3 Minutes Over: Damaging or Not…

I’m trying to get to the bottom of whether Countdown running 3 minutes over could potentially impact Maddow’s viewership numbers at some future point if Current has wider placement and if Countdown has a lot more viewers than it does now. That’s a lot of “ifs” actually. But it still bears investigating. Meanwhile The LA Times’ Joe Flint weighs in with his thoughts (but not the definitive “it can’t possibly work because Nielsen doesn’t function that way” answer I’m looking for)

Olbermann is hardly the first to play this game. Practically all the broadcast and cable networks bleed their shows into the next hour both as an attempt to boost ratings for that hour and to hurt the competition. It doesn’t really do much except tick off the viewing audience at home.

Update: Still don’t have conclusive evidence to prove the idea that running 3 minutes into Maddow’s show will not have any impact beyond annoying the viewers. But given that the decrease in viewers would have to be massively substantial in order to have those three minutes impact Maddow’s total average for the hour, it seems likely.

And there’s this: Last night’s first quarter hour of the Maddow show was the highest quarter hour for that program’s hour. So that three minute overrun had meaningless ratings impact last night.

So while it appears to be a brilliant PR ploy to generate buzz, all that three minute over run is going to accomplish is annoy Countdown’s Maddow fans and cause distress to DVR users who like using the program guide to do their recordings.

I don’t get why Olbermann was chest thumping about this being a competition as a reason for the 63 minute run time when it appears that the extra three minutes appear to accomplish nothing. It’s not going to impact MSNBC and is not going to impact Current either. Those who wanted to watch something else after Countdown is over will most likely still do so. Just maybe 3 minutes late. And with the advent of multiple recording DVRs the overlapping timeslot significance is further rendered moot.

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23 Responses to “3 Minutes Over: Damaging or Not…”

  1. whitneymuse Says:

    let me know, please.

  2. I’ve noticed at tv by the numbers they frequently talk about Castle’s ratings being inflated because Dancing with the Stars ran over by a few minutes. However as they describe it by the time the ‘final’ numbers for the night come out, Nielsen has adjusted for the overrun, so Castle usually loses .1 or something like that.

    So Nielsen has the capability of adjusting for overruns. Whether they do so for cable news channels is another question, but why wouldn’t they?

  3. It’s a stupid move. Any loyal MSNBC viewer interested in catching Countdown is going to DVR it and watch it as an addition to MSNBC’s primetime. Here on the West Coast, it makes sense to play it at 8:00 after The Ed Show. Anyone who tried that last night missed the most (only) interesting part of the show. Fit it to a DVR’s understanding of “one hour”, idiots.

  4. Well if they are going to run over they can give the service that feeds the DVRs the extended times. I often see DVR listings that run to 10:03 pm or start at 10:03 pm. But if Current doesn’t tell the program guide people, you’ll miss the end of the show.

  5. It didn’t do much damage last night. Maddow has the number one show on MSNBC in total viewers and #2 in the demo (Somehow Ed was #1).

    O’Donnell seemed down a bit, though. But just by a little. The show is up from last Monday but if memory serves me right Chris Hayes was guest hosting.

  6. stevemg Says:

    Didn’t Ted Turner at one time schedule the prime time programs on TNT to broadcast one minute after the hour? This led to TV guides/program listings having to list TNT programs separate from the block of other programs on at that hour.

  7. Steve, you are referring to “Turner Time,” the practice of beginning each show five minutes after other networks, at :05 and :35.

  8. stevemg Says:

    Josh:
    Thanks. And he did this for the TV listings, correct?

  9. stevemg Says:

    ^Never mind. I just checked it and that was the reason.

  10. savefarris Says:

    I never, never NEVER want to hear Olbermann smear Republicans for having a lack of diversity EVER AGAIN.

  11. stevemg Says:

    ^Tweet him that one and see how it goes over.

    He likes constructive criticism.

  12. joeremi Says:

    My DVR goes 3 minutes over. I watched live, but also DVRed. My DVR caught the Moulitsos segment, but missed the sign off.

  13. Save, there are at least two black men and an Italian in that picture. Clearly this shows that Olbermann and Current value diversity.

  14. chipsohio Says:

    Josh…sorry but after reviewing the picture I do not see any Asian(s) or Native American(s) in the picture. Something must be done to correct this terrible injustice. ;)

  15. Current is claiming 179K demo viewers for Olby Monday night. They’re not a Nielsen subscriber so either they commissioned a one-off or they did their own survey. It puts Olbermann ahead of CNN for his time slot, but ironically it’s fewer viewers than the guy Olby and his hatchet man attacked last night: Joe Scarborough.

  16. Comedy Central does this with their Futurama, South Park, and Tosh.0 reruns, starting them at :26 and :56. ABC does this with Modern Family. Modern Family starts at 9 eastern and ends at 9:31, when Cougar Town starts and actually runs for 29 minutes until 10pm.

  17. Cindy Adams quoted Keith as saying, back in February;

    “I start beginning June. Al Gore’s Current TV, station 103 in Manhattan. My producers and staff suggest I even veer a little to the middle politically. No cut in salary. In fact, I’m in charge. I’m the news director. So I’ll stay on one hour longer, but I’m in charge of that, too. If we’re long, then I’m on a little more and the next show’s a little short.”

    At the time, I commented to Mark Joyella’s interpretation on Mediaite that he’d be able to do it right from the desk, Olbermann would probably reserve it mostly for special events because it’d be difficult to edit the taped programming which follows on the fly. Though, if more of the line-up goes live and he’s the EP of all which follows in primetime, it’d be easier to do.

    My feeling is that his first show qualifies as a special event, especially to him and by exercising the ability out of the box, he was both feeling his oats and testing the system to see if there’s any problems or complaints.

    IOW: It was Keith being Keith.

  18. Except Keith posted on Twitter last night that 63 minutes would be the show length going forward….

  19. Oops! I don’t follow his Twitter, so I didn’t see the announcement that it’d become the usual MO or the follow-up that their listings will be adjusting over the next few weeks.

    Of course by making it permanent, he really didn’t go long and the following show wouldn’t have to be edited on the fly. But yeah, we’re back to the question of “why”, except it’s still Keith Olbermann and because there’s no obvious strategic reason (and I don’t get Current, but I believe there’s nothing newsy which follows), he could be taking a swipe at Maddow or he may be just wanting three more minutes of his mug on TV.

  20. PS) Of course, right now, Countdown is the promotable program on Current primetime and though last night’s rating probably won’t hold, it’s numbers aren’t going to be reported with the same fervor as the news networks and Olbermann is a brand with a devoted fanbase.

    He may eschew the idea of corporate and whatnot, but it’d be interesting to see if the extra three minutes from start to finish produces extra ad slots.

  21. joeremi Says:

    Rachel’s first 1/4 hour tonight featured her playing bongos to a Shatner-style reading of the latest Huntsman ad, followed by a hilarious recounting of his hilarious campaign rollout this morning. Top that, Super Serious Press Freedom Guy.

  22. laura l Says:

    It’s an homage to Ted Turner, assuming that Turner is an old man who lacks an understanding of technology. Oh, wait..

  23. Olby has decided to drop his ultra-clever three-minute gambit.

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