I think most of us were surprised when ABC and Disney announced that they were going to offer television shows on iTunes... those of us normal consumers, that is. Imagine how shocked major television stations were when they discovered how behind the curve they were. Well, if you were fretting, then don’t fret anymore, because CBS and NBC have both announced that they’re going to offer television shows on-demand for 99 cents an episode. The shows will be available the day after they aired and will be commercial free. That’ll show ABC and Apple, right?
Hmmm, something tells me not so much.
Reason One: Who uses on-demand?
Raise your hand if you use on-demand. Now, raise your hand if you subscribe to Netflix or some other online movie rental site. Okay, don’t use online rentals, who here rents from a local video store? Honestly, when it comes down to it, how many people really use on-demand? It must be somewhat successful, if it’s still around, but I’ve never used it... I’ve tried to buy movies and pay-per-view sporting events before, but that didn’t work for whatever reason. The whole ordeal bothered me so much that I just gave up and cursed on-demand.
Reason Two: Is on-demand neccessary?
I’m going to assume that most of the viewers that DO use on-demand will also already have DVR-capable cable boxes. I understand that every once in a while we’ll miss an episode here and there, so now they can buy it and catch up. Which gives us all more incentive to actually upgrade your cable box (if you haven’t already done so) and learn how to use the DVR.
Reason Three: You can probably catch a re-run.
If you hadn’t noticed already, networks have recently began using Saturdays (and now some Fridays) as dumping grounds for re-runs since those nights aren’t pulling in ratings well enough. If you didn’t knot that, then you probably have a social life (or another equally good reason). If networks are already re-playing episodes of popular shows, why not just let people know? Then you’re providing it for free and viewers will love you. It doesn’t matter if it’s commercial-free, people fast-forward through the commercials anyway.
Reason Four: The cost of television.
So you subscribe to basic cable, that’s what, $15 a month? Why would you pay $1 for a show that you missed? More importantly, would you rather buy one single episode of a series you love for $1 (just to get caught up, since online recaps just aren’t good enough, snob), or buy a dvd of the entire season for $40?
Here’s another interesting thing to think about, television stations make most of their profit by charging advertisers boat-loads of money to run ads during popular shows (think Super Bowl). If networks are already making bank for having commercials (meaning, the television show is already shot and produced), then think about how much money they’re skimming off the top when you buy and watch commercial-free episodes. Is this the future of television?
Reason Five: The crux of the situation.
This is probably the most compelling reason (in my opinion) that this isn’t a good idea. Why buy an episode of a tv show when you can ONLY watch it on your tv? Now this is just me, but, I’d be willing to spend one dollar more to be able to view it on my computer, iPod, PSP, etc. If I wasn’t around my tv to watch it in the first place, who’s to assume that I’ll instantly gain an hour to sit at my television? That only happens on the fall version of daylight savings... and that’s a one-time, one-hour deal.
Ultimately, these arguments are kinda silly to think about. We all know that ABC, CBS and NBC are wanting to capitalize and make money from their super fans. Forget the fact that we’re already paying a hefty sum to have cable in the first place. You have to decide whether a particular show really is worth your $1-2. Besides, does anyone in the fan-base of any show on CBS or NBC care about having their shows on iPods? Me not know, but me guess not.