I have limited experience in the field of Television and its monetization but as I understand it there are two things that keep the money rolling; ratings and advertising.
Now if I get the basic business model primetime TV is the shows that attract the highest ratings and also are in the optimal timeslots for the specific days of the week which means more people see these shows and thus the advertising during commercial breaks and or implicit product placement in this show.
Okay. So what? Yesterday at Jeff Pulver’s excellent #140conf TLV I discussed this with some new friends (you know who you are tweeps) and I explained my view of this.
If you are a follower of a particular TV show here in Israel or generally outside the US or UK then you tend to lag behind on hit shows like Alias, Lost, Heroes, Chuck, 24 etc. and your friends and family can be easily 1 or 2 seasons ahead; if you even have that show here on Satellite or Cable TV.
Again, so what? First, once again this lag inhibits hardcore fans of these shows from full social interaction of their favorite shows. The networks who own these shows either want the lag, or are charging for said hit, new show more than the local providers can or want to pay.
Cause and effect time folks… 1. Oh look there’s this crazy peer 2 peer technology let’s stuff it back in the box … yes that worked so well for the music industry didn’t it? 2. Oh darn we released it in DVD and they went and ordered it via one of those crazy sites like Amazon. We made some money on that didn’t we (network exec)? 3. (Local fan) I know I’ll have my folks in the States video it or copy their DVD and when they visit … you see they were totally right to try to make it illegal to record music to tape and TV to video. Case closed.
Sarcasm aside about these recurring patterns every time a new media technology pops up. The idea is simple: people want to be entertained and then have the ability to discuss it in real time. They want to be up to the same place as their friends and not a year behind and either feel left out or have the big plotline spoilt for them.
Consumers will always find a way to keep up and technology will be the great equalizer whether it be Tape to tape Cassette Decks, VCR’s, Bit Torrent or other tech. Instead of resisting and forcing these things to be illicit in some way perhaps something similar to iTunes for TV could be adopted.
Is this going to disfranchise the local content providers not if we look at the money model again… ratings and advertising. Right now if you try to watch TV shows from Network websites or 3rd party providers they detect your non-US IP address and block you. I know I would pay per show a reasonable amount to watch. The real zinger is that yes detect my IP address and then ensure you have purchased local ads to suit my location and screen those ads in the commercial break to me. The network will include in the price I pay the cost of buying those ads from the local network.
Is this perfect and the solution to world peace as well? No but I’m not a rocket scientist and I could figure this out, why can’t they?
The author of this blog is not encouraging anyone to act in an illegal or unethical manner vis a vis the intellectual property of others. This post is simply an article defining a view of how things could be. (Network exec… ok call off the ninjas guys.)