What's On Your DVR? (With Apologies to Capital One)
Now there's an ad campaign I can recall: brand, product, strap-line, execution and even some product messages too, I shouldn't wonder. And I'm a hardcore DVR user, so somehow these ads are creeping in. Devious little bastards.
But today is not about ad recall in a DVR household (as interesting a subject as that is). No. Today I'm going to tell you one of the things I like best about the DVR (not ad-skipping, though, yes, that's right up there too) and then I'm going to get into We-The-People mode and issue a call to action that I hope you'll respond to.
First, what do I like best about the DVR? It brings back social viewing. As our personal lives have become increasingly intertwined with our work lives, as more households require multiple incomes to maintain the living standards they have set for themselves, and as families have become more disjointed by business travel, kids' sports schedules, and endless other infractions on good old family time, it seems that we have less and less time to just sit down together, share common experiences and relax.
With a DVR we can do that again, despite all of these infractions. When I come home from a trip away I look forward to seeing my wife and young son; to catching up, sharing a decent meal, talking and relaxing. At some point after my son has turned in for the night, the subject will turn to the DVR and what's been stored up on it. You see, most of what is recorded in my home is followed equally by my wife and I, so we save it until we can both sit down together and enjoy it. Watching it without the other has almost taken on the stigma of unwrapping a shared present alone, without waiting.
If you think this sounds kind of sad, you're missing the point. We have come to use the DVR to select our favorite programs only, eliminate the rest and to create time and opportunity to experience these shows in our own indulgent fashion. Sometimes we'll just hit one from the list, other times we'll binge and do three or four (using the fast-forward feature of course), making a night of it -- kind of like condensing several programs into the space of a long movie.
Monday nights are particularly good for us if one of us is home late, as was the case this week. At around 9.45pm we dived into "Two and a Half Men," followed by "Heroes," followed by "Studio 60." It's what I call harvesting. On other nights, content recorded will go unwatched for a week or so.
Anyway, that's one of the things I really like about my DVR. Not so much about the features or the technical doodads. Much more about how we as a family use it within the framework of our social interaction, and how it recaptures the social dimension of TV that would otherwise be lost to busy and at least partially independent lives. It brings TV back to a position of shared experience / anchor point.
This leads me onto the call to action: What's on your DVR?
As no doubt a disproportionate number of you reading this are DVR users, why not share some of the programs that make up your regular recordings? Let's see who we are. While this kind of stuff will increasingly become available through figures released to the industry at large from Nielsen and TiVo, let's see what we can learn from our own straw poll. Let's see what We The People (or at least We The Readers Of Mediapost) have got on our DVRs.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll kick it off. Don't let me down -- there's nothing worse than a sample of one.
(Regular recordings in no particular order)
Self & Spouse: "Shark"
"Two and a Half Men"
"CSI" x 3
"Brothers and Sisters"
"Men in Trees"
(and we've just preset "The State Within" on BBC America)
Son: Occasional movies
Over to you.