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Discovery Shark Week = wierd programming decisions

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David Roth Weiss
Discovery Shark Week = wierd programming decisions
on Jul 29, 2007 at 6:48:26 pm

As the producer/director of one of the very first films ever shown during Discovery's Shark Week, in its very first year in fact, I always look forward to Shark Week each July. Since the very beginning, as only Discovery insiders know, the channel's secret, unofficial motto is, "Big teeth equals big ratings." And, this year is no exception, Discovery is expecting possibly its largest audience ever as their anxiously awaited and highly self-promoted, OCEAN OF FEAR, hits TVs tonight. Its the story of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the hundreds of crew members who succumbed to shark attack after the vessel was sunk by an enemy sub at the end of WWII.

Okay, here's my point... Discovery as it turns out, after months of rabid self-promotion on all of its channels, has for some reason, which completely escapes me, decided to premiere the show on their SD channel tonight, and then show it on their flagship HD Theater one week later. In fact, all of the Shark Week shows airing this week on Discovery SD are airing on Discovery HD next week. Is it just me, or does this sound a bit bassakwards? Can anybody think of a really good reason why this makes sense from a programming standpoint?

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY

A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.





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John Davidson
Re: Discovery Shark Week = wierd programming decisions
on Jul 29, 2007 at 9:57:06 pm

Think of the SD airing as an hour long promo for the HD version (which is how I feel about all SD programming that also airs in HD). Perhaps the desire is to create a buzz for the HD version.

It's ain't great logic, but it's all I gots.

John Davidson____ writer | producer | director____http://www.magicfeather.tv


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Discovery Shark Week = wierd programming decisions
on Jul 29, 2007 at 10:24:34 pm

[John Davidson] "Perhaps the desire is to create a buzz for the HD version."

Kinda like showing your movie on TV first to create buzz for the theatrical run... I'm no genius, but I'm pretty certain thats not such a fine idea.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY

A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.





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Tim Wilson
Re: Discovery Shark Week = wierd programming decisions
on Jul 30, 2007 at 10:39:49 am

[David Roth Weiss] "Kinda like showing your movie on TV first to create buzz for the theatrical run... I'm no genius, but I'm pretty certain thats not such a fine idea."

Except that there's no way that airing on the HD channel is going to create buzz for the SD channel. But the opposite has clearly happened - you want Shark Week in HD NOW.

My guess is that they want to drive as many people to the SD version because the ratings there are meaningful. The SD channel is the one making big money for them. In fact, given how few HD ads there on DHD, it looks to me like they're giving most ads on DHD away as freebies, collecting money on their "real" channel.

And as far as ratings go, by airing in SD first, they create the possibility -- however remote -- that you'll watch it on both channels. That would never happen if they aired on HD first.

Shark Week or not, there's nothing that can make me watch the SD version of Discovery any more. Or darn near anything else. Battlestar Gallactica, The Closer and Eureka are the only things I watch in SD these days, and I'm not sure I would if they weren't letterboxed.

Yes, I'm a format snob. But you surely could have guessed that, even without this post.



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Steve Wargo
The Closer?
on Jul 30, 2007 at 3:02:23 pm

A few years ago, Kyra Sedgwick was invited to Phoenix to the Phoenix Film Festival. When it was time for her presentation, she strolled up on stage and looked a little "medicated". She received her lifetime achievement award and then stepped off to the side of the stage with some other recipients.

A pizza party followed. When cleaning up that night, the workers found her award stuffed into a pizza box. Her hubby, Kevin Bacon and his band played in the tent and afterward, as they were getting into their limo, she had to be carried to the car.

It's kind of hard to watch The Closer without thinking about that award wrapped in a slice of pepperoni pizza.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut Pro systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck


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Tim Wilson
Re: The Closer?
on Jul 30, 2007 at 3:40:27 pm

[Steve Wargo] "It's kind of hard to watch The Closer without thinking about that award wrapped in a slice of pepperoni pizza."

Ah, encounters with the famous.

As I watch the show tonight, I will enjoy a slice in your name.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Discovery Shark Week = wierd programming decisions
on Jul 30, 2007 at 6:18:37 pm

[Tim Wilson] "there's no way that airing on the HD channel is going to create buzz for the SD channel. But the opposite has clearly happened - you want Shark Week in HD NOW."

Glad you chimed in Tim, I was hoping you would, and good point.

[Tim Wilson] "And as far as ratings go, by airing in SD first, they create the possibility -- however remote -- that you'll watch it on both channels. That would never happen if they aired on HD first."

Yes, for about two seconds I even considered watching last night just because it was there. I even Tivo'd it in SD, but I refused to watch, preferring like you to hold out for the more grusome HD version next week. I guess I'm a format snob too.

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY

A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.





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Eric Susch
Re: Discovery Shark Week = wierd programming decisions
on Aug 3, 2007 at 7:06:19 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Battlestar Gallactica, The Closer and Eureka are the only things I watch in SD these days,"

You have to watch Battlestar Gallactica in SD? Ouch! We've been very lucky here. We get Universal HD on our cable system. You have to wait a few months after they air it on SciFi but I don't care. SD isn't worth my time. I think the only thing we watch in SD is the Daily Show.

____________________________________

Eric Susch

http://www.LetsKnit2gether.com

http://www.ElectronicSprocket.com




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Arniepix
Re: Discovery Shark Week = wierd programming decisions
on Jul 30, 2007 at 3:14:45 pm

I'm reminded of an old episode of Taxi, where a TV programmer convinces Jim (Christopher Lloyd) to help him make TV schedules by telling him "Jim, you could've saved Star Trek."

Arnie

Now in post: Peristroika, a film by Slava Tsukerman

http://www.arniepix.com/blog


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Discovery Shark Week = wierd programming decisions
on Jul 29, 2007 at 10:05:05 pm

In a recent Gallup poll of sharks, it was learned that few had HD home theater systems. Most, still watch television using SD. Those big pop-eyed fish have much higher numbers in HD but sharks with their little squinty beady-eyes, have not taken to it as quickly. This is arguably due to their affinity for watching lawyers on The Court TV channel. (It's that ole "professional connection" thingie, I think.) Jellyfish, which should come as no surprise at all due to them being eyeless, had almost a zero percent HD rating.

As sound really travels brilliantly through water, don't even get me started on the way that 5.1 and 7.1 play out aquatically. Amazing!

By the way, as an aside, Shark Week in the oceanic realm plays on The Food Channel.

:o)

Ron Lindeboom


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Discovery Shark Week = wierd programming decisions
on Jul 29, 2007 at 10:22:07 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "Shark Week in the oceanic realm plays on The Food Channel."

Precisely! So, you had best keep a close eye on Cowdog over the next two weeks. I think Great White predation on man's best friend is truly something Discovery and The Food Channel could sink their teeth into. I'll bet Cambria will be crawling with underwater filmmakers looking for tasty chum after they read this thread. Remember, "big teeth equals big ratings..."

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY

A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.





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rileym
advertising
on Aug 2, 2007 at 8:20:37 pm

i think that its gotta be the ad dollars. as noted above, discovery channel has many times the ad revenue that DHDtheater does - and advertisers pay more for their spots in an exclusive, heavilly promoted special.
the mystery to me is that the revenue on the HD channels hasn't caught up faster. the numbers of HD sets out there is incredible now, but only a percentage of those sets actually receive HD programming - and a smaller percentage receive HD cable programming.

you'd think that those viewers would be worth a bit more, per head, than their SD counterparts, because they have demonstrated a willingness to spend a lot of money on toys, but it sort of doesn't seem that way based on the quantity of advertising that you actually see on the HD channels..



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