Does it matter how you schedule your TV network if content can be found on VOD, streamed or saved to the DVR for viewing. What percentage of your TV viewing is real time? As I watch my viewing pattern shift, I rarely watch a prime time show at its scheduled time. Shows remain saved in my Tivo so I can enjoy them at my leisure. And I tend to rely more on the DVR because it allows me to watch more of the actual show in less time; yes I fast forward through the ads. I am not the only one who owns a DVR. "Nearly 30 percent of the nation's TV homes have at least one."
So what is a programmer to do. If you rely on live news, you watch in real time. Networks like CNN and CNBC become DVR proof. If you watch sports, you tend to watch live or time delay a few hours so as to not get the final score early and ruin the emotions of the game. And live shows on TV have a sense of "anything can happen" that may just encourage people to get the live feed before it is edited and sanitized for later viewing. "'More and more people are changing the way they consume television,' said Alan Wurtzel, NBC's chief research executive. 'In the next few years, we will rewrite all the rules.'" It will not take that long. In less than two years, the impact will be even more pronounced.
Some broadcasters don't realize that between streaming their content on Hulu or making accessible on VOD or even being recorded the first time it airs on their dvr, it is not necessary to air the show again. Yet some networks are using their Saturday nights to dump repeat episodes of the same show that aired earlier in the week. Perhaps it saves money, but it is driving the viewer to seek these alternative choices at a faster clip.
Networks should be less concerned about when they watch; rather, they should be more concerned about what is interesting to watch. Good content will be watched and consumed; the challenge is making better content. More distribution choices means the content will be consumed in multiple ways. Remember though, the DVR requires proactive taping by the viewer; VOD allows the viewer to be reactive. If more programmers made their content available asap on VOD, they might just reduce the need to use the dvr.