“… the only people watching a show — ‘Heroes’ perhaps — at the time it’s being broadcast by a network — say NBC — are the “saps and [expletives] who can’t figure out how to watch it in a superior way.”
It’s a fascinating contrast to his image from the writers strike, but that’s how Tim Kring “complimented” his viewers at the Creative Screenwriting magazine’s 2008 Screenwriting Expo. By referring to the couch jockeys that help make up the ratings as “saps and expletives,” all the while trying to explain away that the bad ratings for Heroes aren’t his fault. I think he’s trying to avoid the same ax that came along and took out 2 other writers from the NBC Heroes-wagon.
What does Kring mean by “superior way” to watch? He’s referring to online or recorded (DVR) programming where a show is watched later.
It seems that he’s scuttling his own boat of fans, but wait, he wasn’t done. He went on to ramble about how serialized drama only works if people sit in front of their TV sets at the time a network broadcasts each episode. There ya go. Now he included his bosses, the network. But enough about Tim Kring’s “Bill Shatner” impersonation.
While Kring attempts to alienate what’s left of his fan base, he does make an obscure point that is launching me into one of my rants.
A Bruce rant… (I mean, Observation) on Why We Have To Have Ratings and Marketing:
Today’s processes where you can either record something or go online and watch something later is the technology that is changing the landscape of television as we have known it. We are in the middle of an era of change (no, I don’t mean “Barack Obama” change, we’ve heard enough about that). But change is coming for network television as it’s being dragged into the new era of technology, kicking and screaming. This is a new era that they have to begrudgingly face and deliver product with.
But just when they start moving in the direction of appeasing advertisers and viewers, someone like Joss Whedon comes along with Dr. Horrible and makes one hell of a point about the lack of need for studio backing, advertising dollars, and what not.
Program ratings are just an avenue of measure for the advertisers who buy the time from the networks, but they’re not all buying the time on the web where the shows are also available.
It seems that no one has thoroughly pieced this together yet since they treat each entity as a separate piece. If they were to look at it all as a whole, adding up the metrics of live-watching with after-aired watching, shows would probably not be coming and going as fast as they are these days. They’d be given more of a chance and the “cancel” trigger wouldn’t be pulled so fast.
As it stands, we can record shows via DVR, TiVo or other avenues of delayed digital gratification, (DDG). Everyone can jump the ads anytime they want, and that’s what networks (and advertisers) don’t want or like. When you jump the ads, you are not brainwashed into shuffling out your front door zombie-like to go buy product ‘X’ off a shelf somewhere.
In 1998, $200 billion was spent on advertising and marketing and as a benchmark, spending on marketing has always hung around the 2% mark of the U.S. Gross National Product.
What has always befuddled me is that advertising works. If it didn’t, ads wouldn’t be there and all of television would be an expensive subscription service. From the numbers, can you understand why it is so important for the companies buying ad time?
Yet regardless of where advertisers buy their time, there are still issues. If we skip ads on TV and look at the idea of subscription television, it too has its flaws. It’s the same end result: Where people spend their money.
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