I had a fascinating breakfast with a smart woman who is pursuing an alternate financing model for a certain science fiction show. No, not
GF. But she is a player in a position to really truly include video-on-demand as part of a serious financing package.
I think this is the direction TV may well go. No one can make me watch commercials now that I've got my DVR. (There have been rumors about disabling fast-forward on certain shows; but as we say in New York, that dog won't hunt.) On the other hand if Joss asked me for $40 in advance for Season Two of Firefly
, I'd fork it over. No one can pirate a show that hasn't been shot yet, so the subscription model for TV, elitist though it would be, is at least piracy-proof. Pre-sell the show to the audience, shoot and release the show, release the DVD at a slightly higher price a little bit later, and there you are.
And low-budget semi-scripted TV for the broadcast audience, I guess.
This meme may be too bleeding edge just yet. I don't want to watch TV on my computer as a two-day Bittorrent download in a four-inch box, I want to watch it on my TV, in my bedroom. The delivery mechanism, both hardware and pipelines, isn't there yet.
But it will get there, I think.
I think video on demand would be great. For smaller audiences, such as the African American viewing audience, there's been a great demand for black dramas, but the numbers can't keep the various shows on the air. A video on demand service would allow a show to be pushed to the consumer.
I would definitely buy a season pass to shows I like if I didn't have to pay for all the crappy cable channels I don't want.
In my perfect world, I would get the six broadcast channels and one other channel were I could watch shows I've subscribed to.
The problem is, people who like the idea of VOD are active watchers who take charge of their viewing, while most people are couch slouches that watch whatever happens to fall in front of their eyes.
Which explains why Joss never got an Emmy, I think.
What people need to remember in all this is that PPV works and has been used before - most notably FIRST WAVE - where Zoetrope released the shows in 2 hr. blocks on PPV long before the show hit the airwaves on the Sci-fi Channel.
We are not talking about anything new here...
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