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January 18, 2005
Television Networks as Empire
This is something that has been going on for some time, and this is an article from last November, but I still think it noteworthy. USA Today reports on the increasing number of television broadcasts that extend past the regular hour and half-hour mark so that they interfere with DVRs of the broadcast (Shows start and end just off the half-hour).
What is interesting to me, however, is not that networks are doing it, but that they do so knowing full well it is against the interests of their viewers:
The padding also discourages viewers from clicking their remotes, under the theory they'll be less likely to switch channels if they've already missed the start of a competing program.
ABC is unapologetic. "It's not my job to make it easy for people to leave our network," says ABC scheduling chief Jeff Bader. "Our whole goal is to get people to stay with us from 8 to 11."
This, of course, reminds me of the famous quote from the original Star Wars
The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems slip through your fingers. - Princess Leia to Grand Moff Tarkin
Brilliant long-term thinking by the networks! Make the alternatives even more attractive! Raise consumer awareness of the problems of existing broadcast regulation!
Perhaps Mr. Bader doesn't recall the early TiVo commercials in which scheduling executives were defenestrated.
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