The future of TV, Bitorrents and advertising
I think about this issue a lot. I often ponder the future of TV. What will it hold? Possibilities....
-Tv shows that have LOTS of product placement, so it becomes an intrinsic part of the story. With different cuts done for different parts of the world. Say Hurley from Lost, gets into the food supplies, for the USA he grabs an American can of mayo, then retake the scene for Australia and he grabs some Kraft or something.
-Ads that appear on-screen during the show. We already see this and to me its the WORST, but we may see a lot more of it.
-Pay per view becomes really big. We all pay $1 or less per episode. But will that make enough dough? I havent done the maths but how much does a hit show currently make per episode in total over its lifetime. Im guessing a few million??? But then production costs are big, someone said $100M a season for a show like lost divided by about 16 eps, thats 6 000 000 downloads to break even. But if pay per view goes big, what happens to the TV stations, they are left without an audience and all their customes, the advertisers, are paying the producers of the show because product placement and ad breaks will become a part of the download able content.
Recently the makers of Battlestar Galactica spoke out about this problem. They emplored people not to download their show, as the ratings would suffer meaning networks would not want to buy their show. They were trying to communicate with their fanbase which is a great thing to do but the problem is we have all moved on from the TV of the 20th century. Calls like this are only the birth pangs of the new era that will have to evolve soon.
Some feel that downloading isnt a moral issue because they are digitally recording the shows they watch and are fast forwarding the ads. Meaning the network isnt getting their advertising through to these viewers. This is a valid point and further enforces an idea I am about to explain. The problem being people arent seeing ads for one of 2 reasons, - they have downloaded a copy of the show where the ads have been edited out - or they have recorded the show digitally via HTPC or STB PVR and can easily skip the 3 minutes or so that the ads take. I am in this catagory and hardly see any adverts due to my mouse wheel and Zoomplayer.
A possible solution I thought of was a video format that makes fast forwarding impossible or very hard. I have a HTPC and have already seen formats/codecs that have very bad seeks. If the codec was engineered to make this hard, with keyframes or whatever it took, Ths idea would then work........ freely downloadable shows, advertising tailored to your region via IP with adbreaks that you cant FF. Doing this means the only advantage to Bitorrent would become skipping the ads, not enough for most to bother. If you can find a show in the same place every week on the net, download it faster than a torrent (which are usually lucky to get over 50k sec) and be totally legal I think most would do it. Cutting out the middle man ie: the TV station means more money for the makers of the show. If they can both make good money now, surely when one has been removed from the equation then there is more profit available to the other.