NOTE: This post is free of any spoilers for tv shows mentioned.
TV marketing has become beyond sloppy. Three times in as many weeks, either a commercial or tv show’s facebook account has downright spoiled the plot of it’s own show for me. Just like in modern movie trailers, so much of the important plot information is given away that I am left almost unmotivated to watch the entire program.
The most recent, and worst offender of this has to do with this week’s The Flash/Arrow crossover episodes. Some intense stuff has been going on during the last two weeks of Arrow, leading up to weekly suspenseful cliffhangers. The issue in this instance is with the fact that The Flash is on the day before Arrow. So, at the end of last week’s episode of The Flash, the advertising started for this week’s crossover event. The problem is, showing which characters were going to appear on The Flash this week gave away the outcome/fate of these characters for the next night’s episode of Arrow that hadn’t aired yet. The CW aired a spoiler for their own shows on their own network!
The other two major offenders revolve around social media. While it’s always a strong possibility to have a show spoiled for you on facebook/twitter if you don’t watch it live, I find that for the most part, my friends don’t fill my feed with spoilers. However, the official pages of both The New Girl and Grey’s Anatomy posted major spoilers about huge events on their shows within minutes of the episode wrapping up on the west coast.
Watching live tv, other than sports events, is a drastically shrinking market. DVRs and online viewing options allow us to watch our shows whenever and wherever we want. It would be unreasonable to expect people to not talk/write about interesting tv. I do it myself quite a bit. However, I do my best to warn people when I’m going into spoiler territory on anything write. If people want to click and read further, it’s their choice.
Straight up telling people what happened on your show the second after the episode ends seems irresponsible to me though. While I don’t expect these outlets to not discuss their own shows online, they really should give loyal viewers a day or two before advertising that someone died/got married/found the cure for the virus/adopted a baby giraffe/etc… Viewing habits have changed forever, and marketers should realize/respect that fact a bit more.