Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Call Bull

When I was in college in the UK, we were on a trimester system. They were in the process of slowly moving to a semester system. And while everyone blamed Americans (I kept pointing out that there were plenty of American schools on trimesters, and really the switch had to due with European Union rules, but anyway) the thing that fascinated me most was how semesters - simply dividing the academic year into halves instead of thirds, was blamed for potential summer job loss, loss of courses in the catalog, changes to the grading system and many other things that were not at all related to how the year was divided.
I feel the same about DVRs. People, myself included, have been making arrangements to watch television at a time other than the original air date for years. DVR's have certainly made this easier but this is better for the TV people. It is better because when my show gets moved - whether due to a schedule change or if it gets bumped to midnight because of a basketball game - my DVR finds it for me (assuming the scheduling information was provided, but that's a separate issue). I have a dual channel DVR that lets me record two things so I watch more. And I can pause live TV so if there's a phone call or interruption, I can focus on that and get back to my programming when it works for my life. So, my DVR helps me watch more. And I know it makes it harder to count, because I may not watch the Sunday show until Thursday. But they have the ability to count that stuff. Sure, it's harder and more complex. But the ability exists. And let's face it, back when I was using a VCR - they had no idea. Now they know I recorded it and watched it. (Which is a bit creepy, but whatever.) So when TV folks try to tell me that shows are suffering because of DVRs - I call bull. The fact that I watch the show later than it's original time doesn't hurt them. It's the fact that I can pick and choose and design my own personal viewing schedule. So, I don't end up watching crap I don't like just because it's the only thing on. Especially with all the channels these days. Look, you can certainly argue that people somehow don't know about your show, or haven't been given enough information to believe that your show is for them. But the rising use of DVRs isn't stopping them from watching what they want to watch, it's helping.