By admin | March 31, 2010
By Richard Allen
In recent weeks I’ve had a number of readers to comment that they often record races using the DVR feature on their televisions and then watch them later. Since my primary job is that of a high school history teacher, this past Monday’s coverage of the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville provided me the first occasion to employ the DVR for myself.
I have to say that watching races this way does have its advantages. My contention for sometime has been that there are too many 500 mile and 500 lap races in NASCAR. The events are too long and contain far too much riding around in the middle stretches. When watching the recording on Monday afternoon I found myself skipping long periods of the segment between laps 200 and 350.
I do have to admit that while my students were working on an assignment Monday afternoon I did sneak a peak at Trackpass so I knew what was going on. Otherwise, I might not have skipped that middle segment of the race.
The combination of DVR and Trackpass proved more than adequate for keeping up with the action.
Even before the Monday’s race I had been considering the possible effects of DVR on televised racing. Personally, I still prefer watching as the event takes place. However, the benefits of recording and watching later are hard to argue.
For one, the viewer can choose their own schedule. If the person has something else to do during the afternoon they can watch that evening.
Another benefit is that the viewer can watch what parts of the race coverage they want. Don’t like the pre-race shows, don’t watch. The race gets boring in the middle stretches, fast forward. Too many commercials, skip right past them. Saw something you really liked, rewind and watch it again.
Here, in my opinion, is how DVR can serve to benefit NASCAR on television. As I said earlier, many people have other things to do during the day and before DVR might have just missed the race altogether. Now, this feature gives those fans the opportunity to watch later. While years ago many people planned their day and their weekend around NASCAR, that is no longer the case for many. Instead of being ignored in favor of something else, NASCAR may get watched at a later time.
But at the same, I believe DVR might also serve to ruin televised NASCAR. One of the reasons why the races are so long is that television networks depend on selling that advertising time in those middle sections. When advertisers realize many viewers are simply skipping over their commercials they may opt to take their dollars elsewhere. Without that revenue the networks might decide there are better things they can do with their time than show to-be-recorded NASCAR programming.
So, the DVR function on your television’s remote control may save televised racing because it may allow races to be watched at a later time if they are not watched live. Or, that DVR function on your remote may kill televised NASCAR because the advertisers may refuse to shell out big bucks when they realize their commercials are being skipped. Which one will it be?
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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