We keep hearing that Hollywood is experimenting with video downloads in a non-committal sort of way. Industry insiders almost always qualify their online video efforts as “pilot programs” — and we all know what happens to most pilots. It’s no wonder that some analysts are predicting that the television industry will somehow manage to maintain the current status quo until the year 2015. Unless, of course, the status quo begins to crumble in the face of . . . higher ratings.
The most recent episode of NBC’s The Office just scored a 5.1 — a personal best for the network’s interpretation of the highly regarded British comedy series. Network officials seem to think that The Office’s tremendous success on iTunes is actually helping the program’s ratings.
According to NBCU Television Distribution President, Frederick Huntsberry:
“Consumers have choices, and we are not reaching all consumers with one technology”
Appropriately, last week’s episode of The Office featured a bizarre reverse product endorsement as Dwight admired Pam’s Prism DuroSport (the cheap iPod knock-off her boyfriend gave her for christmas) and encouraged her to download music from a Russian website — the songs are only two cents each, but they’re all in Russian.