Monday, June 05, 2006

Make Sense TV

Great TV shows thrive on the internet. Battlestar Galactica broke new ground as fans recorded and uploaded episodes for the whole world to see. At least the small fraction of the world that a) live in the north-western hemisphere and b) has broadband connection and a computer with grunt enough to play fullscreen video. So, we are talking about a quarter of a percent of the world in reality. Hm. Significantly, it is a quarter percent with money to spend and influence over friends.

Anyway, the following happened; The alpha geeks (thanks Tim O'Reilly for the term) downloaded and watched, and LOVED it and recommended everyone else to see it as well. Mouth to mouth is the best promotion you can get, you really can not buy that kind of passion, and it created more pull for the show as the bulk of the population that does not have broadband etc tuned in to see the regular network or cable feed to check out what people were talking about. Most people, even the alphas, do not have a computer hooked up to the big screen TV so a lot of them saw the episodes again when they aired. The networks did not lose any viewers because of this downloading mechanism. Also - watching a show on a computer screen is a solitary thing and more focused. Gathering a couple of friends and some junk to eat in front of the show demands a TV screen.
A wiser blogger than me wondered some time ago why no company makes its own show and puts its own logo in the corner of the screen instead of F*X Network or whatever. If the show is good, people will download it and spread it and their logo will be seen by a bunch of people. Nothing keeps AlternaCola Corporation from sponsoring a cool show on the net first and then selling it to cable or a major studio and recouping most of the cost. By using the p2p networks to spread it early they would create exactly the pull I speak of above, where the alpha geeks tell other people that they should keep an eye out for Show X. The cable company would simply paste their logo over the original (or choose a free corner on the screen) and air it with all the free publicity already in place.
Why do I want this to happen? I want to see more good TV without ad breaks. I can easily live with AlternaColas logo in a corner the whole time, and trust me: if they make a good show AND good cola I will buy the cola to go with the show. The show would be better without breaks for singing tampons or whatever, and perhaps a company that is outside the Big Media Business would have the guts to try something new and different. Right now HB* makes most of the right moves, and F*X has a couple of hits on its own. Everyone else is, well, somewhere. Not in my computer tho'.
Notice that I actually have memorized what company makes what show? Believe me, this is not because I want to remember it - it simply proves the corner logo thing works if done right.
We, the audience, want good or at least better entertainment than we get right now. We want it both legally available on the net without ads but with logo-brand as token payment, and we want it on TV if possible without the awful ad breaks, but we'll live with the shampoo ads if we really have to. We want this and we want it now.
Personally, I like a character in the series NCIS. I think she is the best female role model on TV at the moment, and I would really like to have her as a friend. Yes, I know she is a fictional character, and I don't care. I want to be pals with Han Solo too, so piss off. Point is; on the satellite service I pay for there is a one year delay in screenings of NCIS. I reckon I pay for the show since I pay my sat fees, so I download the episodes as they appear on the net. I can in no way think of this as being a crime. I pay, I view. If I could make my sat company get their act together and show the actual current season I'd be even happier, but the computer screen will have to do for now. In about a year, my current version of Abby will return in larger size on another screen in my home, and I'll eat more popcorn and enjoy it again. No-one loses a cent off this. Why no company JUMPS on this as a distribution model is beyond me.


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