As far as most TV networks are concerned, there's one way to watch TV shows: live, in their originally scheduled time slots. But as DVRs proliferate and downloads of shows increase, the networks (and their advertisers) are slowly figuring out they've got to adapt their models to fit the new style of viewing habits. First today was news that NBC has agreed to let Time Warner viewers "start over" shows whose beginnings they miss. Say a user flips over 10 minutes into a program -- they'll be able to press a button and watch it live from the beginning, in its entirety. They won't be able to fast-forward through ads or save shows, but it does bring some DVR-like functionality for people withour DVRs. Also announced were Comedy Central's plans for a broadband video service (via Broadband Reports) featuring both clips from some of its popular shows, as well as complementary content and original programming. Like some previous efforts, the offerings are far from perfect, but seem to reveal that TV networks are at last understanding they've got to change to keep people's eyeballs. DVRs and downloads prove there's a consumer demand that traditional TV broadcasts aren't fulfilling. That's an opportunity that will remain missed until they can figure out how to better reach their viewers.
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