Idol’s Bad Timing Drives Fans Online

DVR users miffed

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All day on Google Trends, the list of top trending search terms has carried several variations of keyword phrases related to Adam Lambert’s performance of a Donnie Darko soundtrack version of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World.”

This isn’t an uncommon phenomenon; usually at least one AI contestant blows up the search trends the day after a performance. However, there’s another reason everybody’s looking for this performance: When the show ran long, countless DVRs quit recording.

Lambert was the last to perform, and according to reports this morning, his performance was so good even Simon Cowell gave him a standing ovation. That would have been interesting to see for lots of people, including me. Of course, one can find the performance on YouTube, the world’s defacto I-missed-it-on-TV destination.

I haven’t seen it yet myself. I have to wait till I get home because my wife hasn’t seen it yet either, because our DVR cut it off last night. (Lame, I know, but I’ll get in trouble for watching without her.)

My kid, in meltdown mode.
My kid, in meltdown mode.

Now, I have a legitimate excuse for DVRing, as if I need one. AI comes on right around my six-month-old’s bedtime. Only thing is, she’s an insomniac baby and doesn’t like to go to sleep and throws a nice nuclear fit during American Idol or whatever happens to be playing on the TV that I want to enjoy or at least be able to hear. So we pause the TV until the meltdown’s over.

Other people DVR for a number of other reasons, and every single one of them missed the final performance last night because the live show went over its allotted timeslot. There’s likely a logical explanation for this but the conspiracy theory version is way more fun. The logical explanation for this is that four judges is one too many and they wasted too much time letting Paula Abdul talk.

But it happened last year, too, and it’s happened a few times this year, and you’d think they’d get their timing down a bit better. So here’s what I think is really going on:

Advertisers are paying half a million dollars per 30 second spot and aren’t so thrilled with the DVR crowd zooming past their sponsorships. Maybe it’s all a ploy to punish DVR users and coerce them into watching the actual live broadcast in actual real live time. It’s a silent criticism that says: See what happens when you don’t watch our commercials? You miss the best part of the night.

And you know they’re not going to fix your TiVo so you can actually set it to go over a few minutes. Nope, you have to watch the ballgame in real time or you’ll miss that spectacular shot.

So, uh, what does the online marketer get out of this lesson? Well, if you’re looking for a traffic boost—and if your site is relevant of course—a good strategy could be live-blog a live broadcast so that all those DVR conspiracy victims who go online looking for answers can find them (and you). Make sure you tweet it, Facebook it, MySpace it, Friendfeed it, etc. to get the real time search crowd, too. I would say record and post on YouTube, but that’s a copyright violation.


Idol’s Bad Timing Drives Fans Online
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  • http://ezurl.eu/anonymous Anonymous

    Dude, you forgot about how it ruined the show Fringe that came right after Idol. People who taped it, missed the last 15 minutes. So now everyone who can’t download it online has missed the show. The stupid networks will fill themselves with junk but never bother to rerun a good show at least once.

  • techadvisor

    If you have a program like American Idol, that is prone to going over the time limit, set your DVR to also record the NEXT program so you have a fail safe. Just start the next program and there will be the tail end of Idol…or whatever. Same tactic to record programs that start late because of a sporting event running overtime and pushing the whole schedule back anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour or more. It is a pain in the tush to have to switch recorded programs to see the whole thing, BUT, it is a practical workaround.

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