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August 02, 2009

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@Rick -

When I was going to college, the nearest broadcast TV station was 100 miles away. ( Hard to believe I know... lets just say this part of the US spoke English like Bob and Doug ). Not being able to watch TV + being insanely busy with homework broke any TV habit I had.

Its been a long time since college, and I have never looked back. We only occasionally have the TV turned on at home to watch movies on DVD. My kids watch TV only at the babysitters (and she pays a fortune for cable TV).

We play more board games, go to meetings more, go out walking more, take the kids to the playground, and in general are more *social*.

With so many choices on TV, the social watercooler value of watching "the" TV show has disappeared. It has been years since I heard one conversation at work about a TV show.

This is not a "holier-than-thou" comment....My larger point is that the media industry has made their product hard to get, hard to fit into my family's schedule, and in general inconvenient. As a result, we have discovered that the media industry's product is ... (VC kiss of death) a vitamin (aka optional).

There is another interesting effect that I have noticed. Because we never see movie trailers any more, we go to a lot fewer movies. Whereas, we used to go to a movie at least twice a month, we now don't go... ever.

Unless the media industry wakes up soon, the hurt sandwich is going to include people who don't care about their product even at "free".

Friction free + DRM-free, OK. Friction free but DRMed, no thanks.

Hit the nail on the head Rick. This is why piracy is winning right now - many of the ways to get the content you want, when you want are simply too painful. I'm tired of advertisements eating away at my life, paying for cable that's loaded with channels I don't want, and waiting six months to a year for good content from overseas to show up in Canada. So I don't.

In Canada, I continue to be amazed as Canadian channels commit suicide by not broadcasting shows as soon as they appear on their American counterparts (see http://www.brendonwilson.com/blog/2008/07/18/why-piracy-wins-convenience-timeliness/ for the backstory).

It's not just about access to content - it's about access to the right content. For example, in the viewer's native language. Remember the story about the French kid who translated last Harry Potter book months in advance of the official release (http://it.moldova.org/news/french-teen-detained-over-unauthorized-harry-potter-translation-65111-eng.html)? Well, that's now happening every day as people subtitle all those elicit copies of True Blood and other videos into a variety of languages (http://www.wired.com/entertainment/theweb/magazine/16-11/st_torrent). The content industries are too busy whining to realize that there is a huge demand for their product, if only they'd figure out how to streamline the production and distribution channel.

Isn't this effectively the iTunes model? You can buy season passes for shows you like, then you download them automatically (and the backlog, as necessary?)

People like to hate on the DRM thing, but that really isn't a big deal to the average end user. It's a windmill people have to run off to fight.

As far as pricing goes, the iTunes season pass is nearly identical to the DVD box sets ($35 on average). This means you "own" it. Cool.

If it is less than that, you can't reasonably expect to "own" it unless you buy it used (which I'm a huge proponent of).

As a Mac geek, I'm amused to hear about an opportunity for video delivery that has existed and been hated on for years now :)

The studios and copyright holders are the problem here, the software is already solved.

Jay,
My issue with iTunes is simply the availability of backlog of old stuff. I agree with you that the software to 'fix' this exists. Copyright holders and studios, I hope, will someday get with the program.

Thanks for stopping by.

You've probably not seen the BBC's iPlayer as it's not available outside the UK, most first run programmes are available on there for a week and there are series links for catch ups, plus older programmes... channel 4 over here also uses the same platform, they have a lot of their back catalogue available and the quality is pretty good...

From wikipedia...

"The iPlayer now accounts for around five percent of all UK traffic[72], and had approximately five million page views per day as of 25 June 2008.[73] As of 9 December 2008, over 180 million programmes have been watched on iPlayer since its release"

Hi Rick,

Subscriptions are the real friction. People hate them, hence take-up is low - which means the subscriptions price must be set way above where it could be if everybody was willing to pay.

Usage billing makes much more sense. The key thing is that if you stop using a service you stop paying. The lower the friction (in all senses) the more people will be willing to pay for content and services, which means the unit price can be significantly lower.

We will know we have solved this problem when people view piracy as just not being worth the hassle.

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