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paid TV content via broadband

so it of course only seems logical that as tv shows and movies start gaining a foothold on computers via services like itunes video downloads and comcast we’ll start to see tv shows going straight to computer. not to dvd, but to computer. i’ve been thinking about this and talking to people about this concept for a little over a year now – its obvious that network tv is in the off, and cable is having some trouble too (w/ the exception of hbo, which figures into the following scheme nicely) as people in greater numbers want services like tivo that allow large amounts of recording and time-shifted viewing. so how do the traditional markets respond to this change? they don’t. the market is entirely changed by some pioneers, and only then do the existing giants take notice.

i think that talented writers will begin to assemble monetary backing and actors to create independent tv shows for distribution over the internet. they will be unfettered by the bullshit restrictions of modern network sitcom, w/ laugh tracks and inane humor. real creativity will flourish on the web. shows such as ‘arrested development’ would flourish in this medium, where they don’t need to meet nielson ratings. an audience on the web will only grow if the content is good – shitty websites die, and so will shitty video shows. a show will be popular b/c it is actually quality, not b/c nbc puts it on thursday night with a famous actor. i would gladly pay several dollars for a good show on a weekly basis. hbo already puts out quality programming like this – i would definitely pay for ‘rome’ every week, though i don’t want to pay upwards of $40 for a basic cable package and then additional $ for hbo and other ‘premium’ channels. i want the content, not the crap.

actor pay will surely have to decrease, but i get the feeling that actors would rather be part of something worthwhile that pays than being a sell-out as part of something huge. most actors want to act, not make billions of $ – not that they don’t want the money, it’s just that the drive to act is for the most part not about the money. so actors in these shows might not necessarily make $20mil per episode, but isn’t that kind of ridiculous anyway? if the provider (aka network) doesn’t make gazillions on the shows, the actors probably won’t push to ask for such extraordinary salaries. but pushing my ideals aside, the system can only pay out what it makes, and this is a different system.

alternative networks may appear for these new producers to rally around, allowing them to centralize content – sort of like glorified rss news sites, but as the success of this system grows, the network conglomerates will change to accomodate it. will they squelch the creativity, or will they actually transform themselves? time will tell.

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