Thursday, January 1, 2009

Untivoable = Unwatchable

I've been meaning to write this post for a few weeks, but with my graduation and the holidays it was put on the back-burner.

When NBC announced that Jay Leno would be moving to the 10 PM time slot five nights a week, Ben Silverman - an NBC executive and apparently Craig Ferguson's least favorite person - kept bringing up that the program will be untivoable. His hope is simply that the program will be so topical that no one will want to watch it at any other point. Silverman thinks this is a smart move in that SNL ran 30 minute thursday night episodes related to the election in October to high ratings. Why not try this with Leno?

It seems that Silverman is forgetting that the most popular elements of SNL are highly tivoable. Whether it's a "dick in a box" or the Bill Brasky sketches that I can never find online, SNL's best moments are timeless. Moreover, other "topical comedy programing" is tivoable as well. Look at the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Comedy Central repeats the previous night's episodes the following evening. In order to crack down youtube posters, the websites for each respective show have nearly everything that's ever been on the program in addition to full episodes on Hulu. For my point of view, all of these are done to keep potential viewers from recording the programs on Tivo. Each of these additional formats still exposes viewers to ads.

Network executives need to come to terms with the fact that good programming is going to be recorded. The more recordable a program is, the more likely people will be to view the program on other media as well.

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