Adult Swim, the breakout hit programming block on Cartoon Network, airs every night except Fridays. But now, broadband-enabled fans will be able get their fix then, as the network will stream episodes of its shows on its Web site on Friday nights during its usual time slot from 11pm to 6am. Thanks to a rabid fanbase, anybody that really wanted to see Adult Swim shows anytime could pretty easily find them on file-sharing networks, so while the time restriction is an attention-grabbing gimmick, it seems rather pointless -- as does the decision to stream, rather than offer downloads. The competition here are the DVD and TV rips on BitTorrent and other networks, and not really anything else. Users will turn away from them only when they've got a reasonable alternative, say good-quality downloads -- even with the commercials still in -- over fast pipes from a legitimate, non-lawsuit-happy source. People are going to consume media however they want, and there are plenty of tools that support that, and rip out advertising-driven business models in the process. Only by embracing users' desires to time-shift, place-shift and device-shift their media will traditional outlets succeed.
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