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Posted in advertising, personal
April 30, 2012

TV networks, cut it out!

If you own a DVR, I’m sure you’ve run into this problem. You schedule out your shows, recording a couple shows in one hour- and you pull up your DVR screen later that night (or the next day) to discover that one of your shows didn’t record because one of the shows wasn’t just an hour long. It was an hour and a few minutes… screwing up anything you recorded after.

Back when I first had my DVR, I used to see it all the time with Grey’s Anatomy. It was one of ABC’s highest rated shows, so they would have it run a teeny bit long.

Last night, because Mad Men was scheduled to run four minutes over, my DVR didn’t record Once Upon a Time.

So why do networks do this? Advertising is the most important part of television. Television ratings aren’t to show how popular a show is, it’s to tell advertising agencies what shows attract the demographics they want- including the prized 18-35 male demo.

So networks try to boost their figures any way that they can. That includes taking a popular show and have it run a little long. Ratings report how many people watched the beginning of the show, which reports at the half hour and hour, not when the show actually starts airing. So if Mad Men is 1 hour and 4 minutes long instead of an hour, those four minutes go a long way to making whatever aired after it look positively stellar.

But it screws up DVR schedules- and I live for my DVR. It’s the only way that I can relatively keep up with my favorite TV shows and write.

Honestly, TV networks, I’m on to you. I expect that shows like American Idol will run over now and then- they’re live. But when I see networks regularly try to inflate their ratings… it makes me less likely to watch the show live and to watch other shows on their networks.

Am I the only one bothered by this? Or are there others with this First World Problem?

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