Now that the age of internet is upon us, and cable and satellite have made TV a 24 hour active paradigm, viewers, readers and surfers don't necessarily sit around stuck to one location once they've finished consuming their medium of choice.
Television shows have a finite number of episodes, and when they're out, many channels either fill up the slot with new content, filler, or just play the same episodes over and over again until the new season is ready. When a book is done, there's usually a year or more until the next installment. Web content updates depending on the style of the page.
To drum up excitement and anticipation for the release of new material, popular media will have a New Content Countdown Clock
which sits (not at all unobtrusively) in the corner of the screen counting down the hours and minutes until the most anticipated new material.
cases (at least in the case of TV) will have the clock fixed in place so that it's even present in the corner of the screen during the commercial breaks
May often appear — on TV at least — at the end of a Theme Week or Marathon.
to the blurb in the corner that proclaims "new episode!"
- Mugglenet has done one for each of the Harry Potter books after the fourth, and all of the movies.
- Bulbapedia has had one of these for the Japanese and English-language releases of every major Pokémon game.
- TFWiki.net has done this for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon.
- ZeldaWiki did this for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, with separate countdowns for Europe, America, and Australia.
- Equestria Daily has them for season and episode premieres.
- Armageddon advertised itself with a series of large billboards with a countdown clock to the release date.
- ABC did it for V when it returned from its hiatus, and also pissed off LOST fans by showing the clock during their show.
- TNT did this with Leverage.
- USA had one for Burn Notice. And every new show that's premiered since.
- Disney Channel did it for the High School Musical movies.
- And for a lot of other things too: new movies, big premieres or events or even just for theme blocks. What makes it particularly annoying is that the countdown timer will be HUGE blocking out significant portions of whatever program is actually on, especially and frequently actors' faces.
- A station in Milwaukee counted down the minutes to the Super Bowl during their newscasts when the Packers were in Super Bowl XLV... from the moment they won the NFC Championship. That's 336 hours of countdown time.
- The Colbert Report website used to do this, with the implication that viewers should be literally counting down the seconds until their next chance to see wonderful, wonderful Stephen Colbert.
- NBC did it for the Heroes Season 3 premiere during a live hour-long preview of the new season.
- AMC Runs one every Sunday to the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
- BBC America has done countdown clocks for:
- CNN and MSNBC always do a countdown for a big presidential speech; every news channel will also count down to a "polls close" time (or in other terms, for Curbstomp Battle votes, the time they declare a winner) for an election.
- ABC NEWS had one counting down to the Royal Wedding of William and Kate.
- At the end of the preceding episode of Stargate SG-1, Sky1 did this for the premiere of Stargate Atlantis. Since they forewent an ad break between the two, and the countdown only occurred over the end credits, nobody minded too much.
- As part of the hype surrounding the 2003 invasion of Iraq, MSNBC put up a clock counting down to the deadline for Saddam Hussein's surrender. The Daily Show added sound effects from 24 and a graphic of Jon Stewart's dismayed reaction to the timer.
- Taylor Swift tweeted one in the runup to her album Red. First it was daily tweets at the 10-day mark (with an Instagram of the relevant number of something or other- six flowers, perhaps, or seven band members' feet), and then she started making or retweeting hourly updates with one day to go.
- Homestuck had a quasi-example with its End of Act 5 Animation Bump - Andrew Hussie added a progress bar measured in percentage which he continually updated over the months spent working on it, and partway through issued a target release date of October 25 2011. Plenty of countdown clocks ensued on fansites.
- Shops will often do this for when a big product is coming out, such as a video game - often they'll keep a constant clock in the window and just change the images whenever it needs to.
- ESPN's main buildings will have these for major sports events, such as the Olympics or the World Cup.
- When Y2K mania was happening, manufacturers sold clocks three years in advance counting down to the new millennium which blinked on and off once the moment came. Thankfully most of them functioned as regular clocks after that date.