Monday, April 24, 2006
Overnight TV Ratings -- We Hate Repeats
ABC tried to trick us with "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy." Instead of showing us a rerun (which my DVR would have ignored) they showed "new" episodes that were merely recaps of what had already happened, glorified clip jobs in other words. They snared 15 million each, roughly, a good six to eight million FEWER viewers than normal. This is not just about "Lost" and "24" and other highly serialized shows. In an age of DVRs and video-on-demand and iTunes and DVD sets and cable channels rerunning new episodes later in the week from the networks. etc., networks cannot get away anymore with filling up a third of the season with reruns and expect viewers to sit still. Fox is the number one network in part because it has moved to a "no rerun" standard. The first of the big three to follow suit will garner tons of attention (imagine the ad campaign: "Hate reruns? So do we!" or "ABC. No reruns. No repeats. No duh." or "NBC: MUst-See TV That Never Bores You With Repeats.") And however soon the others follow suit, one of them could brand themselves as the network that doesn't bore you with repeats. It means titanic changes in how networks make their money and how people view TV. But guess what? Those massive changes are already happening. It's merely a question of who is going to capitalize first.