Thursday, February 4, 2010

Showtime Throws NASCAR A Curveball (Repost from 1/26/10)

When it became clear that SPEED was ending the 14 year run of This Week in NASCAR, it was sad. Other than ESPN's Monday afternoon offering, there was no NASCAR weekday talk show that featured conversation and debate about racing topics. Then, Showtime answered the call.

Click here to review the post announcing that Inside NASCAR would begin on Showtime in February and offer a Wednesday hour talk show. Ultimately announced as the cast was Chris Myers, Brad Daugherty, Randy Pemberton and Michael Waltrip.

Cable TV networks like SPEED, TNT and VERSUS are in well over 70 million homes in the United States. Showtime serves around 17 million. In NASCAR TV terms, they are tiny. Throw in Showtime's mature-themed entertainment programming and suddenly there was a situation brewing.

The question was, will NASCAR fans be able to see Inside NASCAR on what is called an "a la carte" basis. That means being able to break-out a single program or series from a network for viewing. Basically, without subscribing to the Showtime network, could fans access Inside NASCAR? Luckily, that point was quickly addressed.

Here is an excerpt from the Sports Business Journal's Michael Smith addressing those points:

Showtime's new weekly Inside NASCAR show will be available via the Internet and mobile phone, which required clearance from NASCAR's rights holders in that space.

NASCAR Media Group, which manages those multimedia rights, had to clear the broadcast of Inside NASCAR with its TV, web and mobile partners before giving final approval for the new show.

NASCAR's TV broadcast rights are with Fox, Turner Sports and ESPN, while its web rights are with Turner and the mobile rights are with Turner and Sprint. All of those deals run through 2014.

Since that time, we have been communicating directly with Showtime to get updates on just how fans could access the new TV series and what costs might be involved. Tuesday (Jan 26, 2010), we got our answers from the premium network. It was not good news.

First of all, Inside NASCAR will not be available via cell phone. Showtime as a TV network is still not available in that fashion. So, the company is simply not going to break out Inside NASCAR on an "a la carte" basis. The cell phone or hand-held device option is out.

Then came the big news. "We do not offer full episodes of any Showtime programs online," the network told TDP via email. While episode 1 of this series will be posted at as a preview, none of the additional episodes will be available online.

It's understandable that Showtime has a business to run and getting new subscribers is the number one priority. But with no actual races, few other sports and an adult-themed line-up of premium programming, Inside NASCAR may wind up only being seen by that portion of the current 17 million Showtime subscribers who are race fans.

Perhaps, the NASCAR Media Group may yet play a role in getting online distribution for this product. After all, they developed, pitched and sold the TV series to Showtime. Now, NMG is getting ready to produce it at its new Charlotte-based studios.

It may well be in NMG's own best interest to have another round of conversations about getting the only weekday primetime hour of NASCAR conversation on any kind of national TV out to a broader audience. The series debut is February 10.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Shirley Buttacavoli said...

When I watched JJ 24/7 on HBO tonight, it had promos that it would be available on "tomorrow." I thought Showtime had 'one upped' HBO. Guess not.

Is it an issue w/ NASCAR? As TDP has mentioned - when I was working in an office without access to Sirius NASCAR 128 - if NASCAR/ISC would allow access to other venues (i.e, Sirius NASCAR channel 128) more fans & soon-to-be-fans might watch and listen.

Once again, NASCAR is not allowing themselves to be equal to other sports. When is the France family going to wake up and understand we're in 2010, not 1979?

I can't afford both HBO & Showtime. I considered dropping HBO for ST, but now.....sticking with what I've got.

Hopefully I've missed something, or read something incorrectly. It won't be the first time.

Shirley Buttacavoli said...

Love the picture. Mikey actually looks short. He wasn't kidding. MW was needed for streamline photo. ;-)

BToS JD said...

This is not a show that's needed by most NASCAR fans. If it weren't for your blog, I could completely ignore it, as I did all last year.


PammH said...

So they basically lied to us in their press release...nice. Yet another reason not to watch the show.

Unknown said...

I am very disappointed in Showtime, HBO and NMG. Some of Showtime's and HBO's other programming is morally offensive. NASCAR should have known that there is a portion of their fanbase that will not pay money to these channels, even if it means missing out on great programs. I hope they can get a deal worked out for fans to catch the shows online.

Donna DeBoer said...

I pretty much lost interest when Waltrip was announced as a panelist, not Kyle Petty who I preferred. Given Mike's pitching penchant on the last couple years of TWIN, and his appearance last night, I have pretty low expectations that this show is something I will want to watch. No dis to Myers, Pemberton or Daugherty but I don't seeing them holding ground against MW's "opinions".
So, I don't have Showtime, and I don't intend on getting it.
I will be sticking to internet, SPEED and ESPN as my sources for info and race re/previews, interviews and maybe even a laugh.

GinaV24 said...

The announcement that it WOULD be available online or via cell was something that I hadn't expected for this particular cable network, so I can't say I'm surprised that suddenly it is a "gotcha".

The personalities that had been chosen for this show don't appeal to me anyway, so I wasn't planning to watch it regularly - IMO they have to prove that this show will be worthy my spending money to see. If I can't "sample" it anywhere (and one show is not a large enough sample for me), I'm not about to literally buy into it sight unseen.

Sounds like the various entities should have gotten their facts straight before making announcements.

dawg said...

One more NASCAR talk show, with two of the participants having a conflict of interest.

Who really cares?

Ziggy said...

Broadcasting a "narrow themed" show on a subscription based network with just 17 million households just doesn't make "cents".

What was NMG thinking ??? Evidently Showtime must have "showed them the money". Maybe Showtime's viewers are all big NASCAR fans !

A la cart - I'd probably buy, otherwise count me out.

50 yr. fan said...

It's a shame Waltrip appeared
on an intelligent TV program and
turned it into an infommercial. Hannity has better manners
than to decline the items. I guess MW got there through DW's Fox connection for a Daytona promo.

yankeegranny said...

Don't have Showtime on my satellite tv now and wouldn't waste the money to get it for one show a week. NASCAR needs to replace its media group with people who are more in tune with the real world. I agree this is 2010, not 1979, although I doubt the fellow in charge of NASCA$ in 1979 would have allowed such a situation to occur in the first place. Amazing that it took only three generations to run a successful enterprize into the ground. I really wonder if NASCAR will be around in ten years if they keep making idiotic decisions like this one.

Anonymous said...

More bellyaching that the Showtime show isn't free and widely available. More attitude that shows you think all NASCAR fans are "entitled" to all NASCAR programming.

Look, Showtime has a show. If you want to watch it, you subscribe to Showtime. There is no injustice being done by not making it more available to non-subscribers. The entire reason Showtime would invest money into a show like this is to gain subscribers, not to make the show available on YouTube for non-subscribers.

Anonymous said...

It seems like Sowtime did no homework with this show. NASCAR fans have never warmed to Chris Meyers and his commentary is way off the mark. Nice guy, but doesn't understand the sport or the fans. Mikey, probably once liked by fans has become a very polarizing person with his act which offends more people than it attracts. This show has two strikes against it already and will really struggle for ratings, I certainly have zero interest in it.

Anonymous said...

Question: Is "Inside the NFL" available in any format to non-subscribers? Is ANY of Showtime's programming? Is ANY of HBO's?

From NMG's viewpoint, I think the effort here is to expose NASCAR to a pool of viewers (existing Showtime subscribers) who would otherwise never have thought of the sport, thereby benefitting the sport.

From Showtime's viewpoint, they are expanding their sports offerings, and if they can grow their subscriber base, good for them.

Where is it written that NASCAR fans should never be expected to pay for content about the sport? Or that ALL shows be available on free over-the-air TV?

Ken said...

I think people are missing the point here. Showtime is a pay network. You pay for it, or you don't see it. Why should that change because of one show? With all the years Inside the NFL was on HBO, did HBO become free? No.

Another thing, people that state what is shown by Showtime is morally offensive should re-word themselves to say what they show is morally offensive to them. Not everyone. Turn the channel or don't order it if they offend you. Take a moral stand and put your money behind it by not subscribing. But don't get to the level of preaching.

What really bugs me about this post is that NMG negotiated the rights with media partners to play the first episode on and the series on Showtime.

If NMG can do that for one show, why can't they do that with the talk content on Sirius NASCAR Radio for Internet access? Or better yet, why can't Sirius do this on their own behalf?

I have a feeling you aren't going to see more than the first show on is because media partners wouldn't allow the broadcast.

RacewayJay said...

I won't watch anything with Mike Waltrip shilling for NA$CAR. this is another case of NA$CAR selling something for money (exclusive rights)without thinking of the fans at all. If they would only start looking at racing as a sport instead of a cash cow, it most likely would start making more money than they can imagine. Greed has killed a lot of businesses.

Anonymous said...

Ditto what Donna in Fl and Dawg said. Couldn't care less.

Anonymous said...

I look at other NASCAR shows and see that none of them are so enlightening and informative that they are "must watch" shows. So who cares. I certainly won't be willing to pay extra for it and since I don't have ST that is what I'd have to do.
Heck, the last couple of years most of the races aren't "must watch" tv so maybe NASCAR and everyone else should concentrate their efforts on Sundays and not worry about the peripherals.

Haus14 said...

I called DirecTV last night and added HBO and Showtime. They were nice and gave me Showtime free for three months. When those three months are up, I will cancel HBO since the JJ show will be over and will keep Showtime depending on how much I actually watch the NASCAR show. I don't mind paying the extra cash for the channel since I don't spend much on entertainment expenses throughout the month and I don't pay for tickets to races or sporting events as I only go if I have free tickets.

I am one of those people that would rather spend hundreds of dollars on something that can be enjoyed for a while, such as a new tv, etc., than to spend that same amount on a one time deal such as a race or other sporting events.

I do find it interesting however, that the JGR show, which is free on SPEED and is one hour long, for a total of four hours is just as good as the 30 min. JJ show that you have to pay extra for and only get half of the viewing time.

Anonymous said...

I do have Showtime because it was part of my cable package. The only thing I watch on it is Inside the NFL and that is usually using the video on demand feature so I see it at my convenience. I'm looking forward to Showtime putting the new Nascar program with it. Will it be before or after Inside the NFL?

I was a XM subscriber before the merger. Originally signing on when Nascar was on XM. Then with the merger, I signed up for some of the Sirius programs only so I could get Nascar. THEN I found out it wasn't available on line. Since we are already paying for the channel, I still don't totally understand why it isn't available to subscribers online.

With all the rule changes, maybe the racing will be better than it was in 2009. It was pretty boring a lot of the time so toward the end of the year it was no longer much watch TV.

The Showtime show doesn't sound like it is going to be all that exciting. I would have preferred Kyle Petty. However, I will have the opportunity to view it and make up my mind after giving it a try.

Anonymous said...

With Myers & Waltrip on the program that leaves me out even if it wasn't on a subscription channel.When MW is on the TRUCK broadcast the only way I can stand to watch it is to keep the audio on MUTE.Myers doesn't know crap about racing an MW'S limited success as an announcer has gone to his head.MW ruined the monday night show.At one time we didn't get much racing coverage but now there is to much .(To much repitition)

Jonathan said...

I just dont understand the concept of having these shows on "movie" stations????? What??? did I miss something??? Yeah lets take the show off of SPEED a Race fans network and put it on a Movie station!!! That should work OOOKKKK

GinaV24 said...

I don't think anyone on here has said they wouldn't pay to see NASCAR programming that they would want to see, just that they don't have a lot of interest in paying for an unproven show.

I upgraded my digital cable so I could get ESPN classic BECAUSE I wanted it to see the old races. I was willing to PAY for that because it interested me. The show (and the other programming on Showtime) doesn't interest me, so therefore, I'm not willing to ante up more money to see one extra NASCAR show that is loaded with people I don't care to watch or listen to.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to the show this season. I'm not suprised with Showtime's decision. In my opinion, this is quite a poor panel. I don't see what useful (or relevant) information Michael, Brad & Randy can offer compared to Ray Evernham & Ricky Craven. There is nothing that makes this show a must see. There is no need to pay extra $ to the cable company when we have Nascar Now, Race Hub, Victory Lane, Jayski, Twitter, etc.

Anonymous said...

To all the pay cable haters: last night's 24/7 show on Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus was AWESOME! Can't wait to see episode two.

Richard in N.C. said...

Comparatively, I only get to watch EESPN and SPEED for one reason - I pay extra to get the expanded and digital cable tiers on which they are carried.

So far it sounds to me like the only outlet willing to pay for the show is Showtime.

Matt TSB said...

I clinked on the link, and don't see when anyone from Showtime said the show would be available. That looks like it came from NMG.

HBO & Showtime have both been more than movie channels for a long time. HBO's numbers went way up with "Oz", "Sopranos", etc. I changed to Showtime specifically because I prefer "Weeds" and "Tudors" to HBO's current crop of shows. Both also have boxing and other special events.

Completely fail to see the reason uproar

Anonymous said...

Boy, howdy, that Turner online contract is ironclad. Evidently, NASCAR had no clue what it signed over to them, and Turner knew exactly what it was getting.

That won't happen again in 2014, but for now, NMG is gonna have to work with Showtime & Turner to license that sucker online.

Anonymous said...

Don't have HBO or SHO, but they post shows on their on demand channels so I can see them a couple of days after the original air date.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone is afraid that this show might be good. If they were so worried about it stinking up the joint, they would simply flip on NASCAR Now and ignore the new show. But I think they are worried that the pay-cable venue and "new juice" in the studio will create something interesting.

PammH said...

I would have possibly checked this show out if it was available on-line, but even w/DishTV's free SHO/HBO for 3 months, the panel totally turns me off. NMG & SHO did about as much research on casting as Apple did w/naming their new device Ipad! Good grief...

Sophia said...

While Speed suits & honcho's claim to have canceled TWIN as "TWIN was out of touch with the viewers", who in the heck is INTERESTED in this odd mix of a panel?

Give me back my TWIN! Even in its current version it would be better show than what SHOWTIME wants to offer, to a HANDFUL of people in comparison.

The more I read about tv changes, the more depressed I get about the upcoming seasons.. . honestly, NOBODY is addressing the real reason ratings are DOWN and I HIGHLY doubt it will be discussed on SHOWTIME.

Lousy Camera work. The end.
If they make it so they can bump all over the tracks, doesn't matter if all we see are bumper/in car cams.

SHOWTIME's choice of hosts is mind numbing for the most part but I won't name names.

Already missing Steve & the Odd Couple Monday nights.

Some of the nights with Chad & Mikey were hilarious. And just as that show was gaining momentum, it too, was thrown a curveball.

So far, I see two HUGE STRIKES for NASCAR TV SHOWS. & I detest BSPN's tactics & won't watch their shows unless Robin Miller is on :-D
My free SHOWTIME runs out soon, not sure I will get to see this NASCAR show or not.

Oh, I get like 8 SHOWTIME chs, mostly all full of VIOLENT movies except for one Fam channel. The adult sultry themed stuff i thought was on Cinemax. . .


Anonymous said...

What a shame! It would have been a nice option if the price was right. When I had cable I had ST but only because it was given to me when I got cable internet. I only kept it for BBAD rarely watched it but did check the others that came in the package.

It'll be interesting to see how the viewership is for this show. I also wonder how many "fans" are aware. There are shows I'd never have a clue about if it weren't for JD.

I wonder what they consider a "fail" in ratings.

Call me a skeptic but I doubt we'll get any "new race fans" from this show. They'll be the same ones that BSPN and Captain Obvious talk to every week :p.

Anonymous said...

I have neither Showtime or HBO and have no plans to get either of them. The additional cost with TW Cable in order to be able to watch race-related shows cannot be justified. Add me to the long of disgruntled, dissatisfied fans.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of a single reason why Showtime should put this online or on iPhones. They don't owe any obligation to sports fans. If anything the fact that their viewers aren't sports fans is the whole reason why they are programming this show: to reach new fans. If I owned Showtime, I wouldn't give the show away. I would do everything possible to make it must-watch TV, and then make people subscribe to my channel if they wanted to see it. When HBO had the Sopranos on the air, the public was clamoring for new episodes. Did they put them online? No! They made you pony up and pay for the channel if you wanted to see it. It is the same with Showtime. Getting people to pay is their business. If you don't want to pay, you don't have to. This is America and you have a choice. But some of these fans (this blog included) need to step back and stop acting like they are owed access to this program. The attitude seems to be "As a fan, I helped build NASCAR, NASCAR owes its success to me, and now they are excluding me." I think that's overblown. There is a new show on a pay channel. Pay to see it or don't, but stop pretending like you have been done some injustice.

Richard in N.C. said...

I think it can only be good for the sport to have another media family (CBS) regularly carrying programming on the sport. I have seen no reports confirming that (a) TWIN would have continued on SPEED if the program on Showtime had not been developed or (b) that any outlet besides Showtime was willing to carry the new NASCAR show.

One of the basic problems across the board with EESPN is that they have such a near monopoly on sports that they have little worry about competition and, as a result, keep getting sloppier.

If "The Sopranos" was still being produced on HBO I would not consider switching, but now I am inclined to switch from HBO to Showtime to see the new NASCAR show.

Anonymous said...

Not a big deal really for me, low quality talent and premium price? I will not subscribe. I have no problem with Daugherty or Pemberton. But Waltrip has had his nose so far up NA$CAR's rear-end for so many years now I don't listen to him. As for Chris Myers, a total bufoon. If I hear him use another cliche for the 10,000th time during his FOX broadcast I will mute the TV. Oh wait, I already do. The radio broadcast is 50 times better than the idiot TV announcers, especially the FOX-holes. People, nobody is forcing you to do anything. Live free before the government takes it all away.

JohnP said...

TDP said:
"Ultimately announced as the cast was Chris Myers, Brad Daugherty, Randy Pemberton and Michael Waltrip"

Odd casting in my thinking.

Drad Daugherty: Knows nothing about Nascar.

Cris Myers: Knows very little about Nascar.

Michael Waltrip: Very polarizing figure. I liked him on TWIN, but very polarizing either way.

Randy Pemberton: Holding my opinion as I don't know enough about him except what I've seen on Race Hub. But that in itself actually says something. An unknown.

Where are the brains that actually know something?

Nan S said...

Look, many people never had Speed channel or didn't want to pay extra for it. Its no different with Showtime. I couldn't watch the old Inside the NFL until I got HBO. BTW I don't watch that show anymore now that the panel and the vibe are different. I gave it a shot and didn't like it, that may be what happens with the "new" version of TWIN.

Trident said...

Anon 7:42:
""I think everyone is afraid that this show might be good.""


Myers, Waltrip and Daugherty blah blah blah? You want me to actually PAY to see/listen to them?

I can just hear the 'cha-ching' of NASCAR's cash register.

Utterly pathetic.

Anonymous said...

On my cable provider, SPEED is an $8 a month adder for the sports package which I dropped this week. Only thing I'll miss is the truck races. Showtime is a $20 a month adder. Certainly not going to subscribe to catch Inside Nascar.

A show like Inside Nascar has a limited time freshness where it's only really relevant until the next race is run. It doesn't make sense to me to wait until Wednesday for a show of this type. I'd run the show Mondays or Tuesdays on showtime and release it to the internet on Friday each week in hopes of developing a broader following.

With their current lineup, this show is destined for obscurity and showtime is right home for it.

MidNight said...

I would rather then bring back TWIN with Michael, Sharder, and Johnny Benson, Kick in Alen Bestwick and we would be all set again. Don't have showtime and don't plan on getting it. Put it back on speed channel is my vote

Anonymous said...

Sad to see TWIN go. SPEED loses more of my viewing time. Just like with the Sirius-XM merger and the loss of the drivers' shows and PowerShift with Joe Castello (the best racing show on the planet, IMHO). Someone keeps flushing talent.