Following up on yesterday’s news about Dollhouse’s increase in viewing from DVRs comes news—prompted by that 50% ratings increase—that Fox is committing to at least air all 13 episodes of Dollhouse’s season two. As for season three, we’ll see later. I would not make plans at this point.
Yesterday’s release of the DVR info led to some debate among TV journalists and TV-biz types about how much the numbers mattered: there were shows, after all, whose DVR viewing bumps were bigger than the entire audience for Dollhouse. But if nothing else this decision shows that the DVR ratings, among other things, can make some difference for a show on the edge. (Plain and simple, Dollhouse would not have gotten a second season at all a few years ago.)
For starters, heavy DVR viewership is a sign of intensity of fan interest. A show with little DVR viewing may be appointment viewing, or it may be a show that fans don’t care much if they miss. Ideally, a show with an intense fan base can monetize that interest (for instance, through DVD sales). How much that intensity is worth is still something the TV business is figuring out—but as this news shows, it’s not nothing.