With Online Video Series, No Appointments Necessary

What happened to appointment television? Some say your DVR, laptop, and tablet now make all the appointments.

Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment, says appointment television is still important at his network, especially with its soaps and its continuous weeks of original episodes of shows like "Revenge," "Once Upon A Time" and the still-big "Grey's Anatomy."

Lee told the Television Critics Association meeting in Los Angeles last week: "I mean, you tend to get higher CPMs because it's more appointment television, and we tend to be able to sell it more aggressively around the world because it's appointment television.

If the term "appointment television" seems a bit anachronistic, Lee says to take into consideration that ABC gets higher CPMs because of it. The thinking: Avid viewers who are compelled to watch their favorite shows as soon as they are available -- on the traditional TV screen – are worth more to advertisers.

But we know the flip side is true as well. CBS’ more self-contained crime-procedural-action shows like "CSI," "The Mentalist" and "Person of Interest" may not always get the highest CPMs, but given their higher rerun ratings than "serial soap" dramas, CBS can be ahead overall.

Original shows on the Internet will probably never worry about having "appointment" attached to their efforts. You can see things online anytime.

"Water cooler" activity also doesn't apply here.  Fans may send around links to these shows but -- as of now -- they get seen when the viewer finds the time. Original  online video efforts, like Jerry Seinfeld’s new limited series on Sony Entertainments "Crackle," don't need "appointment" status. All that may quell the urgency versus watching a new episode of a TV series at Thursday at 9 p.m.

If online TV grows as many expect, consumers won't be looking at any futuristic TV-themed datebook. No appointments necessary.

Tags: tv
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