The times, they are a-changing

Regular readers might have seen my open letter to ABC affiliates in the wake of the ABC/Apple video distribution deal. It seems that a few of the local affiliates have wised up with their own plans to distribute local programming via the internet. While I doubt local executives read my letter it seems to show that at least some local stations are planning for the future when more and more people become interested in timeshifting via digital downloads.

In further support of my original hypothesis about the decline of appointment viewing and the paradigm shift to digital downloads as a video distribution mechanism AOL has announced a deal with Warner Brothers to distribute classic tv from the WB archives via a peer-to-peer download method.

I can’t say yet specifically what the replacement for broadcast appointment viewing will look like, but it is coming. The WB/AOL annoucement requires custom p2p software and relies on advertising and a yet unknown codec. The ABC deals allow mobile viewing via the iPod’s video capabilities. Podcasters and online only shows such as DigitalLife TV have embraced BitTorrent and H.264 amongst other standard codecs. One thing all these services have in common is that they are a “direct to the viewers” approach that is generally favored by media creators and leaves the old affiliate system of broadcast appointment viewing out in the cold. The genie is out of the bottle.


  1. I wonder what the quality of the downloads are if you play them fullscreen on a computer. See, here’s how I feel about downloadable viewing:

    1. It’s great. The minute the technology got out there people started using it.

    2. Broadcasters be savvy. Make available shows for download around $2-3 per episode the week after the initial broadcast. Many people still do not buy season DVDs and if the quality is high enough you can hook them this way.

    3. People use the downloadable episodes as a VCR; or to catch up on shows they missed due to misfortune. Low prices means many downloads.

    4. Think about networks with websites that offer downloadable episodes for a reasonable fee vs ones that don’t. Can you say popular?

    5. Feed the masses. Make it easy, reliable and cheap and they’ll pay for your programming.

    That’s it for now – chow.