… so please stop making that suggestion.
This derives from a conversation that just keeps cropping up. What it boils down to:
- I am a fan of Battlestar Galactica.
- I don’t like to waste time.
- Despite what Walt Mossberg says, I have DSL and yet consider it to be “high speed.” High speed enough.
- I don’t need to watch something live, but I’d like to catch an episode in a rather timely fashion.
- I have a home theater. That’s how I experience good TV.
So my choices are Hulu.com and until the NBC freak-out of ‘07, iTunes.
iTunes was a brilliant solution. I have every ep, of every season, purchased via Season Pass. I get to feel like I’m directly supporting the show: the network gets my $30 or so, and they know it’s because I like BSG. I don’t have to put up with ads. I don’t have to wait more than an extra day to see it. I have it on my TV via AppleTV. And, best of all, ZERO wasted time.
Hulu hits a lot of the points, and well. I can watch it free, which is a bonus. I can see it in a timely fashion (in fact, I can even watch it early, weird). The network knows that that show got a view, so I am supporting the show.
But, I have to watch ads. I have to watch it on a computer monitor, or hook a Mac Mini to my TV and screen-share control it. Plus – and here’s what Walt was talking about – I have DSL. It’s great for background downloads. It’s terrible for streaming video, and that’s all Hulu can do.
Hulu is wasted time incarnate. There’s ads. There’s time waiting for it to stream. And there’s this big thing all around the window that tempts you to start web surfing – and in terms of time wasting, web surfing is Satan compared to channel surfing’s “bad friend who encourages you to drink occasionally.”
That said, I can completely solve this problem for the network. Make BSG (or better yet, every show) available as a free podcast, with the ads built in. No DRM. Apple TV can easily sync it right into the box. I can watch it on my TV. Sure, I can fast-forward through the ads, but, believe it or not, I might occasionally watch the ads. Just like somebody on a Tivo might occasionally watch an ad because it was cool. Just like somebody watching live might occasionally not switch channels all the way through the stations until the show’s back on.
You’d kill piracy instantly. Why potentially break the law when I can just get the thing and deal with ads?
You’d have your numbers feedback: you’ll know exactly how many subscribers, independent downloads, and even streamed watches for each show. You might not know who was giving copies of the episode to their friends, but at least you’d know that if they did, the ads are in there too.
You’d still have your ad dollars. And if you’re going to argue that people can fast forward, I’m going to point you at my VCR.
Solution 2: play Apple’s game. Put your shows back on the ‘tunes. I’ll happily give you my money for one last season pass of BSG.