Compared to most Americans*, I don’t watch a lot of TV. Work, family, kids and life don’t leave a lot of time for casual channel surfing. In fact, we rarely watch anything “live”, as waiting through the commercials consumes time that I simply don’t have.
Thanks to Tivo / DVR technology, I record everything and watch it at my leisure, fast forwarding through the commercials and shortening a half hour show to a mere 22 minutes.
Even so, I am pretty picky about what I watch. Movies aside, my tastes run from comedy, both mainstream (The Offfice, Monk) and cultlike (Flight of the Conchords), to the esoteric, cancelled, should-have-been-continueds (Journeyman, Freaks and Geeks), to the sleeper hits that most of us miss out on because they are hidden away on the unprime channels (Breaking Bad).
Unfortunately for me, my watching habits mean that I often watch a show day, weeks and, in rare cases, months after it was recorded. And in the case of a series premiere, if I like the show, I have to then find a way to “catch up” with the missed episodes.
For example, I saw the advertisements for the new A&E show “The Beast”, with Patrick Swayze as an undercover FBI agent.
I liked the look of it.
I recorded it.
And a month later, I watched it.
And loved it!
So, I wanted to watch more.
I looked on the TV schedule and found that the current episode is #7. And I had just watched #1. No problem. They were rerunning a few of the missed episodes and I was able to record episode #5 and #6. OK, we are making progress. As the pilot episode demonstrated, this is a series, like so many others, in which it is necessary to watch each episode in order.
No problem, the A&E website advertised “full episodes online” and to the Internet I went. And found that episodes #4, #5 and #6 were available. Great. I can watch online and catch up.
Except that I can’t find episodes #2 and #3. Which means that I will completely miss the plot line.
I am having troubles following the logic of A&E, along with the rest of the networks that also expect for viewers (Customers) to get engaged in a show halfway through a season if they do not have a way to “catch up”.
I understand the need to sell DVD sets when they come out and I am familiar with the anachronistic strategy of re-runs and ratings. However, the technology and viewing habits of the consumer (Customer) have changed.
Bright idea #1 -Post every episode of the season online. Die hard viewers will still but the DVDs when released, especially when they are packed with all of the extra goodies.
Bright idea #2 – Leave those episodes up, even when the next season starts. Viewers will rush to watch them and “catch up,” and then they will watch them on their TV during re-runs. And the die-hards will still buy the DVDs.
Because in today’s world of less time and more shows, if you don’t make it possible for someone to watch a show when they want to, someone else will offer a show that is available 24/7. And they will never make it back around to your show.
Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear of anyone knows where I can see episodes #2 and #3 of “The Beast”.
*The average American watches 4 hours of TV per day, a whopping 28 hours per week.