11:00 news back when the show was a big ratings reciever. The local news brodcasts are shameless when it come to lame tv show tie-ins.
     
  19. LizH

    LizH Second Unit

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    My local Fox station used to tie in stories with the X-Files ("Tampa Bay's X-Files! Tonight at 10.")

    They'd have local ghost stories, UFO sightings, etc. ... That sort of thing.
     
  20. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I thought they already did?

    /Mike
     

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