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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm sorta tempted to sign up for TMN to see if TELL ME YOU LOVE ME is any good. But reviews are mixed, and I don't feel like spending $20 to watch one TV show. (Unless it's Rome.) And it doesn't seem to be on iTunes.

As we struggle to come up with a post-broadcast model, it seems to me a couple of things will work.

a. iTunes. You can buy shows at a buck a pop. (iTunes charges two bucks but maybe that could come down for shows you'd otherwise be able to see on TV. Maybe two bucks for cable shows you'd have to subscribe for. And keep the season pass about a little above a buck a show, as it is now.)

b. Cable subscription. But why should we have to trust the brand? Not everything on HBO is equally scrumptious. So how about releasing the first episode on iTunes? That way I can see if I want to subscribe.

c. Which leads to the idea of subscription-driven shows. Networks already make pilots. Then they throw them away. What about putting them up on iTunes? See which get downloaded. Greenlight those shows.

That wouldn't necessarily work for the broadcast model. The kind of show that a bunch of people are willing to pay to see is not necessarily the kind of show that vast numbers of people will tune into, but only if it's free. But as the latter becomes less lucrative because people are TiVo'ing away the commercials, the former kind of show will be relatively more valuable.

I'm actually fairly sanguine about my job. More niche programming means more, cheaper episodes. Cheaper episodes will be more writer driven, because dialog is the cheapest special effect there is. Since my happiness depends on whether I'm writing, not whether I'm getting rich, I'm all for a future full of many subscription driven shows.

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8 Comments:

I only watched the first episode on HBO, but it was pretty terrible. I doubt you'll love it. But if you have "Mad Men" up north there, definitely watch that. By far, the best new show in a while.

By Blogger Daniel, at 8:08 AM  

''because dialog is the cheapest special effect there is.''

I'm stealing that!

By Blogger English Dave, at 10:05 AM  

Nudity is the cheapest special effect there is...

By Blogger Bill Cunningham, at 11:34 AM  

TMYLM is pretty terrible.

But you're not going to see HBO shows on iTunes anytime soon. Their entire business model is based on using high-profile, prestigious shows as loss leaders (the Sopranos, Deadwood, etc) to get people to pay the monthly bill for a bunch of letterboxed movies they rarely watch. (Heck, right now I'm basically in a holding pattern for the next season of "The Wire.")

If you could get their shows on iTunes, tons of people would cancel their subscriptions and watch on a per-episode basis.

(ps, the actual quote is from Roger Corman, and it's "Big breasts are the cheapest special effect ..."

By Blogger Hotspur, at 12:53 PM  

The interesting thing about DVR is that it may not be the enemy of advertisers (and therefore networks) that we all thought. A study has shown that even people who completely fast forward through commercials still absorb the information...meaning that DVR won't really be a solid excuse to charge less for ads.

Check this out:
http://www.guidelive.com/sharedcontent/dws/ent/columnists/tmaurstad/stories/DN-presstour_0717gl.ART0.State.Edition1.185dce.html

By Blogger Amanda, at 1:36 PM  

Sorry - Here is the article.

By Blogger Amanda, at 1:38 PM  

Alex,

I just watched the first two episodes of TMYLM and I'm not sure how I feel. Sure there is nudity, and there is a "train wreck factor" of seeing unabashed depictions of couples in various states of love going at it. I think it's worth being on the air just because nothing else like it is.

But sex for sex sake has no story, right? Well, one of the most interesting things the show does (sometimes), is put subtext in the sex scenes. I've never really seen this before. It's like the sex is dialog, and how they are doing it, what they do and don't do, etc, reflects what's going on in their head. Those moments are great, and elevate the show way above ordinary depictions of sex.

That being said, overall, the show is "boring" in a general sense. It's a character study, not plot-driven. And everything the characters go through is extremely relatable, but is kind of uninteresting because of that. We've all seen and been in those problems before, and if the writers don't throw in any curve balls, it's going to be one boring baseball game. (how did a baseball metaphor get in there?)

By Blogger Claude, at 4:46 PM  

Obviously, Claude, 'cause of the sex!

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 5:20 PM  

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