Home > Uncategorized > Leno, Conan : So old world

Leno, Conan : So old world

As the media have been reporting Jay Leno’s move to Prime Time was a flop.

I am not clear about their definition of flop. One set of reports said that his show ratings were low. Another set of reports said that the show was eating into the ratings of the prime time of affiliates. So not clear what is going on here.

The net of this is the decision to move Jay Leno back to his old slot of 11.35 pm. This would bump Conan O’Brien to 12.05 making him the Tomorrow Show than the The Tonight Show. He is miffed and has refused to take on the role. Details of the events and his press release here.

The whole episode to me sounds so ancient, in the world of today’s technology.

As media evolves, people choose when and where to consume content. We listen to music when we are on conference call, read the morning papers in the evening, watch movies on-demand.

The correlation between when an event occurs and when it is viewed is decreasing.

This phenomenon hit TV a while ago. Call it TIVO, call it DVR , we now watch the programs we like, when we can. For example I tape a lot of late night football and watch it over the weekend, unless it is an Arsenal game, in which case I watch it live.

In 2007 when DVR penetration in the US was just 17%, prime time shows saw that up to 15% of the show’s audiences were watching the shows at a later time. Charts here.

2007 mind you!

In early 2009 DVR penetration in the US was over 30%, and TIVO is hovering around 5%.

Now coming back to the Leno/Conan drama the fact that NBC is keeping Leno on suggests that they believe in the content. They think the timing is wrong.

Given the data from DVR penetrations and its impact on viewing, I wonder why NBC’s strategy is not focused around the content, than the timing. If people like the show, they will tape it. At 35% recorder penetration, that is huge. NBC would probably be better off running adverts for the Leno show on prime time, with reminders to audiences to ‘click to record’.

This achieves the goal of having “Jay Leno” in prime time as well as keeping the integrity of ‘The Tonight Show” as a 11.35 show, as it has been for 60 years (according to Conan’s press release)

Programming is going to get increasingly difficult, or easy, depending on which end of it you are. If you have good content, people will get to it and watch it. At their convenience. The timings are getting less critical, unless it is a live event of some import. Like the Olympics, Oscars etc

Audience consumption aligned to telecast timing is old world!

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Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , ,
  1. Rajnish Suneja
    January 13, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Totally agree with you – content is king, focus on that rather than the executional elements. That’s what I tell my clients all the time, don’t worry if the DM is blue or green or lilac(!). Cheers

    • HARISH VASUDEVAN
      January 13, 2010 at 12:57 am

      Thanks Rajnish, for reading and commenting.

      Wood, for the trees! And it is ironic given that the reason to move to Prime time was to go after the younger audiences in the first place!

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