Following CBS’ lead, NBC is working out a deal with Comcast to make nearly a dozen of their of their shows available on demand.
NBC’s deal is more comprehensive than the CBS one because it features a wider variety of shows, and includes non-primetime shows like Passions and Late Night, as well as shows from NBCU’s cable properties, most notably Battlestar Galactica. Interestingly enough, customers would be charged US$0.99 for the prime-time shows, but the non-prime and cable shows would be free.
The perception, of course, is that the prime-time shows are worth more than the non prime-time shows, which is weird: it would seem that culty shows like Monk and Passions are worth way more to their cults, no matter where they are originally broadcast.
As an example of that, this story raised a discussion in one of the Medialoper households — the household where Battlestar Galactica is currently the consensus #1 thing in all of the entertainment multiverse — about whether or not we would pay to watch it on demand if we were offered the choice.
Actually, it really wasn’t much of a discussion . . .
Me: “Would you pay 99 cents a pop to watch first-run HD versions of Battlestar?”
You might notice the conditions there: we would be willing to pay for a show that we absolutely loved — the same way that we currently are paying for The Sopranos and Deadwood, etc — if:
- The price point per episode was low enough. (And some kind of credit towards the DVD wouldn’t hurt, either.)
- The quality was the highest quality they could muster– in this case, if you’ve seen those repeats they show on NBC’s Universal HD channel, you know what I’m talking about. The quality is miles ahead of what they can currently show on Sci-Fi. The problem is, of course, is that those are weeks behind the original broadcast, which leads us to the third condition.
- It was first-run: in this case, it should be available nearly simultaneously to the “original” broadcast on Sci-Fi. Yes, we tivo everything, so it wouldn’t matter as long as we were to watch it the next day.
I mean, obviously I’m glad I wouldn’t have to pay (and it’s kinda moot since our local cable monopoly is Charter, anyways), but the point for the networks should be that under the correct set of circumstances, I’m willing to become another revenue stream for them.
Every household, of course, wouldn’t pay for every show. But I’ll bet that a significant amount of households might do that for just one or two — its just up to the nets to make them all available, all of the time. Let us choose.
This is also why a la carte programming makes such sense, but that’s another discussion for another time.
I’m glad to see that other ‘loper households have in-depth entertainment discussions. But did you really say “a pop”?
Your point about non-prime time programming is interesting. Now, I’m a reformed soap opera watcher who, through no fault of her own, was sucked into watching The Young and The Restless yesterday. iPod accident, you understand. And, setting aside the fact that all the characters who were old adults when I was a kid now look younger than me, I was thinking that sometimes I wouldn’t mind watching a soap — at my convenience. There’s something so comforting about slipping back into that world. Now for all the Passions watchers who don’t have DVR or can’t work their VCRs or find the Soap Channel confusing, inflexible, or not provided by their local monopoly (yeah, stealing, totally), then paying a dollar for an episode (or, better, subscribing a month at a time) is a great deal.
It shouldn’t be free. And I’m saying this as a consumer.