Oh the magic of TiVo, VoD and DVR. Remember the old days when if you wanted to watch a show? You had to make sure you were in front of a TV or you’d miss it.
Then came the era of the VCR, which meant your life wasn’t controlled by a TV program schedule, and these days you can watch a show practically any time, and anywhere, you want.
These days, a TV show can get good late innings ratings boosts from viewers downloading episodes later, and this has also done wonders for the new series, The Following, starring Kevin Bacon. The Following is the latest show from Kevin Williamson, the creator of Scream and Dawson’s Creek, and it’s apparently gotten off to a good start already, despite controversy over the show’s violent content.
As the Hollywood Reporter notes, ads for The Following encouraged viewers to "set their DVRs," and Deadline tells us this is the first time a show’s ad campaign has emphasized this to help build an audience. This strategy worked well because the show’s audience grew 34% within three days. This method has also bolstered ratings for a number of additional shows including Revolution and Elementary, whose ratings have been boosted 33% and 35% respectively over three day periods.
This strategy has also been working for movies as well. Indeed, the Richard Gere movie Arbitrage, which is loosely based on the Bernie Madoff financial scandal, was released theatrical and VoD the same day, which the industry has been flirting with for some time.
Watching your favorite TV show at your convenience is one thing, but theaters are somewhat understandably concerned this could one day keep all moviegoers at home. (Two thirds of theater chains won’t take on a film that will also have a same day VOD release). Then again, Arbitrage did better on VOD, making $14 million, while it only generated some $8 million in theaters.
Today’s generation wants to watch what they want to, when they want to. While DVR is doing wonders for TV shows, theater owners are definitely proceeding with caution, even though last year the movies broke big box office records, thanks to The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers. As long as the major blockbusters won’t do a same day theatrical / VOD release, things should definitely be okay for a while.