Monday, April 10, 2006

ABC Crosses the Stream

In a bit of good news for anyone who doesn't like having to be home at specific times to see their favorite TV shows, ABC has announced plans to stream online repeats of some of their shows' episodes for free the day after their original airing.

This is an absolutely brilliant idea, and ABC's competitors should quickly follow suit. It used to be that if you followed a show you could afford to miss an episode because they were all pretty independent of one another. You could pick things up the next week without much problem. Now, dramas, and even comedies are increasingly sequential. You miss one show and you're likely to find yourself sitting there the next week muttering at the TV things like "Wait, he's working for the bad guys now?" or "Hold on, how did she lose her right arm?"

Any worries that ratings will be diluted by streaming shows should be far outweighed by the fact that with more opportunities to see each episode, people will be more likely to invest themselves and become fans. HBO has grabbed a sizeable portion of the TV market, not only because their shows are generally superior in quality, but also because viewers can watch them at five or six different times during the week. Hopefully the other networks are paying close attention to ABC's maneuver. This might be the way of the future.


Blogger indefinitelee said...

amazing, now I might never miss one of the 18 Law & Orders

6:32 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Great. Free streaming of TV shows, likely without commercials. So we can look forward to lots more one-hour infomercials like The Apprentice, where 5 minutes doesn't go by without some earnest MBA cooing over a new 7-11-branded pizza sandwich. Or worse, Trump pitching his new line of cheesy, shiny ties.

Sure, I TiVo everything and skip commercials like a pro, but the consequence of this is, as Harlan correctly observed, that the best content will be premium and the free stuff will become increasingly unwatchable.

8:20 PM  

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