Friday, December 5, 2008

Legal and free: TV show and movies over the Internet

[For those outside of the USA, we can only dream of such developments. Geo-blocking and regulation is preventing the rest of the world access to many of these tools in the USA. But they will come someday and will fundamentally change the business model for the cablecos. Someday consumers will rebel against bundling, channel relocation and forced fed cultural content. Thanks to Dewayne Hendricks for this pointer—BSA]

If you would like to learn why popular TV shows and movies are being made available legally on the Internet for free and how we can get them to our televisions, this interview is for you.
Our guest today is Will Richmond who is the editor and publisher of VideoNuze, an online publication for broadband video decision-makers. VideoNuze concentrates on the emerging Internet Video industry. Will has prior experience in the CATV industry thereby providing valuable perspective on how the sector reacts to developments. This is important because cable companies are the leading providers of broadband Internet access along with being the dominant networks delivering conventional television programs.
As noted in earlier podcasts, a number promising websites are emerging that host, or index, advertising-supported Internet Video of popular TV shows and movies. Examples include Hulu, Fancast, Veoh,, and AOL Video. They’re great for consumers because they are free to the viewer and completely legal.
In our analysis the emergence of such websites could prove to represent the “tipping point” at which consumers push hard enough to find ways to get Internet Video streams to display on their televisions. ABC, NBC, and CBS have all made popular shows available online. There are also hundreds of popular, or once popular, movies from major Hollywood studios available at the websites noted above.
As users get increasingly accustomed to sites like Hulu, they find that they like the convenience of on-demand viewing, personalization of selections, viral sharing of program recommendations, community commentary, email notifications of show postings, and the abundance of interesting programming. Intense users are even avoiding CATV or satellite service. For example, Will’s research concludes that most subscribers will cut CATV service before they cut ISP (Internet Service Provider) service. This is particularly relevant given the current economic downturn.
However, Will’s research also concludes that the cable networks, like ESPN, and AMC, will be reluctant to provide shows to websites like Hulu. He reasons that they will decline to put at risk the traditional fees they collect from CATV operators.