Are Full-Length Shows a Waste of Time?


The fall TV season is in full swing, and a bonus for boob tube watchers is more networks putting full-length episodes of shows online. But are we watching? When he announced the EyeLab short clip factory, Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive (and also a keynoter at our upcoming NewTeeVee Live conference), said the company’s research indicated less than a third of the network’s web audience was interested in full-length shows online.

comScore numbers released last month back up Smith’s snack-sized assertion, with the average person spending just three hours a month total watching online videos, and the average video duration being 2.7 minutes.

So are the efforts of NBC, ABC and even CBS to put full-length shows online all for naught? What would you prefer to watch online? Full-length shows? Clips? Behind-the-scenes extras?

Cast your vote in our poll and sound off in the comments about the networks’ efforts, and what they could do to better serve you.



Being able to watching TV shows I didn’t get a chance to catch, especially the new shows, is great!


Larry: I don’t understand how you can watch those crappy flash-videos. I see them as nothing more than an insult.

Instead, I would strongly recommend people get scene-releases (Usenet and BitTorrent are the best sources these days). You can easily find the shows in 720p encoded in H.264.

During the last 24 hours I’ve downloaded between 20 and 30 gigabytes from Usenet. Right now I’m watching The Office. Using a downloaded DVD-image (not transcoded to another lossy format). Compare that to the stupid legal methods.


I prefer to see full clips, but when I’m short on time, a nice short to engage me to remember to see the full show would be nice.

plus sometimes you just need a quick laugh, and long form is just too long and doesn’t hold your attention versus a number of other options you have over the internet.

Promote short clips to pull in the user, give them full clips if they want them. As mentioned, that freedom of choice is key.

Also, if I like a show enough, i will watch it on TV if time allows, since i don’t have TIVO or a DVR yet.


I agree with Brian. We are in the early stages of a migration to devices (like Apple TV, media computers, etc.) that will deliver content to the lving room TV, where long-form programming is far likelier to be popular. Until we get there, short-form will be king, but we need the long-form to bait the pioneers.

Jeff Macdonald

Put the entire show up. Cut a deal with TiVo so I can still watch the show on my TV and finally stop paying $$ for cable TV.

Brian Andrews

The key here is choice and freedom. The networks need to make the content available on multiple devices, multiple platforms. Give viewers (consumers) the ability to start watching the show on their computer, then finish it on their iPod or (heaven forbid) even burn it to DVD.

Stop worrying that you are accounting for each and every eyeball. Focus on getting your content out there, getting people hooked and then you’ll have a loyal audience that is willing to look at ads. They will also be open to cross promotion and to purchasing of extras as downloads or DVDs.

It’s business 101, focus on the customer first and the profits will come.

Bob Blackburn

I just watched a full show last night. Since I don’t have tivo it is a great feature for me. I also enjoy the extras online.


Being a TIVO junkie, I find that if there are more than 3 shows that I want to watch in a particular time slot, I find which one is viewable online. I then see what network they are so I can see in the best player. ABC is the best in my opinion!

Emily Turrettini

The world is a bigger place than just America.

Europeans (where broadband penetration is nearly 50%) and Asians thrive on watching full episodes of US TV series online. Because we get them on our TV channels usually a full year after the US (we are always a season behind) and we don’t get them all.

We don’t have access to the networks’ streaming (“for US viewers only”), so we watch them on rogue video sharing sites – which are flourishing.

When will the US networks address the issue of European and Asian viewers? My guess is it will take some time. When the European broadcasters finally realize that TV viewers aren’t watching the US series they purchased from the networks, because they have already seen them online.

Frank Sinton

Who cares? What is hot is online video shows. I’ve been finding too many gems to bother with TV shows. For example, someone imported 16 shows just on halloween / paranormal last week….. or National Geographic is putting out some amazing HD video podcasts. Too much content, not enough time!

Liz Gannes

Personally I’ve found myself watching all sorts of embarrassing trash in the last week or so — from Beauty and the Geek to Dancing with the Stars, just because it’s so easily available in such high quality in the privacy of my ever-present laptop.

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