Comments in response to the PVRblog article NBC Tries to Outsmart TiVo indicate that maximizing advertising revenue is most likely the reason for schedule changes that added time to the beginning and the end of final Friends episode. Late last week, I reported that the accuracy of NBC's schedule for May 6 was likely to be a problem for many DVR users. But the real reason behind the monkey business is only now coming to light.
By adding time to the beginning and end of the program, NBC's advertising sales staff was able to schedule two more sets of commercials. This probably resulted in millions in additional revenue for the network.
My strategy for recording both hours of Friends programming was to record the first program (a retrospective) and continue that recording 60 minutes after the program's scheduled end. This should have allowed me to capture the final episode in its entirety. Unfortunately, this was not the case, as NBC extended the ending by several minutes.
Had my wife and I not set our TiVo to record ER, and had we not been watching anyway, we probably would have missed the end of ER, which extended well past its scheduled ending.
So, if I didn't actually miss any of the programming that I wanted to record, what's my beef? It's primarily that network programmers rub our noses in the fact that the television viewer is not the real customer when they make ad hoc changes like this. Don't we deserve more respect than that?