Tuesday, November 08, 2005

iTunes-ing of TV

If you want to watch your shows for free, watch the commercials. If you want to watch your shows later with no commercials, pay a buck.

That's what the TV networks are saying with this new distribution idea of selling TV shows after the first broadcast. Of course, if you have a TiVo you don't really need the buck a show to watch it later, but who knows how much longer that's going to work as it is.

Regardless, Forrester has it right when it points out that this is the end of scheduled television. In fact, this was the idea behind TiVo and other DVRs all along, that time no longer matters.

But I think one other thing is missing in this: soon geography won't matter either. Until now, geography bound broadcast television. Yes, we have cable and satellite, but when it comes to true broadcast, rules and regulations are in place to make sure we see certain things: local news, local sports, local weather, etc. But over the last 20 or 30 years, the business was such that local TV stations, once brimming with self-produced children's shows, news, variety programming and even sitcoms, handed over that production power to the networks.

I'm hoping that soon local stations will be able to tap into the same distribution network that the broadcast networks are just learning to use. Maybe even with branded content distributed via RSS. Maybe the world will be filled with stations like WGBH here in Boston, which produces a ton of PBS fare. Maybe the old WCVB will come back, offering innovative shows like Jaberwocky and Park Street Under.

More likely, we'll just have an easier way to buy porn.

99 cents for Jenna Jameson anyone?

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