Is Sunday morning the new Saturday Night? Maybe so, say media executives watching television networks work to keep up with the Internet’s transformation of TV watching in America. NBC is not alone in its recent online offering of partial clips and full episodes of popular shows like SNL and 30 Rock. Additionally, if viewers aren’t forced to choose between Leno and Letterman or debate if it’s worth staying up for both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, it’s more likely they’ll make time for everything at their own convenience.
While online audiences could possibly play a key role in keeping certain shows alive, network executives are in the right in their concerns about potentially losing longtime television viewership–cultivating more than just the best parts online could lead to an imbalance of online and television followers, possibly resulting in a drop in advertising rates, which are the networks’ lifeblood. Offering individual pre-show clips, as ABC has done, has proven to draw in more viewers to tune in at night.
However, offering post-show individual clips like NBC does for SNL has the potential to convince viewers to opt to watch the entire episode online at their leisure if they missed it, rather than turning it off completely if they deem the first few sketches unfunny. The networks would be crazy not to continue to embrace the evolution of online TV–without it, would enough of the world have seen the same viral success of Lazy Sunday?EB