I was wondering what everyone thought about some TV shows doing "extended" episodes. Lost did an extended episode by 5 minutes. The episode was pretty much 60 minutes with 5 extra minutes of things we have already seen. Also Desperate Housewives and a few other shows have been 61 minutes rather than 60.
I think this is being done to interfere with all of the DVRs on the market. Maybe the networks figure if they keep our DVRs on their network for an extra minute or 2 it will not be able to change channels and tape another show.
I am not trying to sound like a conspiracy theorist, just curious as to what you all think.
The purpose is to exploit higher advertising rates during popular programming... i.e., that extra one minute rarely means an extra minute of programming -- it usually means extra commercials that then can be priced at the higher rate for that program rtaher than for the lower-rated (and thus lower-priced) following program. The networks don't care about DVR's... at least not to the point where they're motivated to do things to mess with DVR users, though there may be some sentiment that's a bonus of doing extended epsiodes.
I think it's so they can put another commercial break into a higher-rated show with higher ad rates.
If one hour of programming contains 44 minutes of content and 16 minutes of commercials, that's 8 two-minute commercial breaks per hour. If they run an "extended" episode, they can put 9 breaks into the first show in a two-hour block and 7 in the second show. If the "extended" show pulls in significantly better ratings, they can make more money by moving the break inside the first show.
Traditionally, the networks have run a commercial break at the top of the hour between shows. This was an undesirable break to buy air time in because it was when people were most likely to be changing the channel. By moving the closing credits of a show to after the final break, the networks are able to do seamless transitions between shows - which is also partly designed to reduce channel surfing - and sell the between show commercial break as the final break of the first show.
Also, because ratings are calculated using "quarter hour" numbers, if Lost runs five minutes into Invasion's time slot, it will make the first quarter hour ratings for Invasion look higher even if a lot of people are tuning out once the Bad Robot logo comes up at the end of Lost. A higher quarter hour number will also make Invasion's average rating for the hour a little higher.
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Besides for the higher commercial rates, there's also the idea that if you're 5 minutes into the hour, you won't bother changing the channel to see another show (since you've already missed the first 5 minutes)...