Sunday, August 12, 2007

Time-Shifted "Events"

by Ken Houghton

We watched High School Musical 2 last night. (Well, the Eldest Daughter did. I got bored fairly quickly.)

The above is not a typo, but note the IMDB Tagline:
On August 17th, are you ready for the start of something new? [emphasis mine]

The movie is available now at Disney Channel On Demand.

The same is true of Californication, the new Showtime series starring David Duchovny as (I gather) a less-scrupled version of Dustin Hoffman in Kramer v. Kramer (instead of just a naked Jo Beth Williams, there will be many naked women, as Duchovny "tries to juggle...his appetite for beautiful women."

I don't know how many balls Duchovny will have in the air Monday night, when the series officially premieres. I'll probably find out from when Mannion's posts (assuming the man ever finishes Year 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

But I wonder what impact leaking the two shows, both heavily advertised, will have on their ratings. (This is especially true in the case of the Disney movie, where the commercials that are not present On Demand will give many people the chance to opt out before the end.)

And what happens if my daughter goes to gymnastics camp tomorrow and tells people about the movie? The greater the contagion, the more likely the effect. And the more clear it will be that the incentives are mis-aligned.

Of course, On Demand isn't perfect. I'm still going to have to wait for Meadowlands to air before it become available that way. (That show is Mannion's fault as well, and I thank him for it occasionally.) But if the mode of the future is On Demand before Scheduled Broadcast, will the Social Network become more On Demand and less Branding?

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