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306 comments

when did we start paying for advertising? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788648)

I remember a time when having 'cable' meant that we didn't have to watch commercials. It seems difficult to avoid them these days.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (3, Insightful)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788682)

It's funny how on the one hand we hate targeted advertising because it's an invasion of privacy and you can't trust the security of the data that a company keeps about you; and on the other hand, we hate untargeted advertising just as much for spamming us with irrelevant and annoying messages. I wonder if it'd ever be possible to register our data and preferences with some sort of trustworthy neutral party, and have advertising routed through them so that the business models that depend on it can still survive while we're not bored to pieces or abused by marketting companies.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788702)

How about- just not get *any* advertising.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (0)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788736)

How about just not getting any content?

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788798)

Thats fine. I'm more than happy to pay for content. I'm not happy to have my time wasted with advertising. Which is why I use commercial skipping, ad blockers, and do not subscribe to any newspaper or magazine that has ads. In addition, if I see an ad for your product, I refuse to buy it. Advertisers are the scum of the earth- they steal your time which could be better spent watching your TV show, reading your magazine/webpage, listening to your music/radio show, etc. The whole profession ought to be outlawed.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (2, Interesting)

Konster (252488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788866)

We don't pay for content. The advertisers do.

How do you propose to pay for content when you block out advertiser's ads? I am perfectly happy with Colgate (for example) dropping the cash needed to float and air a program that I enjoy, even if that means that 8 minutes out of every half hour I have to look at dumb ads. Most of the time these ads are ignored, sometimes they make me aware of the product so that I buy it. Advertisers aren't the scum of the Earth. Look to corporate interests to fill that role; adfolk are just trying to scrape together a buck like you and I.

Ads aren't evil, and placed well are very helpful.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (2, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789038)

Ever hear of movies? They're kinda cool. You pay $7.50 or so, and get to watch a story uninterrupted by commercials. Quite often, movies cost double digit millions to make, and some even triple digit millions. I would guess it would be possible to profitably sell copies of TV episodes for $2 each because they cost a mere fraction of the cost of movies. Anyway, you should check them out -- you'd then see there was a model other than advertising which is apparently profitable.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (1)

limecat4eva (1055464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789090)

Product placement is ubiquitous, and not always even that obvious (the soundtrack, for instance).

But personally, I don't have a problem with the practice as long as it's done well and doesn't clobber you over the head.

how long since you've been to the movies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789266)

Your comment that it is "uninterrupted" by commercials and therefore "a model other than advertising" is disingenuous.

The comparison is "story with commercials" (model with advertising) vs. "story w/out commercials" (model other than advertising) and movies fall squarely in the "story with commercials" camp. They simply show the commercials back-to-back for a good 10-15 minutes before showing the story.

Re:how long since you've been to the movies? (1)

jwdb (526327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789380)

A recent phenomenon. It's not that long ago that commercials before a movie were unthinkable.

BTW, previews do not count as commercials, at least not in a cinema.

Jw

Uh huh (4, Interesting)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789100)

Pickpockets, spammers, and con artists are "just trying to scrape together a buck" too.

In any case... I can watch my boxset of Firefly DVDs without seeing any ads, and there are several episodes in it which were never aired. I own several other series on DVD as well.
Fun fact: the most expensive DVD boxset I own costs less than (the hours of time I would have lost watching ads) * (my hourly wage).

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (1)

Duds (100634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788820)

Your cheque for $3000 a month for basic cable will be due on the 30th.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789120)

With all the advertisement on basic cable, why should we have to pay anything for it? It's the reason I don't have cable. That, plus the fact I don't watch much TV. If I want to see an old episode of Deadwood or a new episode of The Wire, I fire up bittorrent. I really don't care if the big media companies crash and burn.

That being said, if it didn't have any DRM, I'd definitely be willing to pay a few bucks for an episode of Deadwood or The Wire if it meant convenience, high quality and fast service. But as soon as I see that License Agreement or get a whiff of DRM, I'm back to bittorrent.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788828)

It's funny how on the one hand we hate targeted advertising because it's an invasion of privacy and you can't trust the security of the data that a company keeps about you; and on the other hand, we hate untargeted advertising just as much for spamming us with irrelevant and annoying messages.

I don't think this is hypocrisy; I think it's just a dislike of advertising.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789042)

I wonder if it'd ever be possible to register our data and preferences with some sort of trustworthy neutral party, and have advertising routed through them so that the business models that depend on it can still survive while we're not bored to pieces or abused by marketting companies.

No, it will never be possible. There will always be advertisers who are determined to exploit and wreck any system based on fair play.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (5, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788956)

"when did we start paying for advertising?"

Ironically, you've always paid for advertising. So now you're both paying for the advertising (if you buy the product), and then you get to pay to watch the advertising (on TV).

So basically you're paying to watch something you dont want to watch, which you yourself paid to get produced, just so you can watch something else you didnt pay to get produced (well, except you did pay to get it produced when you paid for the advertising by buying the advertised product...).

Somehow I suspect that this may not be the most optimal method of funding the things you do want to watch... (which might be a tangent to the articles point...)

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789366)

So basically you're paying to watch something you dont want to watch, which you yourself paid to get produced, just so you can watch something else you didnt pay to get produced (well, except you did pay to get it produced when you paid for the advertising by buying the advertised product...).

Unless, of course, you participate in a more optimal funding approach [npr.org] typically known for generating better results. Human nature being what it is, participation tends to be low.

On the other hand, I wonder sometimes whether people really do want the advertising.

Re:when did we start paying for advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789432)

once cable got the right number of subscribers, they dumped commercials into their products. I see a day soon when cable and dish providers ditch commercials, in order to retain clients. I'm sorry but I it appears the marketplace is incredibily stupid(paying over 40$/mo for commercials) I don't subscribe and I choose internet for my monthly expense as there is much more content available for free on the net. i can watch hdtv recorded content just fine on my computer monitor without having to purchase a hdtv card.

Well, when you put it that way... (3, Insightful)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788652)

Who would pay $1.99 to download a television episode that only costs about $0.0014 to see on cable?

Why pay $14.99 for a novel when you can walk out of the library with it for free?

Content creators need to be assured of recompense for their work. Until someone comes up with a better way of assuring payment for digitally-reproduced work, the system we have is...all we have.

Re:Well, when you put it that way... (5, Insightful)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788712)

"Who would pay $1.99 to download a television episode that only costs about $0.0014 to see on cable?

If someone were to watch TV for 18 hrs/day, 7 days/week, that's ~540 hours/month. Skipping commercials, that's about 800 hrs/month of programming, or 1600 episodes. At $0.0014 per episode, this guy must be paying only $1.12 per month for cable. He would be nuts to pay $1.99 for a single show.

Meanwhile, in the real world, someone who is paying $60/month for cable and watching TV for 40hrs/month, might find $1.99 for a show quite reasonable.

Re:Well, when you put it that way... (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788822)

Although you've got to factor in that he still has to pay for that cable.

Bert

Re:Well, when you put it that way... (2, Funny)

Stu22 (793796) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789026)

Thats $1.12 per picture. 20 TVs all running picture in picture can easily get the price up to $44.80.

Re:Well, when you put it that way... (1)

pvera (250260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789428)

Exactly. The most extreme would be paying for premium digital cable, around $90 in my case, then having a crappy month where I was so busy that the only thing I watched on cable was the first 6 episodes of 24. That's $15 per hour!

A real life example for me, assuming 4 fresh shows, not reruns:

1. 24
2. CSI Miami
3. CSI NY
4. CSI Vegas
5. House MD
6. Bones
7. Ugly Betty
8. Grey's Anatomy
9. Scrubs (1/2 hour)
10. Medium
11. Dirt
12. Ghost Whisperer
13. Numb3rs
14. Las Vegas
15. Boston Legal
16. 20th Century Battlefields (I think this is Discovery's Military Channel)
17. Dogfights (History Channel, fantastic recreations of historic dogfights)

That's 16.5 hours per week, or 66 hours of TV/month. 66 hours for $90 is $1.40/hour. At that price the $1.99 is competitive enough that I would consider it if I get stuck with an hour with 3 shows, since my PVR only has two tuners.

And yes, 66 hours looks like a lot of TV, but I am a telecommuter, and I keep the TV running for background noise. These 16.5 hours are the only ones I am sure I pay attention to.

i would pay (1)

Lolzownz (888492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788654)

because if I only want to watch 4 shows a month thats $8 rather than $30 a month

Re:i would pay (1)

goarilla (908067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788904)

since most shows come out with an episode every week that would mean you
would only see one show for a whole month!
seriously name me a decent show that only airs once a month?

Three reasons (4, Insightful)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788678)

I haven't RTFA, but I could give three reasons.

1. You're paying not to see commercials
2. You're paying for the convenience of seeing whenever you want
3. You're paying for the infrastructure needed

The prices are high as they are with any "new tech". As I see it, this is still an "early adopter" price.

I also question the maths involved here. Is he watching cable 24/7 to get those prices?

Re:Three reasons (4, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788716)

No, he's counting on the fact that "thousands" of programs a month are potentially "available". Of course, if you watched TV 24/7 you could only watch 720 hours worth, assuming, of course, you never slept, went to the bathroom, etc..

Apparently he can't do the math either.

Fundamentally, it's yet another "I want it my way at my price" rant, and since the "content providers" don't see it his way, becomes a rationalization for piracy.

Re:Three reasons (3, Interesting)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788908)

"Of course, if you watched TV 24/7 you could only watch 720 hours worth, assuming, of course, you never slept, went to the bathroom, etc.."

I have yet to see my MythTV infrastructure sleep, go to the bathroom, etc. And, in fact, it has no trouble 'watching' half a dozen channels at the same time. Or more, should I want it to.

Get into the digital age. There is no longer any real difference between broadcast, streamed or stored material. It's all just various incarnations of transmission bandwidth, multiplexing, caching and storage.

Cable can be viewed as simply a linearly transmitted archive.

So the original article is entirely reasonable in counting all available programming; what he's getting is access to that number of terabytes of archive data. Wether he views any particular amount of it or not, he's perfectly able to store, and later view, it all.

Re:Three reasons (3, Insightful)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789260)

> I have yet to see my MythTV infrastructure sleep, go to the bathroom, etc.

You still have to watch the content you have recorded, and you still have a limited ammount of time to do that.

Sorry to break it to you but you are never going to watch tv 24/7 even with added help, it just aint possible.

Re:Three reasons (4, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788720)

Well let's assume you have a four-person household, and each person watches an average of 30 hours a week of TV. That's 6240 hours a year. If your cable bill is $720 a year, then that's about 11c per hour, or 6c for a half-hour show. It's effectively a 1700% markup.

Skipping commercials or viewing whenever you want can be done with a Tivo.

The main problem with pay per view is that you have to be dead sure you want to watch something before you watch it. You can't channel surf, you can't browse, you can't tune into the middle of a show to see if it's any good. You're pretty much restricted to watching shows you really like.

Re:Three reasons (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788756)

Well let's assume you have a four-person household, and each person watches an average of 30 hours a week of TV. That's 6240 hours a year. If your cable bill is $720 a year, then that's about 11c per hour, or 6c for a half-hour show. It's effectively a 1700% markup.
He doesn't say anything about a family. He says, and I quote:

So here's what I would like to see happen. Currently, I watch about four different television shows on a regular basis - Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, and typically a current reality show (which is Grease: You're The One That I Want right now).
That's far from being four 30-hour TV weeks in my book.

Skipping commercials or viewing whenever you want can be done with a Tivo.
Yes, another product. Add more money (And it's only available in the US)

The main problem with pay per view is that you have to be dead sure you want to watch something before you watch it. You can't channel surf, you can't browse, you can't tune into the middle of a show to see if it's any good. You're pretty much restricted to watching shows you really like.
Yes. That's why they should charge you a small fee to download the show you want to see, commercial-free and watchable whenever you want. Atleast, that's the way I want it to be. I can tape the show legally anyway (Atleast in Norway)

This guy should just get himself a VCR. He'd have to endure the commercials that pay for his programming, BUT WHAT THE HELL DOES HE EXPECT?

Re:Three reasons (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788788)

Well let's assume you have a four-person household, and each person watches an average of 30 hours a week of TV. That's 6240 hours a year. If your cable bill is $720 a year, then that's about 11c per hour, or 6c for a half-hour show. It's effectively a 1700% markup.

An average of $0.06/per episode does not mean all shows are worth $0.06. The viewer could consider his few favorites worth $2 and all the rest to be worth $0.04. Claiming "It's effectively a 1700% markup." is meaningless, because people are only going to purchase the high-value content, not the 3AM infomercials.

Re:Three reasons (1)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788802)

The main problem with pay per view is that you have to be dead sure you want to watch something before you watch it. You can't channel surf, you can't browse, you can't tune into the middle of a show to see if it's any good. You're pretty much restricted to watching shows you really like.
So, why not make the pilot or the first episode of the season free to hook people on shows.

Re:Three reasons (5, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788864)

So, why not make the pilot or the first episode of the season free to hook people on shows.

Why stop there? Why not provide the latest episode online for free in case you missed it or prioritized something else (or two something elses if you have a dual-tuner PVR, or three something elses if you recorded two shows and watched a third already-recorded show)? That's what NBC does with Heroes [nbc.com]. But why not go even further? NBC provides all episodes of the current season of Friday Night Lights [nbc.com] online for free. CBS has done the same thing with Jericho [cbs.com]. There are probably other such shows out there provided online for free by the parent company that I just haven't stumbled across (I watch and enjoy Heroes and Jericho, and though I haven't watched it yet I ran across Friday Night Lights by accident).

Yes, these videos are streaming-online-only. Yes, it sucks to have to watch them in a browser rather than on your big screen TV. However this does bring up an interesting question -- if time-shifting is legal, as the courts have held up, and if time-shifting could imply a necessary format-shifting (from broadcast format to tape or disk, for example), might not this new behavior by CBS and NBC actually allow you to time-shift and format-shift not by watching the videos online but by downloading them in a more big screen-friendly format (say, DivX, playable on any HTPC) from a bittorrent tracker somewhere? Seems like a gray area to me. Obviously it would only apply to shows where the full episodes are available for free from the parent company, so shows like Battlestar Galactica or 24 are out. But for the shows I mentioned and others like them, it's definitely an interesting question, unfortunately probably only answerable by a court somewhere.

It does make you wonder how CBS can justify selling Jericho on Xbox Live Video Marketplace for $2/episode when they provide the exact same content online free of charge. Just food for thought ...

Re:Three reasons (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789020)

However this does bring up an interesting question -- if time-shifting is legal, as the courts have held up, and if time-shifting could imply a necessary format-shifting (from broadcast format to tape or disk, for example), might not this new behavior by CBS and NBC actually allow you to time-shift and format-shift not by watching the videos online but by downloading them in a more big screen-friendly format (say, DivX, playable on any HTPC) from a bittorrent tracker somewhere? Seems like a gray area to me.

IANAL, etc, but I very strongly suspect that you're only allowed to time- and format-shift for personal use, so doing so then distributing them via p2p would be illegal. In fact, I'd be amazed if a phrase along the lines of "for personal use only" isn't right there in the fair use clause. Also, while I don't know about US copyright law, here in the UK the clause that allows for time-shifting specifically disallows building up a "home library" of recordings - ie you're not allowed to keep them indefinitely.

Re:Three reasons (2, Informative)

zbaron (649094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789036)

NBC provides all episodes of the current season of Friday Night Lights [nbc.com] online for free. CBS has done the same thing with Jericho [cbs.com]. There are probably other such shows out there provided online for free by the parent company that I just haven't stumbled across (I watch and enjoy Heroes and Jericho, and though I haven't watched it yet I ran across Friday Night Lights by accident).
Ironic that I cannot view the episodes because I am outside of the US, but the ads play fine.

Re:Three reasons (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789006)

> Skipping commercials or viewing whenever you want can be done with a Tivo.

Only works if most people don't, however. Cable TV is subsidised by advertising providers. If no-one's watching the adverts, they're going to stop subsidising TV programs.

Personally, I don't think $1.99 is too much to ask for episodes. Having said that, shows I tend to be interested in (Heroes, Battlestar Galactica...) tend to be special effects heavy, and therefore are going to be more expensive to make, and I can see how $1.99 might be a little much for less expensive to make shows, but I still think claiming a 1700% markup is wildly optimistic.

Re:Three reasons (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789104)

It's effectively a 1700% markup.

Mark-up [cambridge.org] is defined as the cost added to something before it is sold on. Unless those shows are costing the cable company "about $0.0014" per viewer to show, then the mark-up is unlikely to be 1700%.

Re:Three reasons (2, Interesting)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789008)

Learn some economics.

Prices are set such that people are prepared to pay, not that "cost of business + 30%".

It's called the elasticity of demand.

Keep racking up your prices and you'll lose customers.
Keep dropping your prices and you'll lose money.

There's a sweet spot between the two that maximises your price.

These people have decided that $1.99 is their sweet spot.

A competitor might decided to try $1.75 and consequently move the market.

Re:Three reasons (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789070)

If you think you're disagreeing with me, you're wrong ;-)

People are prepared to pay that much for this product (Well, obviously except this math-challenged OP). *I* am willing to pay that much, for the reasons I stated in my original post. You're paying for a service that comes at a price they've figured you'd accept. No argument there.

Regarding the economics of it, there's a bunch of factors that come into play. Obviously, economics of scale, diffusion of innovation, and as you say, market elasticity. I believe that this product is still in the early stages of diffusion, and as such has an artificially high price, that will eventually come down as more people use it and the competition for the customers grows (like your $1.75 price point)

Re:Three reasons (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789336)

I'll pay for convenience, but there is no way I will pay extra for infrastructure or lack of commercials. The infrastructure is a cost for the distributor, not added value for me. The lack of commercials is the default state. I would expect content to be cheaper or free if financed by commercials.

There are two ways to get me to prefer legal downloads to illegal:

a) A subscription service that starts downloading an episode when it's available, so I can watch it whenever I get home / have the time, as opposed to checking a website and setting it to download hours before I can watch it. This would have to be available within 24 hours from airing on TV, otherwise I've already downloaded it.

b) Free, advertising-supported downloads without any DRM. Having an official reelase with guaranteed quality from a trusted source would outweigh the hassle of advertising to me. Sure, someone would strip the commercials and release that, but 90% of viewers would still watch the official version.

Re:Three reasons (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789408)

I'll pay for convenience, but there is no way I will pay extra for infrastructure or lack of commercials. The infrastructure is a cost for the distributor, not added value for me. The lack of commercials is the default state. I would expect content to be cheaper or free if financed by commercials.
Ok, who do you propose pays for the infrastructure and maintenance?
Paying a premium not to get the commercials is fine by me. Getting it cheaper, subsidised by commercials is probably fine by others. No matter how you look at it, it should be paid for.

a) A subscription service that starts downloading an episode when it's available, so I can watch it whenever I get home / have the time, as opposed to checking a website and setting it to download hours before I can watch it. This would have to be available within 24 hours from airing on TV, otherwise I've already downloaded it.
Yes, please! If content makers/distributed would get the "convenience" part, a lot less piracy would happen.

b) Free, advertising-supported downloads without any DRM. Having an official release with guaranteed quality from a trusted source would outweigh the hassle of advertising to me. Sure, someone would strip the commercials and release that, but 90% of viewers would still watch the official version.
Yes, please. DRM-less goes under "convenience", and also "not criminal by default". Someone would strip the commercials and release it, sure. I'd still pay a premium to get the ad-free, high-quality, non-drm'ed version directly to my livingroom to watch at my leisure, shortly after it has aired (Or even simultaneously).

Re:Three reasons (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789430)

1. You're paying not to see commercials 2. You're paying for the convenience of seeing whenever you want 3. You're paying for the infrastructure needed
1. With Subscription TV you're already paying for the content, yet they show the commercials anyway. 2. Your convenience is not really something that cost money to the Studio. 3. This is a real cost, but looking at other online file services, it should be pretty cheap.

PT Barnum (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788704)

There's one born every minute

Bogus calculations (2, Insightful)

aralin (107264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788708)

If average person watches TV for 4 hours a day, that is 120 hours a month. With $60 a month to Comcast that means it 50c per hour of TV, with ads. If you consider that ads run anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes out of hour, lets say at average 20 minutes, you get about 80 minutes of TV for a dollar, which is subsidized by ads. I don't know how much Comcast pays to the content providers and how much ads will pay. But you are willing to pay at average 50c per TV show episode, while watching ads. So you are paying 4 times as much for no ads. Now for the author of the article and for me, if you watch about 4 shows at average, that is 20 episodes a month at the $60 for Comcast this makes $3 per episode. I think that looking at it this way, iTunes pricing is a steal. Not counting the fact that there are off-season periods when you still pay subscription to Comcast, but don't pay anything on iTunes.

Re:Bogus calculations (2, Insightful)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788758)

There is another huge error in TFA:

36000 episodes per month at a mere $0.0014 each! If they take my suggestion, I'll be paying nearly 100 times more than that! How can they possibly go wrong! The maths don't lie!

The author assumes all TV programming is of equal value. People generally assign vastly different values to different shows. An individual could easily consider his favorite show to be worth more than $1.99/episode while still assigning a very low value to the same amount of programming selected randomly.

Pay per view (1)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788732)

Isn't this basicly pay per view, just for television series instead of movies and sports events?

Also, as another poster mentioned previously, not having to watch commercials is a BIG thing for me.

Well, let's see (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788748)

If I could pay $2 per episode for content that was guaranteed to be ad-free, DRM-free (or free enough that it doesn't hinder my fair use efforts), persistent (meaning it doesn't get deleted out from under me), and included added-value content like commentaries and behind-the-scenes features, I would.

Oh wait, it's called buying it on DVD.

And until these newfangled methods of obtaining TV can provide what those shiny coasters can provide, I'll stick with buying the shows I want to watch repeatedly on DVD, and PVRing the ones I only want to see once.

Re:Well, let's see (3, Insightful)

Duds (100634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788790)

With the notable exception of the BBC's hillarious expensive $10 per episode Dr Who DVDs, very rarely can you get the DVD the morning after the show airs if you missed it. On download, you can.

Re:Well, let's see (5, Insightful)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789004)

If I could pay $2 per episode for content that was guaranteed to be ad-free, DRM-free (or free enough that it doesn't hinder my fair use efforts), persistent (meaning it doesn't get deleted out from under me), and included added-value content like commentaries and behind-the-scenes features, I would.

Oh wait, it's called buying it on DVD.
Yeah, if only DVD's didn't come with annoying ads, trailers and "do-not-pirate-shit infomercials" that I can't skip, that'd make what you say true.

Easy (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789118)

Find the code or firmware upgrade to unlock your DVD player from such annoyances. (I've yet to buy a DVD player for which this took more than a couple minutes of searching.)

Or I guess you could copy just the movie file to a DVD-R(W).

Re:Easy (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789354)

I'm well aware of that possibility. I'm thinking more of the generic populace. Jumping through these hoops should be unneccessary.

Re:Well, let's see (1)

theangryfool (1049608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789270)

That's the strategy I've adopted and rather like it. Of course it is a bit confusing to blow through 2.5 episodes in an hour and then pick up where you left off the next morning. I had a PVR and that was nice too, but it cost $100 per month. At that rate, I can buy an entire season of programming for 1 show every month and still be ahead.

The other amazing thing I rediscovered is that all the important stuff (basically 5 stations with normal stuff) is broadcast to my house for free. I guess I don't understand why burying a cable costs $100+/month to maintain, yet maintaining a radio transmitter is free. Obviously the cable companies are making money on the "what the market will bear" factor, which is good for them, but I don't have to pay them to get what I want.

Re:Well, let's see (2, Informative)

Idaho (12907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789276)

If I could pay $2 per episode for content that was guaranteed to be ad-free, DRM-free (or free enough that it doesn't hinder my fair use efforts), persistent (meaning it doesn't get deleted out from under me), and included added-value content like commentaries and behind-the-scenes features, I would.

Oh wait, it's called buying it on DVD.
Wait, so DVD's are DRM-free now? I must have missed that news.

Last time I checked, it was still impossible to (legally) play DVD's under Linux (without cracking the DRM, that is), never mind playing DVD's from different regions, like, in my case, the US...

Ill pay...if! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788750)

Im of the oppinion that they should make TV available over the internet to watch whenever I want to. If i can have it available to me whenever i feel like it i dont care if there are commercials. The two reasons im downloading all series im watching are:

Because i can decide myself when to watch it.
Because i can start downloading them and watch them as i download them.

Make this available to me through leagal means with quality and ill even watch the commercials, but it have to be _easy_,available and free(to start using, im paying through commercials)

Not that difficult (3, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788766)

The same reason people are willing to pay 99 cents for a music file they could download free from Kazaa, or willing to pay $3.99 for a gallon of milk at the gas station they could buy for $2.50 at the grocery store just a few blocks away.

It's shocking news to both content providers and pirates, but most people have money in their pocket and they don't mind spending it on things that they like when it is made convenient to do so. They are particularly happy to spend more when it saves them time and gives them a guarantee of quality, both of which are major motivators of buying songs/TV shows rather than simply getting a radio or cable hookup.

Keep in mind that if you want to watch particular shows and don't have an infinitely flexible schedule, you'll need to include the price of a TiVo or something similar to make sure you're recording all those "cheap" shows. And you'll have to wait for a rerun or a DVD to be released if you missed an episode.

Re:Not that difficult (0, Troll)

kt0157 (830611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788810)

most people have money in their pocket and they don't mind spending it on things that they like when it is made convenient to do so

That won't be true when the dollar halves in value on the world markets.

Milk prices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789274)

[off topic]Contrary to popular belief, milk prices at a 7-11 are almost always cheaper than at the grocery store. It turns out that 7-11 wants you to stop in to buy a gallon of milk, hoping you'll pick up a lotto ticket, pack of smokes, or dirty mag on the way out. Grocery stores, on the other hand, know you never come in for just a gallon of milk, and charge accordingly.

Check it out, and YRMV, but this is what I've found to be the case in New England states.[/off topic]

Re:Milk prices... (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789422)

Interesting, i lived in CT for a year and didn't notice that, but wasn't looking much, either. I know here in TX in the several cities I've lived, the prices were significantly higher at convenience stores (though i admit I only go to ones with gas pumps, so they may price higher since you're stopping for gas already). I was really counting my pennies at one point, so I was acutely aware of which stores had staple goods for 20 cents less than the others :)

Math? (2, Interesting)

guffe (771664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788782)

The current revenue of a company like Comcast comes mainly from the money paid by subscribers, that is true. However, only a fraction of that money goes to the TV networks, most of it goes to pay for infrastructure and such. The reason that the TV networks get none of the money is, quite simply, because they get their finance from commercials. Another model for delivery, like the one suggested in the article, would give no reasons for networks to give the low/nonexistent prices that they currently do to Comcast. Although I do believe that the subscription television probably is something that we might see in the future, I hardly think the article is slashdot-worthy. Slow news-day anyone?

Give me $1 per channel cable/ip/whatever service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17788794)

I'd happily take a $1 per channel per month service, with no limitations and all channels offered.

I hate to say it, but even still many people would pay $30-50 per month, it adds up. This seems like a win-win situation, but cablecos are arses.

missing options (2, Interesting)

cl191 (831857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788800)

"Who would pay $1.99 to download a television episode that only costs about $0.0014 to see on cable?" Who would pay $0.0014 to see it on cable while you can download it on your favorite torrent site for free?

Re:missing options (2, Insightful)

Pingla (64700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789356)

Because some people are actually willing to support the producers of shows they like so that such shows can continue to be produced. Also, there are many people who would want to stay on the right side of the law unless it is too costly (monetary and resource). The amount of money we are talking about per show is very small to most people.
Personally I would gladly pay $2 per show directly to the producer in order to be able to watch it when it is 'aired' in good quality.

Me! (2, Interesting)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788846)

I'm happy to pay a dollar or two if I can download an episode of 24 straight after it airs. The only reason I don't do this at the moment is because Apple (Apple fanboys: note that Apple has refused to sell songs without DRM when requested by the artist - Apple loves DRM) and Fox have decided that they will only sell me encrypted media.

I think there's a huge market for "put your CC details into this website and we'll give you an unencrypted file download link". The iTunes Store was around by the time AllofMP3 started getting popular, but enough people use AllofMP3 for it to bother the RIAA significantly. Why don't these people just use iTunes? Because AllofMP3 give their customers exactly what they want.

We Bitch But Prefer Commercials (3, Insightful)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788862)

Of course a big part of the reason that cable is so cheap per show is that they show advertising. To answer all those people who are bitching about having to pay for cable when it has commercials I want to point out that you pay a relatively small amount for quality (and many not so quality) cable shows because of these commercials. Sure you can argue that the locally inserted commercials by the cable company are a needless waste (but remember cable has far fewer customers than phone so they must split up the cost of their network over fewer people) but if you want big budget shows with high production values you either need to charge the way HBO does (10-15 bucks per channel per month) or fund them with commercials.

I suspect others will point out that the amount the advertiser is paying per viewer is much smaller than the cost of say an iTunes download hence it should be economical to have relatively cheap commercial free download, e.g., each downloader just needs to cover the total amount an advertiser would have paid to get commercials to you. From my quick google research [everyonecounts.tv] it seems likely that the cost per impression in the male 18-34 age group (also the download group) it is about .2c. Given a 30minute program has 6 minutes of commercials that means about $1.20 of commercials (I suspect this might be a hit high but still roughly on target). Throw in the costs of the lost commercials from reruns (how frequently have you seen the same program a second time?) and the $1.99 price begins to seem relatively reasonable. Remember the viewers that are being lost to download aren't the people who are leaving their TV on while they do something else, they are the valuable viewers who are watching closely.

If you are willing to watch commercials in your download then it's a different story but if you aren't you have to ay to replace the money the commercials would have brought in.

Also these sort of pay per show model is only ever going to be an alternative to the normal model never a replacement. Sure we will pay for commercial free versions of our favorite shows we follow but most TV watching is done casually (I wonder if there is anything on) and no matter how much you bitch about commercials I doubt you would pay to watch a show just because you had 30minutes to kill but you will watch a show with commercials for that reason. We vote with our actions and those say we want a flat rate model that lets us watch shows for no extra cost when we feel like it.

It's just the same way that people bitch about ads at the start of movies but no matter how much people bitch they never go spend an extra $2 to go to the theater with less ads.

Re:We Bitch But Prefer Commercials (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788924)

The interesting thing is whether we had a choice, for TV or for the film example. In both cases, the advertising has crept up to an annoying level. The thing is that advertising time costs have plummeted. If you don't want half-time at the Superbowl or a hand full of popular shows like Desperate Housewives or Lost, slots aren't that expensive anymore because the market has become saturated. When I'm travelling in the US and don't have the luxury of a PVR, I find the frequenecy and length of the advertsing annoying. When I'm in the UK, they still have their advertising free channels, and somehow that restrains much of the commercial sector from going overboard with ads.

Perfect Illustration (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789350)

You illustrate my point perfectly. You find commercials annoying and complain about them but it doesn't sound like you stop watching TV when you don't have a DVR. Heck I suspect you don't even care enough to change which shows you watch based on differences in the length of commercials.

We clearly do have a choice. Different theaters get to choose how many ads they show before the film (though the film has some control over this too). Certainly the studio and the theater together have this control and if people were stopping going to that theater or those films because of the number of ads they would reduce them.

This is even more obvious on TV. Different channels (in consultation with affiliates) can choose to allocate commercials as they see fit. If ABC could make more money by stealing viewers from NBC by offering fewer commercials they would do so.

Just look at the radio stations where people DO care enough about commercials to change which channels they listen to or skip away. Their FM stations vigorously compete on how man and how frequent their commercials are.

It just seems to me like all this grousing about commercials is like complaining that the free T-shirt you got at E3 has some companies name all over it. Commercials are how we pay for our TV and people's actions reveal that they would rather pay the price in commercials than in cash or in worse programs.

Is this $1.99/60 min episode? (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789172)

Because, if there are 12 minutes of commercials per hour, then people who make over $9.95 an hour who watch live TV attentively could be considered to be losing money. As long as they don't enjoy watching commercials more than they enjoy their job, which I consider to be a pretty frightening concept.

Personally, I would love to pay an extra $2 for a theater with no ads... but there aren't any. And I use a HDD recorder for casual stuff and buy DVDs for stuff I like. Oh wait, I watch the weather network live...

I'm Skeptical (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789398)

Maybe you do in the abstract but I suspect when you go to the theater you don't bother to think about which theater has fewer ads. Different theaters do have more or less ads but even the people who bitch the most about the ads pick their theaters based on location, size, or theater quality never number of ads. I mean hell at the movie theaters if you care enough you can just show up a few minutes late but most people seem to prefer taking their seat early and not rushing to avoiding the commercials.

In fact I tend to think that while people like complaining about previews they actually appreciate them. They don't like the previews themselves but they like the buffer zone of time that lets them buy candy or stop in the restroom (hence why these previews are also worth a whole lot more money than most ads to the theater).

Also the bit about 'more than their job' isn't quite right. We have psychological needs for different sorts of things through the day and watching TV (even commercials) is down time that is necessery to do one's job. I mean if they really didn't like commercials they could just get up and go somewhere else for the 5 minutes.

Re:We Bitch But Prefer Commercials (1)

Pingla (64700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789376)

But whose cost do the commercials cover? The cable operators? I see no point in having a broadcaster in the business model at all.
Cut out the middleman and set up a direct link between producer and customer over the Internet. The customer can thus pay a small fee in order to download high-res episodes when they are released.

Re:We Bitch But Prefer Commercials (1)

nblender (741424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789396)

You're forgetting some of the commercials....

First: There's the 'bug' in the corner. The distracting annoying semi-fully opaque icon in the corner of your program. Sometimes those icons are animated to grab your attention while trying to watch the show. Those are there for the entire span of each show. Then there's the banner that shows up on the bottom of your TV, covering about 20% of the screen, to notify you of important events such as who's on Oprah tomorrow. Those appear just before commercials, and sometimes for a short time just after commercials. Then while the credits are airing on the show, they squish the last 10 seconds of the show over to the left and put an ad in the remaining 50% of screen real estate... Don't forget the high dB voice-overs...

These asshats are interfering with the content I paid for. Their banners at the bottom often interfere with, say, the relevant text placed on the bottom of the screen of shows like '24' to establish context for the current scene.

And I won't even get into 'soft advertising' like product placement. In shows like '24', the prominently placed Cisco 7960's, good guys using Macs, bad guys using Dells, all guys drinking Coke.... Product placement in movies will be the death of 'period pieces', mark my words.

Changing the business model of television (5, Interesting)

Carniphage (827184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788930)

Whether you agree that $1.99 or $2.99 per show is a good deal, directly paying for shows allows something amazing to happen. * It allows audiences to pass money DIRECTLY to television creators. * And that model is more honest and fairer than the advertising model which currently dominates broadcasting. It is a way better model, and better TV would be the outcome. It has the power to transform the type of shows being made because it makes television-makers directly accountable to their audience. Program makers would not have to pander to the needs of the network or the advertisers, but would put the audience first. Shows which have a small enthusiastic audience would not be dropped. Reality shows would have to stick in advertising land, because no-one would pay for that crap. Of course the networks and advertisers are fearful of being cut-out of the market. So while they still have power, they'll attempt to drive the prices of download TV ever higher. This is going to get interesting. C

Re:Changing the business model of television (1)

Stu22 (793796) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789046)

Or it just changes the business model to the even more dishonest sport of product placement.

It will be nice to have niche shows around for longer though.

Re:Changing the business model of television (2, Informative)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789064)

...Reality shows would have to stick in advertising land, because no-one would pay for that crap...
It's sad but you are wrong about that part. The makers of reality shows, especially 24/7 ones like Big Brother, already make a sizeable chunk of money on webcast subscriptions. If anything there would be even more of that reality crap with the direct model because the main constraint for them would go away namely availability of airtime. Part of why reality shows are popular among the tv networks is that they expose the makers to smaller financial risks than other productions and have a significantly shorter lead times. Instead of actors you have idiots appearing for free and specially constructed props/locations are not used that much.

I'd expect, like you, that a directly-paid model would actually create some good quality material. But the majority would still be crap. You'd see every Tom, Dick and Harry Productions scrape together a couple of hundred thousand dollars to make a bunch of pilot episodes, include a couple of "shock-value" ones and give the first ones away for free and then set up a subscription service.

Re:Changing the business model of television (1)

Carniphage (827184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789142)

I agree that whatever the model, there will still be crap. At the end of the day, people pay for whatever they like. And some people do like crap. Cinema is a direct-pay model and there's plenty of crap movies.
What I meant was that in a direct-pay model, there will be few people prepared to pay hard cash for filler television. We would at least need a flexible pricing model which reflected demand.

It's interesting, that even in the case of Big Brother, we see advertisers attempting to restrict and control content.

If you take an example of a show like Firefly, It had a modest audience incapable of sustaining advertiser interest and quickly the network dropped the show. But that modest audience was massively passionate and enthusiastic. In a direct-pay world, enthusiastic audiences might pay more per episode. If something like that could happen, then quality and enthusiam could triumph over advertiser demographics. That's got to be a good thing.

C.
 

Numbers are stupid. (2, Insightful)

etnu (957152) | more than 7 years ago | (#17788982)

Between my wife and I, we watch the following shows on a regular basis: (Winter): - Battlestar Galactica (Sci Fi, 1 hour, 26 hours per year with commercials) - Rome (HBO, 1 hour, 26 hours per year with no commercials) - The Office (NBC 1/2 hour, 12 hours per year with commercials) (Spring): - The Sopranos (HBO, 1 hour, 26 hours per year with no commercials) - Big Love (HBO, 1 hour, 26 hours per year with no commercials) (Year round): - The daily Show (Comedy Central, 1/2 hour, 150 episodes per year with commercials) - The colbert report (Comedy Central, 1/2 hour, 150 episodes per year with commercials) All told, that adds up to 416 hours that we actually care about per year. I'd estimate that we also watch about 100 hours or so of miscellaneous stuff (discovery health and the occasional sci fi miniseries). We'll round here and say 550 hours of programming per year, total. This would cost us $1100 from iTunes or whatnot, but it costs us $720 from comcast. In my case, the numbers are highly skewed because I watch the daily show and the colbert report; if I didn't, iTunes would be a much better deal (assuming that there was a really great way to get the content to my television set, of course). "Season passes" to most of the shows I listed above can be bought from iTunes for $30-50 each. I'd gladly pay $350 a year for the 7 shows over what I pay for comcast. -

How to compete with free (2, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789052)

Competing with free means two things. First, you need to provide a quality product. No commercials, high definition, good bit rate, no DRM. Then, you have a product that is as good or better than free. The reason I don't buy DVDs is that when I want to watch a film, I want to watch a film and not commercials etc. 99 hours of "bonus content" generally does not add any value for anyone except hard core fans. I don't really care how they made the trees in LOTR.

The second thing big content needs to do is get the price right. People pay for their internet connection, cable TV, maybe a premium Usenet account etc. because they want to download content. So, like it or not, they already paid and can get TV for no extra cost. If you want more money out of them, it had better not be too much and you had better make the buying experience damn good (i.e. very high speed downloads, no special software required). It has to be simultanious with the first showing on TV too.

Oh, and never forget, just because you spent a lot of money making it doesn't mean it's worth a lot. Your content has to be good, not expensive. Make old BBC Horizon programs from the 80s available for 20p, and I'll bite.

Some quick numbers - 2$ is reasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789068)

I know from previous slashdottage that ads pay most of the burden from TV, so
time for some fast googling:

      A national TV spot averages $350k for 30 seconds

      A popular show like Idol gets 30 million viewers

Let's say a more typical show gets about 500,000 viewers. Let's say 15 minutes an hour are paid ads, so that's $10M per show, paid for by 0.5M viewers, or about $2 per viewer.

Sounds about right, within a factor of 2 or so.

An Essay On Blog Advertisement (1)

prodos (50696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789074)

Writing an essay that proposes a plan for a more fine-grained payment structure for big content providers: +4, Interesting

Writing an article that uses hard math to show how $1.99 generates more revenue for content providers than subscription/advertising currently does: +5, Informative

Writing your 3rd blog post about how you feel you should pay less for television because of bogus math and then posting it to slashdot with a tagline so awe-inspiring that the editors put it on the front page without even reading the article: Priceless

0.0014 cents per episode? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789154)

Yeah, sure if you watch every show on every channel every hour every day. But who can watch 36000 episodes per month and still have time to submit articles to Slashdot?

wake up and smell the change (1)

locksmith101 (1017864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789162)

the entire world of media communications is going through a very interesting evolution - caused by all these wondrous file sharing applications. Soon enough the p2p generation will grow and take over the world. This is a generation that expects to pay nothing for music and video. Why pay for something - when all you have to do is click your mouse thrice and you're in Kansas? this is no longer about pricing - this is about metamorphosing completely.

tv and farming (1)

dirtyforker (844960) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789202)

The author of the essay seems to have made the common fallacy that viewers of tv shows are the customers of those who produce tv shows.

In fact, the customers of tv stations are those who buy advertising time. The viewer is the product which the stations sell to their advertisers. The programs are merely the means towards gaining lots of viewers to be sold.

It works a lot like farming. The tv station is the farm. The viewers are the vegetables, grown in the field, harvested, packaged and sold off to the consumers (the advertising agencies). The programs are the fertiliser that helps all this happen.

Just like in real farming the best way to ensure a full harvest of vegetables is to spread them with liberal doses of shit.

Cable changes the picture a little - the vegetables actually pay for the shit they get covered in - but the idea of ad-free pay-per-view is just not compatible with the industry as it is.

Tv stations at the moment really don't care whether or not you like their shows except in so far as you watch them and the ads they contain. Anything that makes it easy to avoid ads undermines the business model completely and would have to have the promise of instant and huge revenues to get them even thinking about it. This will only happen if a completely new player enters into the market, takes it by storm and the rest are forced to follow. The start-up costs are massive though and I just can't see it happening anytime soon.

'nuf said. (2, Insightful)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789218)

"I watch about four different television shows on a regular basis - Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, and typically a current reality show (which is Grease: You're The One That I Want right now)"

*blink*

OK - of all the content on a full menu of cable or sat, this is the sum total of what you find compelling?

I know there's no accounting for taste, but you're hardly their typical demo.

Most of us are paying full price for a house and really only using three rooms and reallly only for a half the day at best. What's up with that raw deal?

You pay the $1 or 2 to listen or watch whenever you want, as often as you want. No one's holding a gun to your head, and it's an alternative to buying DVR etc. This is a vaguely similar argument to the music sedction, usually pointed at Apple - thet they're "forcing" you to adopt their model. Wrong. There are many music providers. being the market leader is not the same as being an unregulated monopoly.

Which leads us to the cable company. They deregulated cable AFTER the wires were laid down, and unlike the local telcos who are merely the custodian of the infrastructure and must let anyone send their info over the copper, the cable companies have no established way of letting anyone else down the coax. The satellite system is similar - as long as the financial agent owns the pipe, it's their ball and they can go home.

About the only thing I'd change about any video delivery model is make sure it's a la carte, for the sake of scaling down rising cost. The industry is claiming that it will cost a bajillion dollars per person to do this, but that's what they said about seat belts, air bags, ABS, flying car^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H personal cell phones and DVD players.

Turn it OFF and tune in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789222)

We were much better off before TV came along. People socialized more then and got out and did things. Since the advent of TV and air conditioning people have disappeared from the porches and the yards and streets. Today we too often do not feel its safe for the kids to get out and play, to wander the streets or even the fields. A child and even adults can learn a lot that way. When people socialized more they had the opportunity to get to know their neighbors and discuss the world. Today its too often that everyone just mimics what the mass-media puts out during their brief discussions with others. People had hobbies, games, and social events to keep them busy with their spare time if they wanted to be entertained or busy. We still have a lot of this but mostly its commercialized now and like cable and satellite TV the costs keep going up. Soon the poor may be priced out of this, unfortunately so will the dopeheads. An old TV with an antenna or rabbit ears with receivable signals did have its uses, will they disappear with digital? How many televisions will be hitting the landfills and who knows where else?

People get too wound up in the boob tube as well. Kids don't respond to their parents too often when watching TV. Parents too often are too distracted by the television to properly interact with the children as well. Frankly when a beautiful woman can sit down naked next to her husband who is watching a sporting event and not be noticed unless she gets up and blocks the view only to be told to move, something is wrong with this picture. Wives have been known to get angry enough at this point to destroy the TV or rip the cable out of the wall and yes it has happened. Mind you women can get overly wrapped up in TV too, just like their kids and husband. Sex and conversation always seem to increase during blackouts, how much of that would you surmise is because the TV is off? How many have met their neighbors for the first time during a blackout?

If television completely disappeared then their would be lots more people outside again. Porches, verandas, gazebos etc would start reappearing with people sitting on them doing various things while watching the world go by or talking to a neighbor, watching the kids play, etc. This in all likelyhood would increase the safety of our streets for ourselves and our children. News obtained from your friends, relatives and neighbors often include good news as opposed to the media's hard core attention to the bad and thus increases optimism. When playing games and socializing people tend to think more, conversation skills become desirable and motivational. With the television off those with the space to work with might even take up gardening again. If they plant fruit and vegetables then in all likelyhood they will get safer, tastier and healthier foods that way. Perhaps I am being a bit optimistic that people will leave their air conditioned homes to do all this but even if they don't their will likely be more dominoe, card, chess, etc games then are currently as well as dinners, dances and other social events if TV would just disappear. Of course with the internet its a strong possibility it would just get more time, but the internet can still be an improvement over television.

*marginally offtopic but its still my opinion on the subject as I threw out the TV and cable company years ago and wish many more would do the same.

Re:Turn it OFF and tune in the world (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789382)

You're throwing out the baby with the bath water. Some of us don't want to give up Discovery Channel, PBS or other educational shows.

TV is not the problem. People have a natural desire to be entertained, and to "communicate" across great distances. Lack of self control, discipline, parenting, and maturity is the problem. Treat the cause, not the sympotom.

But I agree, if everyone would shut the stupid boob toob off an extra 1 hr an week, it would be a good start.

What about contrasting TV DVD Prices? (1)

Brianech (791070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789230)

Exactly, Im not really sure why this is news... From a buisness point of view its obvious. They get ad revenue when you watch TV. If you download an episode not only are you NOT seeing ads, you are potentially 1 less person watching the episode live, and thus generate less revenue from the live air. You can't really look at this from a consumer point of view and work out some outlandish calculations and say "Im getting ripped off by buying online."

This brings up another point I found odd about the article. The guy is bitching about paying too much for cable (because he only likes 4 shows) and paying too much to download. If he feels TV is such a ripoff wait for the DVD's! DVD's in my opinion are decent deals (many will argue this) but when you compare minute to minute/dollar to dollar TV DVD releases are cheaper. You can get 24 Season 5 for 40dollars CND NEW, which is roughly 18hours of TV + any extras (the box didn't say how many mins, but there is the standard cut scenes, making of etc.) I have seen DVD's which are upwards of 35dollars CND that brag about 6-8hours of extra footage on top of the 3 hour movie. 11 hours 18+. If this guy is so concerned with saving money why doesn't he contrast the DVD costs of his shows. Usually you pay extra to see something right away ;)

Some thoughts... (1)

macthulhu (603399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789248)

I worked in cable advertising for ten years, and there are a few things being overlooked here. Production companies make the shows. They sell them to the networks, who pay for them by running ads. The cable companies buy networks in packages. That's why there was the huge drama when Disney/ABC content was getting dropped from Time Warner systems. The argument was over Disney channels, not ABC affiliates. Because they're sold to TW as a package, when they pull one, they pull all of them. When a cable company buys a package of networks, they negotiate for slots to run local and regional ads. That ad revenue offsets the subscription fees. For example, a package of networks like CNN and its sister networks costs the cable company money to offer in their lineup. They recover part of the cost by selling ad slots, the rest comes from a portion of subscription fees, determined by the number of people in the market territory. All cable fees, and infrastructure decisions, are based on the number of subscribers in a market territory. They add up all of the per sub fees, tack on a percentage so they can make a profit, and that's how your billing amount is determined for must carry + ad supported channels.

For those of you who would see the end of the cable companies, consider a few more points... Cable companies have to pay a franchise fee to the territory they cover. Your local government soaks them for huge fees, just to be there. Then, the phone companies frequently rent pole space to them, so they don't have to double the number of poles. They pay insane amounts of taxes to local, state, and federal governments, provide jobs, and maintain a fair amount of internet infrastructure as well. I have no love for the cable advertising world, but it drives a fair amount of commerce.

If you're such a delicate genius that you can't possibly spare the time it takes to skip commercials, perhaps you should get your ass back into the lab and finish curing cancer.

my rude math (0, Troll)

dizzy8578 (106660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789252)

120.00 per month for 2 boxes comcast.
12 months.

1440.00 per year

The signal to noise ratio comcast has reached is pushing me to go to itunes for a la carte programming and dropping the cable.

I have 500 channels of the most dumbed down fearmongering sales oriented dreck and I am paying for it?
If I can buy John Stewart and a couple of shows full season, why in the hell do I need to allow this propaganda tool that cable tv has become, into my house?

Do I need to see Cheney lie in HD to know that it is happening? The man has not uttered a true phrase on camera since 1989!

I suspect I would be hard pressed to spend 1440 over a year even at itunes prices.

Just Say "No." (2, Interesting)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17789406)

Whenever these topics come up many of us seem to agree that TV sucks, yet somehow the issue remains worthy of debate. Why hand over more money for rights-handicapped mediocrity? Do we for some reason feel we require television in order to fit into our culture?

Personally, I'm saying "to hell with it!" I just stripped my cable package down to nothing but Internet, and I can't imagine regretting it. While it's true that I may not be hip to the latest watercooler joke, but I bet I'll survive the trauma.

TV needs me more than I need TV. Let them sweeten the deal before I come back.


torrent :P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17789434)

Also you can download all that from torrent for free. (Well you have to pay for your connection) ... But you get a) no DRM b) free c) no commercials ... And if you say that this is somehow damaging the content producers then that's just BS because you either have cable already which you aren't going to drop ... or you don't have cable. Also torrent releases appear _after_ the shows air. Btw I have no idea why anyone would pay 60$ a month for cable ... where I live it costs 5$/mo ... (it's not pirated or anything it's from a respectable company)
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