At a time when most TV was broadcast live, Desi Arnaz insisted every episode of “I Love Lucy” be recorded. Arnaz managed to secure full ownership of the recordings, and in doing so not only invented reruns, but also made himself a fortune in the process.
As most in the calendar business will tell you, the economic value of repetition is not exclusive to television shows. “The average order repeats for eight years,” said Martin. “You talk to some of the old-time calendar salespeople in our industry, and a lot of them are retired, but they’ve [kept] their calendar orders and just make phone calls and say, ‘How many do you want this year, and are there any changes?’”
Annual dependability is hard to come by in many products, but yearly orders are not the only way calendars positively harness repetition. “The oldest information that we have, and the most conservative information that we have, says that the calendar is looked at 2.8 times a day,” said Kilday. “In the business environment, it’s many more times than that. ... But using that as the most conservative estimate, that’s a 1,022 times that your ad gets looked at for every calendar you hand out,” he added. “And in the $2 range, that’s about five looks for a penny.”