Kvetching About TV Show Distribution Online

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August 1st, 2008

For the Yiddish challenged, to kvetch basically means to complain or whine about something.  Loosely translated, "kvetch, kvetch, kvetch" is the same as "bitch, bitch, bitch".

Let me disclaim right up front that things are getting better all the time, are way better than they were ten years ago, five years ago or even a year ago.  Things take time, but I'm complaining anyway.  I feel entitled to my lack of patience. It's not like I'm going to live forever so sometimes I feel like I need results right now!

I saw that a new season of Eureka was premiering on SciFi and I've never watched the show.  I wanted to take a look at it and since it runs on SciFi I figured the content might be on Hulu.   I was right and wrong.  I think the last five episodes of season two were on Hulu.  But that's not what I wanted.  I like to watch shows from the beginning if I can.

Here's my advice to the distributors of television show content.  If you're going to make any of your content available for free via the Internet, always, always, always include the very first couple of episodes of a show.  I'm not alone in my desire to watch things from the beginning, especially if the shows are serial in nature (like BattleStar Galactica and you guessed it, BSG does not have its initial episodes up on the Internet via Hulu either).

Worse in this particular case for me is that because it's on SciFi, and NBCU property, it's not on iTunes.  Sure I can buy it off of Amazon.com, but then it becomes a pain in the butt to do anything with it, like put it on my iPhone.  And sure, some of you think I'm nuts for wanting to view shows on a 3.5" screen, but I really enjoy it.   The technology is all about giving people choice and control of their media experiences and this isn't working particularly great yet.

It winds up tantamount to SciFi/NBCU encouraging me to download the torrent.  For the record, I'm all for paying for content. I have lots of DVDs, have bought lots of stuff via iTunes and spend $100+/month on the TV portion of my cable bill.  I am against paying for content more than once though (the studios *love* making you do this, and that revenue is all going away...some day).

I'm also against paying for content I'm not sure I'll like.  I believe in at least a little bit of "try before you buy."  I feel like since I support SciFi via my cable bill, I already paid for the Eureka content. I just didn't happen to watch it or DVR it.  Some of that's on me, so I'm not completely against the notion for paying twice if I like it.  But I'm kind of against the notion of paying even $1.99 to find out whether I'll like it.  I don't think I'm  asking for much here really.  Just put the frakkin' pilot of Eureka up on Hulu.  And then kiss and make up with Apple, so I can actually buy the seasons of it on iTunes if I like it.

Is that so much to ask? ;)

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