Release Dates: Inconsistencies across seasons in TV Shows

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I just came across an oddity in the Release Dates for the various seasons in the show "Endeavour" (which is a UK show and says "UK" for the country of origin). I'm assuming this could easily be happening with other shows as well. I think it's a bug. I happened to be looking up Season 4 and noticed the air/release dates were all wonky. Episode 1 showed Aug 20, 2017 but Episode 2, 3 and 4 show as having aired in January 2017. I have never edited a page before so didn't know where these dates were coming from. I went in and checked Episode 1 and noticed it had the release dates for France, UK and USA (it was defaulting to the USA's release date for Episode 1(. I then went in and checked the other episodes and they only have France and the UK release dates and they're defaulting to the UK release date.

I'm assuming, at minimum, the release date for the country of origin would be the first date to be entered for any program so doesn't it make sense that the release date IMDB uses is the "Country of Origin"? I understand this can be updated but if it uses the Country of Origin by default then consistency is applied to all seasons regardless of other countries being added. For instance Season 1 and Season 2 have USA added so those dates are being used (even though the original air date is the UK in January), Season 3 doesn't have the USA added so it's showing the UK release date, Season 4 is a mixed bag and Season 5 is showing the UK release date. It's a mess and, as mentioned, could easily be resolved by changing the default behavior.

I was about to submit changes by adding the USA dates to get this series cleaned up but I wanted to post here to see if the default behavior can be changed to use the Country of Origin instead. In the case of this series I wouldn't have to add USA because the dates would all revert to the UK release dates and the data would instantly be cleansed. To me this makes sense for most series. I guess it's possible Country of Origin doesn't apply to some shows and in that case maybe having a secondary default applied would resolve those anomalies but I would assume 99% of the time Country of Origin works.

I'm an absolute stickler for consistency so things like this drive me CRAZY!!! :-) Maybe my thinking is way off on this so I welcome other people's thoughts on it.
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Karen Norton

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Posted 2 years ago

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Steve Crook, Champion

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Hello Karen,
Episode 4.1 shows as being aired on 8 January 2018 for me (here in the UK)

Where are you? The Release Dates show that episode as being broadcast on 20 August 2017 in the States. If you are in the States or have your settings set to show details from the States then that's the date which will show

Episodes 4.2 & 4.3 don't have any release dates showing for the States so they'll just show the UK release dates

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Karen Norton

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Hi Steve. Thanks for the speedy reply. I'm in Canada.  Yep, I know Jan 8 is for the UK airing for 4.1.

I guess that was my error in that  I didn't realize it was picking up on my profile settings. I will have to go and check to see what mine are set to. Might be the US or Canada. It makes sense now as to why it's all jumbled for me (and possibly others with the same settings). Right now it shows season 4.1 as airing after 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4 because there are no USA dates added for 4.2 through to 4.4. The following are the USA air dates so I will go add those in.

4.1: Aug 20, 2017
4.2: Aug 27, 2017
4.3: Sep 3, 2017
4.4: Sep 10, 2017

Thanks again for the speedy reply! :-) This was driving me nuts! LOL! Next time I will check to see if it might be my profile that's influencing what I'm seeing before posting. :-) Is there anyway to set my profile to display "when first aired"? That's how I would prefer to see my dates regardless of when shows air over here.


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Peter, Champion

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I don't think there is a profile setting that will help with the display of release dates. It's dependent on your location.

I agree with Karen that I would prefer to see original air dates in the episode guides because local dates are often not added consistently.
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Col Needham, Official Rep

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I don't think there is a profile setting that will help with the display of release dates. It's dependent on your location.
Yes, there is.  On the web site, it is tied to your "Title Display Country" on (it falls back to geo-IP info if you are not registered / logged-in).

We agree this is not the best experience so there are longer term plans to separate it out and give better controls here. 
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Karen Norton

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This is great news Col!

IMHO I think the original release date (and series end date of course) should be the default that is seen regardless of whether you're logged in/not logged in, profile settings, IP address, etc. This at least provides a consistent user experience across all shows and then the user can select a different country to view. This selection could also be a profile setting option however the reason I don't like the profile option is that a lot of people wouldn't even think to check their settings for something like this. This is why I think it should be something that is selectable at the show level with the default being the original release date.

I had no idea so many factors influenced what a user was seeing but now I understand why I kept seeing different dates appearing. I used to do a lot of traveling and wouldn't necessarily log in to IMDB so I guess it was using the IP address I was on. 

Also, I'm in Canada and I have yet to see Canada entered as a country for the shows I have looked up (even though they have been released here on Canadian channels) so more often than not I was seeing another date appear regardless of being logged in or not.

Added to this is that a lot of people get their programming via streaming services nowadays which may or may not be coming from the user's country. This means a user's locale setting in their profile is moot in so far as displaying the date. For some people the tv show may never be released in their country so they're relying on the release date from the country of origin.

I think the biggest issue, aside from the experience being inconsistent, is that it's not obvious from a user perspective what is driving the date that is being displayed. As mentioned I had no idea so many factors were at play.

In the end, no matter how this is implemented from a user interface perspective, the original release date should be separated out so users have a consistent reference to look at across all tv shows (IMHO). :-D

Thanks to everyone for all the great work on IMDB!!!