Could It Be?

After some drama in my life last week, I’m glad to report that things are kinda settled down, although I’m still not right in my heart.

But in any case, back to your regularly scheduled programming (or not).

Could it be? Someone in charge is finally starting to get it:

“So we understand piracy now as a business model,” said Sweeney in a recent analyst call. “It exists to serve a need in the marketplace specifically for consumers who want TV content on demand and it competes for consumers the same way we do, through high-quality, price and availability and we don’t like the model. But we realize it’s effective enough to make piracy a key competitor going forward. And we’ve created a strategy to address this threat with attractive, easy to use ways to for viewers to get the content they want from us legally; in other words, keeping honest people honest.”

When you start thinking this way, the goal becomes offering a more compelling product than file-swapping networks can provide, rather that attempting (for instance) to sue the users who like your content. For ABC, this has meant launching their own streaming media player and providing shows like Lost and Desperate Housewives online only minutes after they air.


It’s taken the media execs this long to realize that the majority of people do not want to engage in “illegal” behavior? The majority of the people do it because it’s convenient and the media is delivered in a format that the masses demand. iTunes proved that people are willing to pay a fair price for content.

Television has been dead to me and most of my friends forever now with only live programming like sports worth bothering plopping down on the sofa for. Everything else? I’d rather just watch the good parts or watch it when I want to watch it. The concept of the timeslot is irrelevant in the 24/7 world of the Internet. Instead, the content itself becomes that much more important as

One thing that I’ve been contemplating lately is this issue of fan-subs. There is a huge sub-culture of anime/manga fans that work dilligently to translate the latest Japanese anime and manga because there is a huge demand for the product. It’s amazing to think that most of these translators and video editors are working without payment to translate and distribute the content just hours after it airs in Japan. 

It’s not just Japanese content, however, as Wired touched on this issue a few months back with regards to the American comic book powerhouses Marvel and DC:

within 24 hours of going on sale at the local Android’s Dungeon, every new comic is available on BitTorrent, scanned beautifully for your downloading pleasure. Sound familiar? Just like with music, movies, and games, when content companies don’t give fans what they want in the format they want it, fans make it available themselves.

Similarly, there is a huge opportunity lost here by networks not picking up the rights to these Japanese anime/manga series and simply paying a relatively small fee to the fan-subbers for their service and adding short commercials or hosting the videos on the company’s servers. The point is, with the near unlimited “bandwidth” (used here, not really in terms of bits and bytes) of the Internet, there’s no reason not to try to serialize and distribute as much content as possible (compare this to television where your “bandwidth” is limited by the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, and only so many channels of programming).

The current model for distribution of tele-media is still very inefficient as shown by the success of YouTube. People want to see the good stuff when they want to where they want to. No one wants to schedule their lives around arbitrary schedules. I’m happy to see that the success of iTunes finally has others in the industry turned around on this issue of online video distribution.

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