Many of us may be sweltering in the nationwide heatwave (it's been pretty apparent here in Alexandria, Va.), but this week is also filled with thoughts of fall -- well, the fall TV season, at least. There's lots of buzz about the new ways that broadcasters plan to drum up interest in their fall lineups.
Wednesday, General Electric's
I can't crack nearly as many jokes about this promo move as I did about yesterday's egg-citing word from CBS Corp.
NBC will offer DVDs of the season premieres of two new shows, Kidnapped and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Ads about the "advanced screening" will appear on Netflix's site and red mailers, inviting its users to add the DVDs to their queues. NBC will also advertise the DVDs in TV spots. The DVDs will, in effect, function as advanced screenings in users' living rooms, since they will be available for six weeks prior to the shows' broadcast premieres.
Given current advertising trends, it's interesting to watch traditional media grapple with the generation of TiVo
However, I think there are plenty of reasons to suppose this might flop. CNET pointed out that while it does provide an advance screening, it also gives audiences the opportunity to pan the shows in advance. What about supply? Six weeks isn't a very long time, and one might wonder if the number of DVDs would be limited. Last but not least, will people fill a coveted slot in their queues with a one-hour show they could easily wait to watch on their televisions (or record on DVRs)? Although people do rent TV shows on Netflix, most consist of an entire season, not a single episode.
Who knows -- maybe the fanfare will make for a successful experiment. I know lots of us are probably curious as to how it'll go over with today's fickle audiences. On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons to suspect there might be more bust than buzz in this scheme.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.