Thursday, March 18, 2010

NASCAR's Showtime Troubles (Repost)


Inside NASCAR airs at 10PM ET on Wednesday night. We are trying to get it distributed on a wider basis. We welcome your comments on this issue.

What is worse than producing a bad TV series that everyone watches? The answer is producing a great TV series that no one watches. Welcome to Inside NASCAR on Showtime.

This series is the showpiece of the NASCAR Media Group's new downtown Charlotte, NC facility. A new studio set, control room and offices are all dedicated to this project that has a multi-year contract. Inside NASCAR is going to be around for a while.

Chris Myers hosts Inside NASCAR on Wednesdays at 10PM with Brad Daugherty, Michael Waltrip and Randy Pemberton as the panelists. Myers recently gave up his fulltime Fox Radio slot because of this commitment. Click here for those details.

Recently, I was asked in an interview on The Race Reporters about the current health of Inside NASCAR. You can click here to listen.

My response was simple mathematics. If you put 95 people in a room but only show 17 of them a TV program, what do you expect? The program can be fantastic, but effective distribution is a key element of any TV project. There are approximately 95 million cable TV homes in North America. Showtime is only in 17 million of them.

Click here to see a short clip of Inside NASCAR. It has proven to be a quality show with solid production and a great mix of personalities.

A key component of the original deal between the NASCAR Media Group and Showtime was meant to solve the distribution problem. It seemed to be a perfect solution. Maybe, it was too perfect.

This is an excerpt from reporter Michael Smith's January 2010 story for the Sports Business Journal:

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.

Inside NASCAR will be available on Showtime’s Web site, Sho.com. Plans for the show’s mobile distribution are being formalized, but NASCAR Media Group COO Jay Abraham said the show will be available in its entirety on mobile handsets.


So, the idea was to bridge the gap between relatively small amount of Showtime subscribers and the relatively large number of NASCAR fans by making the entire series available online. Unfortunately, Showtime had other ideas.

In an email to TDP, Showtime said the company never posts complete episodes of programs online for regular viewing. The email also confirmed there is no cell phone outlet for Showtime programs. That includes Inside NASCAR.

So, the only way to see Inside NASCAR is to subscribe to Showtime. That is a tough sell. There are few sports-related programs on the premium network, which is clearly oriented toward adult entertainment. For the time being, Inside NASCAR is playing to a small slice of Showtime's already small TV universe.

Despite the reality that Showtime paid the bill and therefore can control the content, the shame in this equation is that many NASCAR fans are missing a high quality mid-week TV show that really fills a need. With the demise of This Week in NASCAR on SPEED, primetime on weekdays is lacking a program of this type.

Maybe with the continuing success of the series, Showtime and the NASCAR Media Group can revisit some ideas for broader distribution of the program to better serve the fans and the sport.

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. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

75 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see the show, but I'm not going to subscribe to SHOWTIME just for that. While we did have SHO for 1 yr free, when we started to pay for it, we canceled after a couple of months. In this time of cutting back, we couldn't justifying spending the extra money on it. Too bad we won't get to see the show until it's released elsewhere.

Agricola said...

This is just the latest idiotic move by the numbskulls at NASCAR. Grandstands half full, the show hidden on a premium cable network that nobody watches, lousy tv coverage...what a joke. France et al have finally killed the goose.

Anonymous said...

HBO for years had the best NFL program (Inside the NFL) and the only way to get it was on HBO.

I wouldn't say that Inside NASCAR is the best weekly show - but it is really, really strong. Strong enough to be used to make people subscribe to Showtime to see it.

If you want to see the show, but are not willing to pay for Showtime - tough beans. Dexter is probably better than any crime show on network TV, but you have to pay to see that one, too.

The only way for this whole deal to be worthwhile for Showtime is if they make a show that is so good that people feel compelled to pay to see it. I would say that they are close, and if most non-subscribers could be shown a free episode they would subscribe. The show is really strong.

RPM said...

Inside NASCAR is a very good show. For one thing Chris Meyers doesn't pretend to be a buffoon like he does on FOX's pre-race programs and Michael Waltrip substantially dials back the Waltrip factor.

In fact the only criticism I have about the show is the horrible acoustics of the studio it's self.

If NASCAR wanted wider distribution, they should have made a deal with SPEED instead of Showtime.

Anonymous said...

I did signup for showtime to check out the show. Great show but showtime sux. I have not watch anything but this 1 show on the network. So I am going to cansel.

Kate said...

Unfortunately, Showtime isn't available in Canada. So far, none of the Canadian sports networks has picked it up. While our population isn't huge, the proportionate fan base is pretty large, so it's kind of a shame, considering the quality of the Speed shows. And so we wait...

dawg said...

This begs the question, why did Showtime sign on for this project in the first place? Did they think they'd get a huge subscription bump from NASCAR fans? To quote The Man From Snowy River, "not bloody likely."

JimW in Va. said...

What a shame. We were already SHO subscribers so we are part of the lucky few that get to watch this wonderful program. Chris, Brad, and Mikey are much better on this show then they are/were with the regular jobs. Randy is just as rock solid as he has always been. I'm sorry so many of you have to miss it.

Jim said...

Don't get Showtime; don't miss it.

We do get about 100 channels and usually can't find anything to watch except re-runs.

NASCAR programming is the exception, and we just never fail to seek out everything NASCAR.

Bucky B said...

I've been a Showtime subscriber for almost 15 years on DirecTV. I catch the show mostly on the weekends, as an alternative to the pre-race shows on Sunday morning. I like the show and much to my surprise, I even like Mikey! His commentary is insightful and far from the buffoonery of TWIN. Chris Myers keeps things moving with some witty commentary and the panel discussions are thought provoking with out being caustic, confrontational or contrived. Brad and Randy are an excellent balance to Michael and Chris. I understand why people don't want to subscribe to a premium channel for just a one hour weekday program but Showtime does have much more to offer and this show is just another way to attract subscribers.

51 yr. fan said...

I've got Showtime on one of the
1 yr. free deals also. Myers and
Pemberton come across as professionals while Brad & Mikey
are still portraying their hand
wringing false excitement. The
non studio parts are good, but
not worth paying for. I haven't
watched a full show yet.

GinaV24 said...

Anon: "If you're not willing to pay, tough beans". Yep, that cuts both ways. Tough beans for Showtime, too, since they probably aren't getting the bump in subscribers that they thought they would. It's a shame because it sounds like this is a quality show that I would enjoy.

A lot of consumers, including myself, have cut back on their spending and buying a premium channel to watch ONE show doesn't make economic sense to me and although Showtime may have other shows that are good, I have found that I don't watch that much TV these days. I've cut back on my NASCAR viewing quite a bit since most of the shows, except for NN and RaceHub (and that's marginal) aren't all that good and I usually DVR and watch them when I have time. I'm glad for those of you who subscribe and watch it, just not enough value-added for me to spend money on at this time.

I know I thought that putting this show on a channel that was so limited in its audience seemed stupid to me at the time, but I guess it made sense to someone.

MRM4 said...

dawg, my guess is Showtime did take the show to get all these NASCAR fans to sign up for their channel. I have had free periods with Showtime over the years. I can say their programming is bad. I hardly watched it even when I had it for free. I think NASCAR and Showtime overestimated how many fans would subscribe to that channel.

Anonymous said...

I've been pleasantly surprised by this show and don't understand why just because you don't have Showtime, you have to trash the entire concept. But then, that's typical of the owner of this site.

The same people who will drop $15-20 to "own" a movie won't redirect that cash into subscribing to a movie channel on satellite or cable. That always confounds me. The $12 I spend for Showtime is cheaper than buying a single DVD! I love movies, but see no value in owning them. Plus there are a bunch of great original programs on Showtime (in addition to this show) that make it well worth having: Dexter, the Tudors, Nurse Jackie, Californication, United States of Tara, Brotherhood.

Anonymous said...

I get Showtime and watched the first Inside NASCAR on Wednesday night. Since then, I've sometimes caught it on replays. It is good, but not necessarily must watch TV on Wednesday nights. When it is coupled with Inside the NFL this fall, I'll more likely watch it on Wednesdays.

As a whole, I've cut way back on pre- and post- race shows.

I would not watch it online if it was available. I don't enjoy watching full length shows on my computer.

Little off topic, but---watched the IRL race yesterday. Announcers and pit reports were so good.

Donna in FL said...

There's nothing on SHO that I want and no way am I paying for a channel for just ONE show. Been there, done that, was stupid.
In the past SHO programming has migrated to other channels, so after a season, we'll see what happens. Glad to hear its a success, haven't seen much buzz about it so apparently they aren't discussing anything ground breaking or earth shaking, and while I'd like to see some of the interviews in full... I will live without them.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:47AM,

Who is trashing the series? The bottom line is that one NASCAR show is not going to bump the Showtime subscriber numbers in any significant way.

That leaves a gap of approximately 78 million cable homes without Showtime that cannot see the show.

Our only push in this column is to urge additional distribution in some online form.

If you have any other problems with me, please drop me an email at editor@thedalyplanet.tv anytime.

Thanks,

JD

JohnP said...

Never seen the show so can't comment one way or another. Was going to responed to the "tough bean" comment. GinaV already said exactly what I was thinking.

I've got over 150 channels to choose from right now with no premium channels. Why in the world would I choose to pay for a "premium" channel, when cable in and of itself is premium vs over the air channels. Three channels here free over the air. 150 channels using Concast. Why do I need any more?

As far as those shows the anon's refer to. Never ever heard of anyone of them. And it does not matter. There is to much to choose from.

Oh heck, forgot something. On top of over 150 channels there are dozens and dozens of On-Demand movies and TV series that simply come with Comcast's package. At least in this area.

No reason for Showtime, HBO or any of the other extra cost premium channel.

Dot said...

I watch Inside NASCAR as I already have SHO.

The first episodes would show clips from the race that included radio chatter. The profanity was BLEEPED OUT!!! WTH? I'm watching an adult show, on an adult channel, at an adult time (10PM PDT) and the words are bleeped?

I don't what happened but, last week the profanities were flying. We all know radio chatter is full of profanities. We should be able to hear it.

I often wonder about the brain trust in Daytona. Most people are cutting back and they were thinking people would want to add more money to their cable bill? This is a good show, just too bad more can't see it.

I have a question. After complaining about the suits worn on NN, who decided for the panel to wear them on IN?

88Rulez said...

This is the business model, guys. Put up programming that people want to see and get the to subscribe. It's worked for Inside The NFL and boxing for decades now. It's a huge compliment to the sport that Showtime even cares about NASCAR. Whining about it not being on "free" TV is like calling out HBO for having the audacitiy to air the new WWII miniseries instead of putting it on PBS. It's a great show with a growing reputation and if it gets even just a few dozen people to subscribe then it worked! Besides, there's already too much free NASCAR progamming out there for one person to possibly watch...unless they are our fearless leader, TDP!

Daly Planet Editor said...

88Rulez,

Just so we are on the same page. Inside the NFL was cancelled by HBO. It did not work and outlived any usefullness to that pay network.

The show was revived by Showtime as a part of a new ownership strategy to get a small slice of sports.

First, they paid to get the NFL show and now they have paid to get the NASCAR snow.

How this move will work out is anyone's guess.

Boxing is a PPV phenom and has been thay way for years.

The current premium channel business model is to mix original programming that is exclusive to the channel with movies.

When there is such a wide gap between Showtime and the major cable networks, I stand by my suggestion that additional distribution of some sort is needed.

JD

Anonymous said...

Just who is it that comes up with idiotic shows like this? Now we have the sounds of Nascar and a bunch of other silly shows on Speed. I, personally have a difficult time concentrating on the discussions on Race Hub. My eyes keep getting distracted looking at the totally irrational props used on the set. Again,who is responsible for this insanity? P.S.-the set on Jimmy Spencer's show is just as goofy.

Blue Duecer said...

I dont feel that SHO should offer their full length content for free. Since I pay for SHO, how would it be fair to me to pay for a channel to get premium subscription content for them to turn around and offer it free. They would never keep subscribers to their channel if they did this. DId they expect a jump in subs, sure, but they are not going to lament that fact or offer it up free just because some people want it. They paid to have the show so they can now choose to distribute it how they choose.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Blue,

Thank you for bringing up that point.

The idea was that Showtime could offset production costs by offering the show in a format like iTunes, where a small fee gets one product or in this case, episode.

Seems like broader exposure for the sport and a source of added income would be a win-win.

JD

88Rulz said...

Well, you have to give them credit when it comes to promotion. At Daytona they were EVERYWHERE. Everywhere I went at the track or in town they were handing out free stuff and coupons for discounted SHO subscriptions and I totally cashed mine in. They had a blimp over the track the whole two weeks and are still all over the Sprint Vision at every track. If SPEED had spent one tenth as much to promote their stuff (and not just on their own channel) then people might actually know they exist.

Kevin said...

I only pay for the lower tier of cable channels (~25 channels) so I certainly wouldn't pay anything extra for Showtime, but it is kind of silly for them to expect people to pay an extra $144 a year (if it is $12/month as someone said) just to see a nascar show. A few people will, I'm sure, but not very many. To me, it would make the most sense for them to offer a deal where you can subscribe just to this show for maybe something like $19 or $29 a year. In the end, I think they would make more money going that route.

bevo said...

I've been a Showtime subscriber for a long time (along with HBO) and Inside NASCAR has been very good. The past couple of weeks though have seen a rise in the "Mikey" effect. Hopefully they can reign him back in like they did the first couple of shows. Really don't know what Brad Daugherty brings except to set-up segments.

Showtime bought the show to bring in subscribers, if it does then they'll renew it. They have a nice sports programming niche going with this, boxing (not just PPV) and NFL related shows like the excellent "Full Color Football" series. The reason HBO dropped "Inside the NFL" had everything to do with the new head honcho and company politics.

I've never read anywhere of NFL fans upset that they had to get HBO to see "Inside the NFL" and I really don't get this. If you want it buy it. That's the way capitalism works.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed unfortunate that I cannot view a program that sounds like their getting right.

Given the economy I have not had to cut back on my current Directv programming package that does not include SHO.

Having said that, I cannot see the point in subscribing to a premium channel that I have tried multiple times over the 15 years I've been a D* subscriber and have not really enjoyed.

The value and programming I receive from HBO far outweighs any value I might get from a one show desire.

Any series that SHO has run in the past are now available through Netflix ie; the Tudors, Weeds, Dexter, Nurse Jackie etc, so the perceived value of subscribing for me is not there.

Of Course the same can be said of HBO, But, I find many of the original programs offered by HBO to be of a higher caliber and having a more mainstream appeal such as Band of Brothers, The Sopranos, From the Earth to the Moon, John Adams, Sex in the City and now the Pacific.

HBO has been the premium channel home to sports for many years. For sports fans this is not news. Starting in 1977 with Inside the NFL, and continuing with Real Sports, Joe Buck Live, Hard Knocks, On the Record with Bob Costas, Boxing after Dark.

NASCAR and Showtime made the wrong move as far as this sports fan is concerned. In my mind Showtime and Sports is not a combination that comes to my mind.

I wish them luck, I really do, I just won't be part of the veiwing audience.

Dave in Milwaukee

Rick said...

I must say that it is pretty lame or just dumb to put a NASCAR show like that on SHOWTIME.... Seriously im not going to subscribe to SHOWTIME and pay extra for that, Should have keep it on SPEED CHANNEL that show was great!!!! Michael is great but seriously SHOWTIME not a smart move at all....

jamie in n.c. said...

i have a dvr and big brother is watching. if you dvr, it counts.

drop waltrip, and i will start recording. i work during the hours that the show is on.

88Rulz said...

BTW...did anyone see last week's show? I'm 95% sure they took Mike Helton's teleconference and edited it up to look like Myers and Brad were asking the questions. If that's the case, that's pretty misleading, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

I have showtime and have had it for years. I have watched 3 out of the 5 shows and I don't care for it. Its not a must see for me. I miss TWIN. It was my fav show. And I don't like the fact that its not on during Monday night when I am looking for a recap of the past weekend. So by Wed night, I am ready for the next race and don't want to watch the recap then. So they don't have me as a viewer unless I know that someone I really want to see will be on the show. Sorry Its not that great of a show.

I miss TWIN! I know they won't bring it back but there needs to be a recap show that airs on Monday night. I can't believe noone at Speed or Showtime has figured this out! Who runs these places? They need to be fired!

Jeff said...

I wouldn't watch it even if I did subscribe to Showtime, I get more than enough of Meyers idiocy on Fox.

longtimeracefan said...

Showtime's, Inside NASCAR, is indeed a very good program. NASCAR Media Group is producing an excellent high-end product, that indicates their abilities include first rate content. The fact that a premium network with limited sports programming is willing to include the show in it's line-up is interesting. The unfortunate downside of not allowing non-Showtime subscribers access, which at first was reported as not being the case, is frustrating.

Rather than banking on gaining large numbers of new viewers, maybe Showtime is more interested in keeping their 17 million paying customers happy with additional new content. Let's speculate that 10% of their current viewers, 1.7 million are NASCAR fans. $12 monthly times 1.7 million equals over $244 million a year. I'm not sure how much Showtime is paying for Inside NASCAR, maybe JD has a estimate, but if they only add a few 1000 new subscribers, it will be in their interest.

Besides, maybe CBS, who owns Showtime, is dipping their toe back into NASCAR's pond, after being out of the sport for ten years. I remember watching the first live flag-to-flag broadcast of the Daytona 500 in 1979, the one with the infamous fight. It was on CBS. Maybe it's their way of saying, "Hey can we play with you guys again?"

JohnP said...

@88Rulz.. 4.09pm

Assuming your refering to the Edwards statement from Hilton I'll say this. I watched the Helton statement live Monday on a live video feed via Nascar.com. It occured at 12:33pm Est last tuesday. Trust me, Myers and Brad were not conducting it in any way shape or form. There were reporters from all over the place, about 6 if memory serves me correct during 20 minutes or so. Myers and Brad were not conducting it.

TerryG said...

I'm not paying for any premium movie channels, because I can't afford them, and don't watch enough of them to make it worthwhile. I'd love to watch this show to give it a try, but until it's on a channel I already get, or online, I'm going to have to pass.

Richard in N.C. said...

I really do not see Inside NASCAR's being on Showtime as a big deal - but I do wish there was some way to access it for a reasonable fee. From all I've read, I take it that no other network or cable channel was willing to make the schedule space available for another NASCAR review show.

Inside NASCAR on Showtime to me does not seem to be any where near as significant as the shift of most Cup races to EESPN from ABC. I'm not sure how many homes are estimated to not have cable or satellite - and I've never seen any figures on how many homes have just "basic" cable (13 or so channels), which I am sure virtually never includes something as expensive to carry as EESPN.

I suspect SHO's target audience for Inside NASCAR is to attract some portion of HBO's subscribers.

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SCMSRN1 said...

My opinion is the Show isn't good enough to make people subscribe. SHOWTIME gambled and will be the looser as well as NASCAR loosing fans for this stupid move. They'd have been better off to place the show on NA$CAR.com. They could charge a fee like all the other garbage they charge for. Seeing the race or clips are enough for me. There are more important things to do in the week than watch these guys trying to act excited about some unexciting races!

RAEckart said...

JD,

What was the deal with the entire first episode of Inside NASCAR being on NASCAR.com? I saw the whole thing.

When I came back for episode 2, it was just the 2-minute teaser. And episode 1 had been taken down from the site. So was it a mistake?

- RA Eckart -

Daly Planet Editor said...
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Gymmie said...

@dawg--that's my thinking. That they thought we'll grow by making them subscribe. Especially since they're not offering a way to watch even if PPV type dealio another way.

I know for a lot of folks SPEED was only offered on Digital in many markets (when I still had cable last year I had SPEED on both Analog and Digital) and depending on how packaged it could be a huge jump for many. A lot of fans only care to watch this show and the other stuff is wasted on them. When I had cable I had Showtime because they gave it to me when I added the internet to it. I only kept it because of BBAD and that was the only time I watched the channel.

It would really be nice to allow folks to check it out via iTunes or something as JD mentioned. Hope they change their minds and allow us to see it or put it out on DVD.

Daly Planet Editor said...
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88Rulz said...

Yeah, JohnP, we're on the same page. I watched the Helton video conference on ESPN News and then the next night I swore I was having deja vu. I knew in particular that was the answer to Marty Smith's question from Tuesday because I remembered thiking what a great question and answer it was at the time.

That's kind of weak isn't it? To try and make us think it was their exclusive interview but it was really the answers from other questions from the day before?!

JD, what do you think? If ESPN did that they'd be getting ripped for faking it. SHO gets a pass because no one sees it?

Daly Planet Editor said...

That really is part of the issue as you pointed out.

Not really sure just how tiny this audience is, but you can bet only a small percentage of Showtime viewers watch sports on the service.

Not trying to judge, just trying to advance the point that a larger audience delivered through other means of distribution would ultimately be good for all parties.

JD

Anonymous said...

It does come down to a matter of basic needs. Would showtime be nice to have? Sure. But, do I need it.

My cable, phone and internet bill is already over $150.00 a month. I'm not adding Speed nor showtime for an additional costs.

So, I rely on the local channels for the races. If they move the races to channels that are not included in my package, I don't watch.

Ah well, there's always local short track.

Richard in N.C. said...

I wonder whether Showtime has an estimate of how many subscribers it picked up from HBO when it picked up Inside the NFL?

Chris from NY said...

As a recent DirecTV subscriber, I have Showtime for free at the moment. But after that, I will have no racing shows to watch on weeknights, because I am boycotting Speed on days other than Thursday (ocasionally), Friday (I'll only turn it on if they're showing Trucks, NASCAR Live, or practice), Saturday, and Sunday so I could stay away from being a counted ratings statistic on outdated reruns, "Fast Track to Fame" and "The Racing Chef".

I had the chance to watch this show a few times. It was genius, unlike the "New David Hill Circus" (the new lineup on Speed).

I also happen to know CBS owns Showtime. I have also seen NASCAR reports on YouTube in recent years posted under CBS's name. Hopefully, in 2014, CBS would be interested enough in the new contract and (I'm hoping) beat FOX or at least give FOX a lighter role. Then, Inside NASCAR could probably switch to a regular CBS network as a weeknight or pre-race show.

Then again, that's stuff I'm hoping they do. Putting a great show like this on Showtime is fail, but it works for them. However, this is one of the only great NASCAR shows left after the beginning of the great failure of Speed.

Tom said...

I guess for a a change I am on the "too bad" side of this. I have had SHO for some time because of the original programs, so this show was a bonus. I can understand a person wanting to have free access to it, but the simple fact, it is not for free. I see little value of putting it on iTunes, if people are going to carp about $10-$12 a month, well if you need to spend $1.99 a week to watch it, that is $8-$10 a month....little sense of doing that.
There are other sources of NASCAR programming on right now. If you do not want to spend the dime for this, don't. Just do not expect me to give it to you you either.

Tom
Inverness, FL

Anonymous said...

How does Showtime gain ANYTHING by distributing the show for free? Seriously, I'd like an answer.

All the know-it-alls here keep saying things like "Showtime can't possibly be getting many subscribers from this." Does anyone really know if they are or aren't? And don't you think a big network like Showtime did some market research ahead of time? Don't you think Showtime had realistic expectations as to what they might gain from this? Isn't the most likely answer that Showtime decided that shows like this that add to the "prestige factor" are worth keeping.

I mean, a show like Dexter, which critics love, could be an all-time classic if Showtime put it online. It could find a wide audience instead of the few hundred thousand devoted viewers it has. And a show like "Weeds" is consistently called one of the best on TV by many magazines in their year-end reviews. It could be a much more widely watched show if Showtime distributed it. BUt they don't. They don't want to. That's not their business model. Is Showtime seeing a massive uptick of new subscriptions for Dexter, or Weeds, or Inside NASCAR? Probably not.. but what makes you think you know their business model so well. Clearly, you don't have any idea what they are up to as a network or what their goals are. Your pointless and repeated calls to release this show to the non-paying, non-subscriber base make sense only to you as a fan. They make no sense to Showtime's plan. And since Showtime is bankrolling the show, I think it's their call.

Heck, you are probably feeding right into their plan. The more people call for the show to be released, the more they are convinced they have something worth holding onto.

Sophia said...

I had free Showtime for 3 months and now no longer have it. The NASCAR show is ok except for the "Musical chairs" (everytime they run a video & come back to the studio the guys are elsewhere? Sitting, standing, sitting..

If they hacked up that Helton video to make it LOOK like an interview, MAJOR Sharkjump and misleading.

I am also not going to pay $12 a month just to have Showtime.

As I said earlier, killing TWIN to make NASCAR shows on PREMIUM channels when many are cutting back on cable tv/house budgets is just stupid at a time the sport is struggling so badly.

I don't even watch the races except in bits and pieces or deleted on DVR after reading about it online or LISTENING to distant radio stations in car or online.

Showtime is a well produced show though, I will give them that. But a few years ago SPEED GAVE US SHOWS LIKE THIS all week long.

Now it's pinks, talent shows & "cooking shows"...

YesIStillMissSteve&Twin

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:19AM,

In reviewing my column, I still can't understand where you drew the conclusion that I was suggesting Showtime offer the progran online for free.

In the earlier comments, I offered this response to that issue:

"The idea was that Showtime could offset production costs by offering the show in a format like iTunes, where a small fee gets one product or in this case, episode."

The original idea was that "Inside NASCAR" would be distributed at one fee on a per episode basis or a slightly higher fee for the entire series.

The additional income could be used to help Showtime offset the production fees from The NASCAR Media Group and also show non-Showtime subscribers the quality of the channel's sports programming.

Hope that clears up the issue.

JD

GinaV24 said...

I'll give you an example from my own experience - the show Stargate SG-1 began showing on showtime but then was picked up one season late and shown on Fox. I enjoyed the show and had watched it at friend's who had SHO, but it still wasn't worth it to me to buy a premium channel for again ONE program, just like this new NASCAR show. It sounds good, if someone wants to buy SHO and enjoys the programming on there, that's great, but it is my personal choice to NOT buy it. It doesn't make me good or bad, it's just a simple choice.

A lot like the way I feel that I pay for a satellite radio so I can follow NASCAR programming but had to buy a 2nd receiver if I wanted to listen to the same programs inside my home.

It would have been a lot simpler if they streamed those shows to subscribers. I'd like to see cable tv channels offered on an ala carte basis. There are a lot of channels that I never watch, but I still have to pay for the fact that they are in the package.

Maybe SHO has picked up a lot of new subscribers because of this show, but how many fans aren't watching because of the restrictions?

Anonymous said...

Again, even if Showtime released it with a fee, doesn't that kill whatever exclusivity they claim with shows like this?

And isn't the exclusivity, and the fact that the show is ONLY available by subscription to the entire network, really the only thing the show has going for it in terms of Showtime's perspective? I mean, they don't sell advertising on the show, yet they pick up the production and talent fees. Therefore, they have to get something out of it, and that something is exclusivity.

Even if that show alone isn't the reason anyone subscribes to Showtime, it is part of an entire package of programming that they can proudly advertise that "you can't get anywhere else!" If you put these shows on iTunes, then their entire slogan, if not place in the market is demolished.

I just wish they'd axe Brad in favor of a reporter-type personality. The all-male cast could use some gender diversity. Hey Showtime: Hire Jenna Fryer!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 2:15PM,

I am not sure that you have taken the time to read the original column.

The reason this issue is being raised is because NASCAR's own TV production company, the NASCAR Media Group, promised additional distribution online and by cell phone to serve the fanbase.

What we are trying to find out is who got snookered. NMG made part of the deal the additional distribution. Once the deal was done, Showtime said...no thanks.

If only a small sliver of the 17 million Showtime subscribers are watching "Inside NASCAR," it could be one of the smallest audiences for a national NASCAR TV show in history.

JD

Anonymous said...

Oh come on, smaller than ratings for TWIN? I'm not even sure if that show mustered a .2!

Hey, they at one point announced Kyle Petty as a panelist, too. Things change. The show is on Showtime. Get over it already.

The interview they did with the Busch brothers together was awesome. This week all they could do was get Steve Letarte to wear a tie. Yawn.

I think NASCAR knew the show wouldn't be widely distributed and I don't think there was any snookering, except maybe to fans who got overly excited about a press release that seriously pre-dated the show's actual production.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 2:51PM,

I just don't understand what you are arguing. SPEED is a 70 million households plus TV universe. Showtime is 17 million being generous.

NMG made the deal for this series with a priority on the added distribution for just this reason.

"Inside NASCAR" is essentially telecast to an audience smaller than an NBA game on some regional sports networks.

The only gain is Showtime's, which is what NMG was trying to avoid.

Lots of effort for very little result.

JD

JohnP said...

JD, I followed the Helton interview live as you listened live on the phone. Or at least a post said you were going to. I was paying close attention to the questions asked. And who asked them. If memory serves me correct Myers and Brad asked zero question. And the questions were phoned in from what I could tell. I was hoping to hear one from you. But they didn't allow it I guess.

You mind telling this audience who asked the questions? I think at least one came from a newpaper? But forget the details.

Showtime, I get how they can't give the show for free. It does not work that way. And a lot of fans don't want to pay for it. Fair enough in this economy.

Well, why not do what most other web sites do. Show the show a week later over the internet and sell advertising space with static advertising banners from Napa, Bud, Sprint, Red Dog, etc on the edges of the screen. It's called exposure. Yes, it's free to the audience, but Showtime gets income from the static advertising that the viewer would be forced to see. Everybody else does it, Yahoo, MySpace, all of them. Even show 15 to 30 second commercials that the audience can not fast forward through if they want to watch any more. Seems like a win/win move to me. I'd watch it that way easy.

Daly Planet Editor said...

John P,

There are various teleconferences and video conferences every week before and during the racing season.

NASCAR allows media members who are accredited to dial in to both listen and ask questions. Any media member can get in line to ask questions, often it is a function of time as to how many questions get asked.

My beat is only NASCAR TV and sometimes general media topics when they involve new media and video applications. I don't address team, racing and other topics about the sport.

The Showtime guys did not ask any questions and the resulting feature on "Inside NASCAR" was heavily edited and hopefully will not be repeated.

While online and cell phone distribution is one avenue, there are limited networks like Discovery Theater HD that have motorsports blocks on Friday nights.

A re-air of "Inside NASCAR" on a network like DHDT would expose new viewers to Showtime much more effectively than highlights on the Showtime website.

Should be interesting to see how it shakes out this season.

JD

FloridaMatt said...

I don't have SHO, and have no interest in upping my cable bill, which is ugly enough as it is. If it was available a la carte for a reasonable fee, I expect I'd watch an episode or two to determine if MW is still pluggin' away. But given the amount of free, repetitive Nascar coverage available from RaceHub and NascarNow, it would have to be extraordinarily good for me to pay for it on an ongoing basis.

Now, if only ESPN would pick a time I could record NN when they would start it on time, every time.

Anonymous said...

I am arguing because your solution - internet distribution - makes no sense for Showtime. And again it is THEIR SHOW. Stop being such a whiny fan.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 5:51PM,

My solution? I have no dog in this fight. Here is the news release from NMG when they greenlighted the show:

"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.

Inside NASCAR will be available on Showtime’s Web site, Sho.com. Plans for the show’s mobile distribution are being formalized, but NASCAR Media Group COO Jay Abraham said the show will be available in its entirety on mobile handsets."

Please notice my name was not mentioned.

JD

JohnP said...

Quote from TDP:

"The Showtime guys did not ask any questions and the resulting feature on "Inside NASCAR" was heavily edited and hopefully will not be repeated."

Thank you JD, the fans deserved this info about Showtime.

Also thank you 88Rulz for seeing the Showtime show and bringing it up. A vast majority of us did not see it.

MAtt TSB said...

I just reread Smith's article from January 4.

The only person quoted is NMG COO Jay Abraham. Here is what he is quoted as saying:

“It’s the first time that all of our rights holders were in total alignment on an idea,” said Jay Abraham, the group’s COO. “They saw the value of this concept for the sport and they worked with us to navigate what’s a pretty complicated rights landscape in a short period of time to get this done.”

Neither Abraham, a representative from Showtime, nor anybody else is quoted as saying that Inside Nascar will be available anywhere but on Showtime, and that is the only actual quote.

There is also this at the end "Plans for the show’s mobile distribution are being formalized, but Abraham said the show will be available in its entirety on mobile handsets."

The idea of the show being available on other platforms isn't even attributed to anyone from Showtime.

I fail to see any good reason for Showtime to offer or allow this program to be offered elsewhere if it doesn't fit their chosen strategy. Despite what the internet leads some to believe, not everything is free. If Showtime thinks they can make a buck by buying a show and then charging people to watch it, so be it. Either they will be right or wrong. IMO, they have been consistently upgrading the quality of their original programming over the past few years, particularly in comparison to their chief rival, HBO. If this doesn't work out for them, they will drop the show at the end of the contract. We'll see how it plays out.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Matt,

Your comment is well crafted and totally misleading.

Abraham was the catalyst behind this project. Showtime and other small networks have been avoided by NASCAR for exactly the reason we have been discussing.

As I said to other posters, there was never a suggestion that this content would be free.

Abraham's thrust was to clear online and cell phone rights so this show could have a distribution level that would make it worth his company even producing it.

It's great to get paid, but unlike private production companies the focus of NMG is to produce product that enhances the sport.

Unlike the NFL, where there is a glut of shows and a stand-alone TV network, "Inside NASCAR" is the only-hour long primetime talkshow dedicated to the sport during the non-racing weekdays.

This is a quote from my original column:

"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."

As I referenced before, the real question in this deal is who blinked?

JD

longtimeracefan said...

Re: The Daly Planet Editor 8:01 pm

Looks to me like NASCAR Media Group's Abraham, was mouthing a bunch of PR nonsense, and/or NASCAR's media lawyers got snookered. Blink, blink.

Inside NASCAR is still a good show. Well produced and a pleasure to watch. It's unfortunate that it's not available to a larger audience.

So, when is the NASCAR Network going to debut? And how much will it cost?

As Dylan sang, "And the times, they are a changing."

Richard in N.C. said...

NASCAR, Turner, TW, Showtime, and CBS - there is nothing like the joy of reaching a meeting of the minds among large organizations, with large legal depts.

Dannyboy said...

Just a little tidbit to add to the mix here:

A while ago it was announced that Chris Myers was giving up his radio show to devote his time to I.N. They immediately started using guest co-hosts like Pat O'Brien for his "Myers and Hartman" show.

I get that show here in S.D. from noon-3pm daily. This week Steve Hartman has twice referred to it as "The Myers and Hartman Show" indicating that something else is not as we were once told.

Could Chris be keeping his powder dry, waiting for the shakeout at Showtime?

Matt TSB said...

I take exception to my point being called "misleading." Maybe the original "article" (in fact, five very brief paragraphs) was inaccurate. I have no idea what anybody actually said, but if you go back and read the actual piece that you originally referenced, it is far from clear that the rights clearance actually refers to anything other than the Showtime broadcast. It could be inferred, but it is not explicitly stated. Maybe the NMG guy spoke too soon, I don't know. Is there any other reference elsewhere to the "plan" to offer the show on alternate platforms?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Matt,

Just so we are all on the same page. NMG owns the rights to all NASCAR footage once it is done airing on the NASCAR TV partner networks.

They make deals to heighten the profile of the sport by partnering with different TV networks.

Any other major cable TV network would have given NASCAR a footprint for this series of over 75 million cable homes.

Making the Showtime deal was done with the understanding that the 17 million home universe would be augmented by online and cell phone distribution.

JD

Tom said...

JD, all other ideas and considerations aside, is there some behind the scenes grousing from NMG or NASCAR that you are aware of and we are not? Some things related to platforms were mentioned early on by NMG only, and I am not sure where this protracted discussion is coming from. Was there a legal contract to provide online or phone access? I suspect not, and so that is the end of the conversation. I have stated the case for iTunes, as the cost for a month of shows would only be slightly smaller than a subscription to Showtime. If there really is some behind the scenes talk and moving on this topic, let us know!

Tom
Inverness, FL

Matt TSB said...

Mr. D,

So is the story that Nascar got snookered, that ultimately a deal just couldn't be agreed to, or that the original article was wrong (the next time i get through a week of work error free I'm renting a blimp to advertise it-don't think I need to start saving in the blimp fund).

If Someoen got doublecrossed that would be interesting, but we probably would have heard about it. If negotiations crashed spectacularly-same thing. If a small blurb in a not widely read business journal were ultimately wrong, probably few would notice.

What if anything did others report on this whole thing?