27 September 2006

What I Like: Network TV Websites

It is no secret that TV is the main source of entertainment for me and my husband.  There is usually a can't-miss show on the schedule for every night of the week.  TiVo has been a great help; we no longer plan our lives around what is on TV.  (Yes, we were that pathetic.)  However, one DVR in the house doesn't help when four shows have all been moved to Wednesday at 8p.  Grrrr!

This is where the TV networks have stepped up their game.   They have moved into the 21st century by acknowledging that viewers want options. A visit to the ABC website to sign up for the Grey's Anatomy writers' blog showed me that ABC streams full episodes of their most popular dramas for free.  You can't watch them until the day after they air on TV and I think the episode is only available until the next episode airs, but that is still better than buying it on iTunes. This knowledge prompted me to check the other network sites. NBC and CBS do the same thing. In fact, CBS streams all of their shows.   I'm not sure about the new CW network since they just started airing shows this week.   Fox, however, gives us nothing but outtakes.  Shame on Fox!

Besides streaming full episodes, some of the shows on both network and basic cable stations are doing cool things.  Grey's Anatomy has three different blogs plus a podcast hosted by the creator and producer of the show.  Several shows on the Sci Fi Network like Eureka have "webisodes", which are mini-episodes that enrich the main storylines.  Those without internet access aren't missing any key plot points, but the webisodes are fun for those who are craving a little more.  Fans of Battlestar Galactica in particular have enjoyed getting a little taste of their favorite show to hold them over until the season premiere at the end of October. 

All in all, these new services are great for a TV junkie like me.  Winning time slots is an archaic notion.  People don't want their TV viewing restricted to a small three-hour window in the evening.  In today's society, everyone doesn't work a 9-to-5.  Allowing viewers to watch a show when it is most convenient to them will make them more loyal to that show in the end.
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