Aside from working in the TV industry, I am also a television fan and I use vast amounts of the product. In other words, I watch way too much TV!

The year is coming to a close and owing to my ridiculous travel schedule, business and family obligations, I just haven’t had time to consume as much TV as I would in a normal week. In fact, I only got to watch three and a half primetime shows: Two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Boston Legal, Jericho, and a few segments of Jericho’s companion broadband offering on (That’s the half show).

I watched none of it in real time. I waited until 20 minutes after the start of Grey’s to watch so I could fast forward through the commercials, I watched a DVR copy of Boston Legal during Jericho’s broadcast so I could then watch Jericho without commercials afterwards (an 88 minute experience instead of a 120 minute experience). 100 percent of my broadcast media consumption this week was done without having to view one commercial message. It gets worse.

As I said, I am a TV fan and I have become somewhat hooked on Jericho. I know it is just another serialized TV drama, but I like it so don’t go rolling your eyes like that — I can see you!

CBS has done a pretty good job of asking fans to visit to get more involved in the show. I have never been interested in doing so. For whatever reason, this week’s episode inspired me (as a fan, not a critic) to visit the website to learn more about the “Hawkins” character. As companion websites go, Jericho’s is about average. Like so many similar sites, it doesn’t quite know what it’s trying to be. It’s half fan site and half show extension.

Be that as it may, I was compelled by the creative on the site to watch a couple of the short broadband pieces. One was about surveillance. It was shot specifically for the web and, to be honest, it was pretty weak compared to the show it was supporting. And, the subject matter was only tangentially related to the show. It was a big reach from both a creative and production point of view. As a stand-alone piece of video, it would never be seen on the CBS television network, which begs the question, “why associate such low-end production with a Primetime show?” I watched all if it, but I won’t ever need to do it again. I was not compelled to watch any of the other pieces listed on the site. There was another video on CBS innertube, that looked interesting, it was a joyful romp through the pilot episode narrated by the show’s producers. I made it about half way through the 10-minute segment before I could take no more.

But here’s the extraordinary part — the only commercial advertisements I saw this week were the two pre-roll ads on I had no choice, they were baked into the two video streams I chose to watch. Now, with a gun to my head, I couldn’t tell what the spots were for, or anything about them. I don’t remember the product or service being advertised because I instantly recognized it as an irrelevant piece of video content and automatically tuned it out. But, that fact is not measurable by any analytics tools yet invented, so will get credit for rolling two spots that they can be sure were seen. They can report the C-class of my IP address, know my general location, report the duration of my “engagement,” they can report all kinds of mumbo jumbo stuff that media types can model against specific econometric requirements. They can create an excellent post-buy report and count my views as valid and meaningful. They will!

On the other hand, they will have no way of knowing that I skipped every single broadcast commercial this week. ABC and CBS will still be able to charge all of their respective advertisers for me. I’m a viewer (though not a Nielsen Media Research Household), I figure into the sample and I’ll be demographically counted and charged for. Oops!

Depending on who you ask, DVR penetration is somewhere between 10-12 percent of TV households, so this is not a huge deal today. And my companion website experience was not emotionally satisfying and I will not be returning to the site any time soon, so there really may not be a story here. Or is there? Is it possible that network promotional billboards and bumpers hawking website visits are actually driving web traffic? Of course it is. Is it possible that CBS and the other networks (more importantly the studios) will realize that they could have seriously hooked me into a meaningful consumer/fan/show/studio/network relationship on the web that ultimately could be used to drive transactions? They should —

This was a busy week, and it’s still early in the DVR, companion Website business. But, small behavioral changes can foretell huge financial changes. How many broadcast ads did you see this week? Food for thought. Shelly Palmer

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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