A Dissenting View: DVR’s and Sports
Via Andrew Sullivan, I see that Matthew Yglesias is arguing How Technology Helps Hollywood and Hurts Pro Sports:
It used to be that a sporting event only had to compete for my eyeballs against whatever other TV programming happened to be on right at that moment. Oftentimes a regular season Mavericks-Celtics game or an ALCS matchup would win that competition in my eyes. But today thanks to Netflix, DVR, Hulu+ and related technologies that ALCS matchup has to compete against continuing to work my way through Breaking Bad.
Now, I suppose Matthew has a point insofar as various video on demand services and devices are killing casual viewing of all kinds of programming. After all, why watch something you only kinda want to watch when you can watch exactly what you want?
I was drawn to the headline question of Andrew’s link to Matthew’s post: Is Your DVR Killing Sports Broadcasts? I was struck by the question because the only thing that I watch live (i.e,. not on my TiVo or via Netflix streaming) is sports (and breaking news). As such, the only time I watch commercials is when I watch sporting events—making sports the only DVR-proof regular viewing that I engage in,
What my TiVo killed wasn’t sports, channel-surfing (and regular commercial consumption).
As such, in the new DVR-universe we are all increasingly living in, live sports is huge for commercial-driven broadcast television. Therefore it would seem that DVR’s, rather than killing sports broadcasts, make sports broadcasts all the more important. And contra Yglesias, the technology is helping sports as a result, yes?
BTW: at least one data point (NFL ratings) suggests that DVRs are not hurting sports: Football TV Ratings Soar: the NFL’s Playbook for Success (for some 2010 numbers).