Dear Jeff Zucker, Whether You Like It Or Not, Content Will Stay Free

from the economic-confusion dept

It's sometimes entertaining when powerful executives don't seem to understand the rather basic market forces that they're facing. Take Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBC Universal, who's done a pretty good job driving the operation into the ground over the past few years. In a recent interview, he apparently said (as he's hinted in the past) that it might make sense to charge for TV content online, noting that:
I do not think that it is a foregone conclusion that content should be free on the Internet.
The problem, of course, is that we're well beyond should. Sorry, Jeff, but you don't get to decide that. The technology and the market have already decided that the content is or will be free online. It might not be authorized. It might not be legal. But the content is free. "Should" has nothing to do with it, because the technology and the market don't care about "should." Yes, this sucks for those who only understand how to run a business when they're a gatekeeper who controls things, but it doesn't mean there aren't really good businesses built on free content. NBC should know this, since an awful lot of its history was built on exactly that... And I don't recall Zucker's predecessors whining about that darn "free" broadcast TV.


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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    Y'know...

    Gardeners grow the plants that produce the oxygen that you need to breathe. They *should* get something for that. Let's set up a breathing collection society to collect and distribute the monies for that! What could possibly go wrong?

     

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      Dementia (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:22am

      Re: Y'know...

      Oh come on!!! Do you really have to give the lawyers new ideas??

       

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      Berenerd (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:28am

      Re: Y'know...

      I am with ya on this. We will protect the green thumbed people. We will keep a modest fee of 99.999999% of every dollar. We will also have the Green Thumbed person pay for the lawyers. that way we can show that we are making a profit so we can show we are needed...BRILLIANT! We need to patent this idea...and then Trademark a sunflower with a big dollar sign through it as out trademark. We will then spread it on the internet and then sue search engines who show them in searches. THIS PLAN IS FOOL PROOF!!!

       

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:28am

      Re: Y'know...

      Yeah, seriously.
      After they start collecting for that; you'll have people with herb gardens complaining about how they never got paid.

      ; P

       

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      R. Miles (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:50am

      Re: Y'know...

      "Gardeners grow the plants that produce the oxygen that you need to breathe."
      So if I shit on their garden, what do I get?

       

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    jjmsan (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:30am

    Cable

    I do remember trailers in Movie Theatres against cable, which they referred to as pay tv. I think it started out with something like, "Do not let a money crunching monster into your home..." It may be that theatre, radio and others complained about TV when it was a new medium, but that the materials may have been discarded so there is not a historical record.

     

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      chris (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:59am

      Re: Cable

      I do remember trailers in Movie Theatres against cable, which they referred to as pay tv. I think it started out with something like, "Do not let a money crunching monster into your home..."

      like this one? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIgZHZpiq1U

      the materials may have been discarded so there is not a historical record.

      thank god we have unauthorized copying today to fix that problem.

       

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:32am

    Well...

    "And I don't recall Zucker's predecessors whining about that darn "free" broadcast TV."

    To be fair, TV on the internet and on television aren't even remotely the same thing. The former is a broadcast medium where NBC has all the control. After all, if you're watching at the time of broadcast, it's not as if you can simply skip the commercials (the basis for their FREE! model). Unauthorized shows/seasons on the internet don't have those commercials.

    That said, they could still make it work and the economic reality is clear. I just think we should avoid the "TV is FREE!" potshots as I'm not certain they make sense....

     

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      SeanG, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:57am

      Re: Well...

      You can't skip commercials on legal internet streams either.
      I can't understand how broadcasters have totally failed at commercials online when it's the entire reason for their existence in broadcast tv, except for the fact that they still don't understand that people actually want to watch online.

      Unless they haven't failed and they are just whining for some government handout.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

        Re: Re: Well...

        uh, there are numerous methods of skipping hulu commercials, other streaming sites, easily searchable via Google.

        During Soccer season --with nothing but adblock-- the streams simply stopped when there were commercials and continued when the action started again.

         

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    Jay (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:39am

    Hulu's done a good job at pleasing their masters.

    I'm wondering what type of paywall Jeff is going to put up that people are going to run away from?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      Hulu.

      In fact I'd call Jeff's prediction rather accurate. Hulu is charging for content, and people are paying.

      iTunes is charging for content, and people are paying.

      netflix is charging for content, and people are paying.
      All for content that is easily available online without any DRM.

      It always seems rather funny to me to see techdirt continually attack new business models instead, of, you know, watching them fail or succeed. I knew they'd jumped the shark when there was no analysis of RadioHead's jump back in the sack with the RIAA as a semi-admission of failure of their online experiments. We'll just put that over there with the "let's-not-talk-about-that" stuff.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:28am

        Re: Re:

        How many are actually paying, though? What percentage of people with access to Hulu (a tiny percentage of the planet due to moronic region coding) are paying vs. those who download? What percentage of people who download through iTunes vs. those who consider iTunes to be too expensive? How many with Netflix access (again a tiny slice of the potential audience) do so vs. those who torrent?

        The people who are even willing to pay, let alone be able to in the current climate, is nowhere near the number who watch TV on an ad-supported, "free" basis. Maybe they can still turn a profit, but it's the wrong way to go to remain mainstream.

        As for your other comments, you just show a typical lack of understanding of most of the topics discussed here, the motivations behind certain experiments and fail to notice that most of the business models criticised here do, in fact, fail for the reasons discussed (check back next year for the results of the pathetic Kazaa relaunch).

         

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 11:35am

        Re: Re:

        In fact I'd call Jeff's prediction rather accurate. Hulu is charging for content, and people are paying.


        Hulu just started charging. I've seen no evidence that a large number of people are paying.

        iTunes is charging for content, and people are paying.


        And if you look at the numbers, you realize it's still a tiny percentage. No one said that *no one* will pay, but it's not a particularly large business model.

        netflix is charging for content, and people are paying.

        Netflix is charging for a service, not for the content itself. It's an important distinction.

        It always seems rather funny to me to see techdirt continually attack new business models instead, of, you know, watching them fail or succeed.

        Giving an economic analysis of a business model is not "attacking new business models." Thanks for playing.

        I knew they'd jumped the shark when there was no analysis of RadioHead's jump back in the sack with the RIAA as a semi-admission of failure of their online experiments. We'll just put that over there with the "let's-not-talk-about-that" stuff.

        Huh?!?!? First of all, that's wrong on every single point. When Radiohead *first* announced the download project, they said that they were going to do a traditional distribution deal for the CDs. In fact, we POINTED OUT at the time, how this was smart (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070930/214524.shtml) contrary to your claim we ignored it. They were using the "free" digital music to get people interested, and then offering a really, really nice physical box set to get people to buy. And, it makes sense to work with the labels on that part of it, since they do have the distribution expertise there.

        So, there was no "jumping back in the sack" with the RIAA. In fact, Radiohead appears to only have used the distribution arm of the label, and kept the copyrights themselves.

        As for the claim that Radiohead admitted that their online experiments were a failure... um, no. That's wrong. Blatantly wrong, as we just discussed earlier this week!

        Radiohead has said that the experiment earned them more directly than any previous release:

        http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081015/1640202552.shtml

        Radiohead has also said that the RIAA is dying and almost dead (and this is very recently):

        http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090806/1726455790.shtml
        http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201 00609/0651119751.shtml

        Radiohead's manager has said that file sharing should be legal (again, well after the experiment):

        http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090506/0229264765.shtml

        Also, the band has continued to release music for free, well after the experiment, showing that your claim that they think it was a failure is blatantly wrong:

        http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090818/0053565911.shtml

        So it's hard to see a single accurate point in your statement. Radiohead didn't "jump back in the sack." It had, from the beginning, always planned to use the distribution prowess of the labels to sell a physical product (which made lots of sense). The digital product is still all Radiohead, and they're still embracing free, don't believe the RIAA model of selling music works, and have made it quite clear that their experiment was a HUGE success.

        And we've talked about all of it, rather than hidden it as you claim.

        Care to retract your blatantly false statements?

        No wonder you always post anonymously. What a joke.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 2:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And if you look at the numbers, you realize it's still a tiny percentage. No one said that *no one* will pay, but it's not a particularly large business model.

          It's a massive business model that is far outpacing growth of retail. Digital downloads are responsible for a large portion of music sales, at over 2 billion for music alone. That is a significant portion of retail sales.

          Netflix is charging for a service, not for the content itself. It's an important distinction. The service includes the content. Are you claiming people would pay for netflix service without included content? I don't understand your important distinction here.

          Giving an economic analysis of a business model is not "attacking new business models." Thanks for playing.

          "Whether You Like It Or Not," This is an attack. This isn't an analysis, either, as you have already claimed that his service is doomed to failure even given free content. I see no reason why free AND paid content can't coexist. I certainly don't see any alternative opinions provided within your "blurb" above. This isn't the first time you blatantly ignore actual examples (of which I've given above) of services and content that works just fine.

          Huh?!?!? First of all, that's wrong on every single point. When Radiohead *first* announced the download project, they said that they were going to do a traditional distribution deal for the CDs. In fact, we POINTED OUT at the time, how this was smart (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070930/214524.shtml)

          and from that article we have: "Funny how it's the musicians, and not the record labels, who seem to realize that adding value and getting people to pay for it is a business model that beats suing fans." And yet the band still used the RIAA to protect the revenue providing portion of their album sales. Rather hypocritical, wouldn't you say? And rather unscalable? I mean, is every band going to release online for free, and back it up with RIAA CD-sales, asking protection from the RIAA? How does this scale beyond those that experiment? I can sell lemonade on the corner with some cute kids, but when every corner has cute kids, will that revenue scale out appropriately or equally?

          contrary to your claim we ignored it. They were using the "free" digital music to get people interested, and then offering a really, really nice physical box set to get people to buy. And, it makes sense to work with the labels on that part of it, since they do have the distribution expertise there.

          So other than hating the RIAA for the protection racket, they want to keep the distribution racket. How fun! Might I recommend looking into a band that isn't so hypocritical? Alas, they were business savvy. The RIAA is still attacking on their behalf.

          So, there was no "jumping back in the sack" with the RIAA. In fact, Radiohead appears to only have used the distribution arm of the label, and kept the copyrights themselves.

          Then why would radiohead allow the RIAA to attack on their copywritten behalf?

          As for the claim that Radiohead admitted that their online experiments were a failure... um, no. That's wrong. Blatantly wrong, as we just discussed earlier this week!

          I suppose we'll find this out when they release their lawyer hounds on the RIAA, right? Why have another organization attack your fans? Why no response from them after torrentfreak contacted. Hypocritical!

          Radiohead has said that the experiment earned them more directly than any previous release:

          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081015/1640202552.shtml

          I should expect so! I applauded the PR move myself! How many other bands are raking it in with free online pay-as-you-go releases? Is this part of your "significant portion of the market" referred to above?

          Radiohead has also said that the RIAA is dying and almost dead (and this is very recently):

          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090806/1726455790.shtml http://www.techdirt.com/ar ticles/201 00609/0651119751.shtml

          But they are still using them!

          Radiohead's manager has said that file sharing should be legal (again, well after the experiment):

          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090506/0229264765.shtml

          I think so also! I hate war too! The world is overpopulated! How does this conflict with Hippocrates all up in the band?

          Also, the band has continued to release music for free, well after the experiment, showing that your claim that they think it was a failure is blatantly wrong: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090818/0053565911.shtml And interesting comment right in there that we see that they haven't released the attached album with that free song. To date, the [revenue producing] album is on hold.

          We also have no way to independently verify the digital music sales they claim, and since they are proven to feel one way about an organization but still use them, what should we do, believe them?

          So it's hard to see a single accurate point in your statement. Radiohead didn't "jump back in the sack." It had, from the beginning, always planned to use the distribution prowess of the labels to sell a physical product (which made lots of sense). The digital product is still all Radiohead, and they're still embracing free, don't believe the RIAA model of selling music works, and have made it quite clear that their experiment was a HUGE success.

          Experiment, sure. WHy do you praise the experiment of Radiohead doing this but not Zucker, above? Perhaps, a tad bit of "Hippocraticness" yourself?

          "And we've talked about all of it, rather than hidden it as you claim."

          I see no point of view of Techdirt from the other side. I see attacks against an industry that is attempting an experiment, something you praise.

          Care to retract your blatantly false statements? I see no false statements. I see no analysis, as before, how successful RIAA bands can scale giving free content alone. To date you have not provided this. To date the industry isn't moving towards this.

          No wonder you always post anonymously. What a joke.

          I haven't always posted anonymously, however it's a feature YOU supply. If you find it amusing to post anonymously then take it away. Again, something YOU control, but I'M being attacked? Right.

          Ask me to leave and I will. I'm not registering an account, ever, however. As you state often, offer me a benefit to doing so and I would, otherwise, meh

          Finally, I'm just posting this, without much review. Your HTML parser is closing my paragraph tags in a strange way, so fuck reviewing it further.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 3:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Is great that you state that digital sales are big business, that means piracy is just hot air and FUD.

             

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            Richard, Aug 7th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yeah Mazel Tov on all that success! I'll forward this my Congressman, I would encourage each of you to do the same.

             

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          Michael Long (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Netflix is charging for a service, not for the content itself. It's an important distinction."

          No, it's not. Or it is, but not in the way that you seem to think.

          As mentioned below, iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Rdio, MOG, Rhapsody, and more are all working paid business models.

          People buy from them because they provide music, movies, and more in ways that they want. Quickly. Easily. Conveniently. You can insist that they are only paying for the service or mechanism or store, but a service without content isn't a service at all.

          I don't pay Netflix for a "service". I pay Netflix for movies.

          In short, all of the services mentioned above are, as you point out, giving consumers a reason to buy content... from them.

          And if they're buying, then the "market" really hasn't "decided" that all content must be free, has it?

           

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            Modplan (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 4:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Quickly. Easily. Conveniently.


            That IS the service.

            but a service without content isn't a service at all.


            A service with content I can get elsewhere is a useless service. Unless of course the service offers me something else, like giving me ways to watch movies in the way I want. Quickly. Easily. Conveniently. A service without a unique benefit isn't a service at all.

             

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            kryptonianjorel (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 6:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            But in fact it is a service. You are paying for a service, and not the content itself.

            The service is access to the movies, quickly, easily, and conveniently. You're not purchasing movies, but temporary access to them, which is a service. Since you can't retain the content, you must be paying for the use of the content, and not the content itself.

             

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            Michael, Aug 5th, 2010 @ 3:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Netflix sells convenience. Most of what you can get on Netflix is available elsewhere for free. They have always sold their service as a better way to rent movies. A flat rate charge and they will deliver movies to your house physically on a DVD and digitally. Much of their library is available on broadcast television - when the broadcasters get around to playing it. Much of it is available streaming from the individual broadcaster's websites. Netflix puts it all together.

            Yes, the content is EXTREMELY important. This is what Mike is always talking about - the content, which is abundant and therefore it's price will fall to free - has tremendous value. When combined with something scarce like a convenient service to get the content to you (which is worthless without some actual content) you end up with something scarce with value that someone is willing to pay for. That's economics and you have been involved in these transactions for a long time.

            Take, for instance, water. If you have city water, you pay for the convenience of the water being cleaned, tested, and delivered to your house. You could drill a well and get it for free, but then you have a well and have to maintain the well and make sure your free water is safe and that there is enough of it for you. Water has lots of value (anything you need to LIVE is very valuable) but it is abundant (in the US anyway) making the price essentially free. However, the water company can make it more convenient with their system of pipes (which are pretty much worthless without some water to pump through them) and that convenience is something lots of people think is worth paying for.

             

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    medlaw, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    a limited pay model if properly researched might work

    You can't put the genie back in the bottle. The issue is expectation of the consumer. After spending years viewing tv shows for free, Zuckerman thinks he can now charge for it? It won't fly unless there is some sort of value added ... old shows for free but small fee for very new shows? Fee to download shows onto a device? iTunes is a pay model and it works. With proper market research I would bet some scaled back pay model could work but going the route of Murdock and the the NYT and putting former free content behind a pay wall will meet with failure.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:12am

      Re: a limited pay model if properly researched might work

      But Hulu is already in effect charging, for mindspace+time with commercials. Commercials are a form of payment, and consumers seem willing to "pay" for this content, in this manner.

      Only the lower classes find advertising acceptable, because their time drooling to marketspeak is less valuable than firing off a few neurons.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re: a limited pay model if properly researched might work

        "Only the lower classes find advertising acceptable, because their time drooling to marketspeak is less valuable than firing off a few neurons."

        So, you admit that intelligent people are the ones torrenting to avoid them? Interesting...

         

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          JEDIDIAH, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 11:07am

          Re: Re: Re: a limited pay model if properly researched might work

          > So, you admit that intelligent people are the ones torrenting to avoid them? Interesting...

          That, or using PVRs.

          My cable TV experience hasn't included commercials in over 10 years.

          So to me Hulu seems a bit absurd and intolerable.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: a limited pay model if properly researched might work

          I admit that everything is an ecosystem, and we're witnessing it live. I make no claims about what is right/wrong good/bad. I find it fun to witness the evolution of the net, including Mike's rants and Big Corps volleys. For example, It doesn't matter to me if net neutrality perseveres or not, because the organism will likely evolve around it, and quite easily and unexpectedly.

           

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Free Copies not the same as Free work

    If by 'content' you mean the intellectual work contained within published copies (or broadcasts), and by 'free' you mean freely shared by the public typically free of charge then yes, I agree.

    However, this does not mean that intellectual work cannot be commissioned or sold to those who want to receive it or have it produced.

    The copy is a distribution mechanism. It may convey the work, but it is not the work. The conflation by 'content' of work with copy is due entirely to copyright indoctrination (publishers sell containers of work and use copyright to pretend that the copy IS the work).

    In the future intellectual workers sell their work. Copies are subsequently free for anyone to make, modify, remix, sell, share, etc.

    So really, we should stop using the term 'content' just as we should stop using the term 'consumer' in the context of enjoying the intellectual work that has been commissioned and published.

    There's intellectual work and there's copies.

    The market for copies has ended.

    The market for intellectual work continues.

     

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    Phil, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:03am

    Free ain't the issue

    Most of the time, my frustration is that folks like Zucker fail to make sure their content is LEGALLY available in all jurisdictions. A lot of US content fails to make its way to the Internet in Canada because of distribution laziness.

    If copyright holders want to be compensated, they first have to come to market with an offering so folks who want to be legal can have an opportunity to buy!

    I'm tired of copyright holders blaming consumers for not being willing to pay. That's just FALSE.

     

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    Michael Long (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:06am

    As mentioned above, iTunes is a pay model and it works. Amazon music downloads is a pay model, and it works. Kindle is a pay model, and it works. Netflix streaming is a pay model piggybacked on top of the DVD subscription model, and it works.

    Provide music, movies, TV shows, and books at a reasonable price. Make it easy and convenient to find and consume. Make it available in standard, high-quality formats. Make sure it's known that the artist is getting his cut. Make it safe (no embedded malware). Make it current.

    All of those things provide value, and people are willing to pay for value.

    Above all, make it faster and better than finding some torrent site, hunting for the file you want, and downloading it only to find that it's a crappy, shaky cam-captured version of the film.

    Some people trade their time for "free". Other people realize their time is valuable, and prefer to pay for convenience.

    And some people also realize that the people who create the things we desire need to eat in order to continue creating them, and in turn pay them to do so. Not everyone is a free rider.

    In short, I don't think that the "market" has decided anything at all.

     

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      Coach George (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      I suspect models, such as Hulu, are testing to see how many commercials they can cram in before people stop watching. Once this is done, the pay for view model will begin along with commercials. They don't care about getting everyone, just a majority.

      If the price is reasonable and there aren't any commercials, I might bite.

       

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        Ed C, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

        Re: Re:

        That is what I'm afraid will happen. It's sort of like cable. They first promised commercial free content, especially movies, in order to get people used to paying for TV. Now, they keep cutting into shows and movies in order to have the same commercials and promos over and over, even more so than broadcast, and keep charging more for it!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And Cable revenue is larger and more profitable than 20 years ago. Surprise surprise. I guess the consumer isn't as savvy as we geeks tend to be.

           

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      CommonSense (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 11:37am

      Re:

      I came to a very different conclusion than you did. I think that all that means that the "market" has decided, and what it has decided is that THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL SOLUTION ANYMORE. Some people like the good old fashioned TV/Couch paradigm, some like to fire up the laptop and watch their favorite shows when they're ready, and some people want whatever is the cheapest, simply because they only use it when they're bored...

       

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        Michael Long (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

        Re: Re:

        If the market has decided that there's no "one size fits all" approach, then saying that the "market" has decided that all content wants to be free is inaccurate.

         

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          The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 5th, 2010 @ 7:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just because someone is selling it, it doesn't mean it isn't out there. You know: free. It IS free. Legally or not.

          Some people want to pay for it. It is available for free.

          So hard to understand?

          The Market has decided. It hasn't decided that it will forbid anyone to pay. It has decided that it is free for anyone who wants it for free.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:11am

    Hulu works, because I use it. Sure, I don't love the commercials, but I end up being exposed to them through the course of the show, and therefore it has it's effect on me, the viewer. The problem is that the advertisers don't think they should pay as much for ad space on the internet, so it's not as appealing to the industry. However, this is pretty foolish thinking. An Ad, is an Ad is an Ad. I'm not likely to be more effected by the ad if I watch it on Cable TV, than I am if I watch it on Hulu. To think otherwise, is foolish.

    I got rid of Cable TV a long time ago, total waste of money. I watch shows on Hulu now, and since they are there, there is no need to download them or watch them on illegal sites. I am sure a lot of people feel this way.

    A pay system for being able to download them onto your Ipod, etc...would be smart...but not like the ones we currently have. There is no way in He.L I am going to pay $35 for a severely restricted set of episodes. I also stopped buying DVD box sets a while back because they simply take up way too much room and are a waste of resources. I ended up giving away most of my collection because I didn't have room to store them anymore. Thus, digital makes way more sense.

    There is a fine line between greed, profit and usefulness. Right now, the industry is greedy, the market is setting the price, so the fight continues.

     

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      Coach George (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:25am

      Re:

      "Hulu works, because I use it."
      So, by extension, if you didn't use Hulu it wouldn't work??
      I thought you were Anonymous Coward and not Arrogant Coward.

      "The problem is that the advertisers don't think they should pay as much for ad space on the internet, so it's not as appealing to the industry."
      This will change as:
      1-More people watch shows on the net.
      A-This is still far off
      2-Younger executives move into positions of power.

      "I got rid of Cable TV a long time ago, total waste of money. I watch shows on Hulu now, and since they are there, there is no need to download them or watch them on illegal sites. I am sure a lot of people feel this way."
      1-This works for the tech savvy only.
      2-Joe and Josephine 6 pack are still going to get cable.

      "There is a fine line between greed, profit and usefulness. Right now, the industry is greedy, the market is setting the price, so the fight continues."
      Agreed.

       

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        JEDIDIAH, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 11:13am

        Poor legal options only drive piracy.

        > "Hulu works, because I use it."
        > So, by extension, if you didn't use Hulu it wouldn't work??
        > I thought you were Anonymous Coward and not Arrogant Coward.

        His DVD remark caught my attention because it's easy enough to create your own virtual jukebox with them. Rip them and then file them away in some corner of a closet somewhere.

        It's like iTunes but with much more flexibility and some genuine ownership rights.

        I think my setup is the bee's knees but I can see how it might not appeal to everyone. The whole DMCA thing gets in the way of course.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 5:40pm

      Re:

      Hulu only works in the US. There's ways I can fool Hulu to think I'm in the US or I can just torrent programs I want to watch. I'm currently in Korea, the fastest internet in the world, so torrent it is. No commercials.

      I don't mind watching the forced commercial when I watch The Daily Show and Colbert online. Comedy Central doesn't care where you are.

       

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    Dan (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Torrents with embedded commercials

    If the TV execs would get their heads out of their butts and realize file sharing is here to stay, they would be smart to start their own torrent trackers. Embed commercials into the avi file. Get paid by the advertisers based on the swarm data for the torrent. Thousands of seeds, $$$ per seed, distribution cost of near ZERO.

    Their argument is:

    1) "We don't want torrent sharing to go mainstream."
    2) "People will re-edit the file and take out commercials."

    My answer is, those things are already happening. Your way, you get no money. My way, you get paid for something that's happening anyway.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:17am

      Re: Torrents with embedded commercials

      If I knew I could safely download industry distributed content with commercials on bitorrent, I'd do it in a heartbeat, and NOT take out the commercials. You're right, the industry is just not smart enough to do this.

       

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        Dan (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:36am

        Re: Re: Torrents with embedded commercials

        Another point that I didn't mention is that there is currently no good way to skip the commercials in an avi player. Major headache of them, eliminated.

         

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          JEDIDIAH, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 11:16am

          Re: Re: Re: Torrents with embedded commercials

          > Another point that I didn't mention is that there is
          > currently no good way to skip the commercials in an avi
          > player. Major headache of them, eliminated.

          Then you are simply using the wrong avi player.

          There are media players with Tivo style skip controls for every desktop OS platform.

           

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      Ed C, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

      Re: Torrents with embedded commercials

      I agree for the most part, as I've thought about that before. The only problem is that ads are mostly localized by region, country, language, etc. so you're going to have a hard time convincing a US ad exec to pay for downloads from Sweden and China.

      Of course, in order to have a global market, you'll need a global solution. The spots for commercial breaks are already set for a given episode, so all that would be needed is to connect to the closest ad server and get the content based on the location of the user's IP address and language preference. I'm not sure how that would work with a torrent, as it would require a special client, but it would be doable with streaming. Streaming could also allow the user to select any number of language subtitles for foreign shows too. Hell, you could even do alternate language soundtracks, but that would be limited to the languages that have been recorded for that episode.

      Say, I lived in Germany and wanted to watch a show from the US. I choose to watch in German, but then decide that the actors that dubbed the lines were horrible, so I change it back to the original English track and add German subtitles. The ads of course would from Germany, as the ones for New York or LA would be irrelevant, and the German advertisers would be the ones paying for the stream.

      Now say I was only visiting Germany and want to watch the same show. I can still watch the show in English rather than German, and I don't need any subtitles either. The ads would still be for Germany, as the ones from the US would mostly be irrelevant at the moment. However they could be played, or at least subtitled, in English.

      So, that's my plot for taking over the world--a global network for both TV distribution and advertising.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Commercials are another form of payment. You are giving up your "time" in exchange for the content. This time can be as much as 1/3 the total time of the program. People often think this is "free," but when you think about it, it isn't. it's time that you've gained no knowledge or entertainment (or I should hope not, commercials are fairly silly in terms of getting information about products.)

    Torrents are available, but for whatever reason, they aren't mainstream, even given the ease of getting the content. Looking at basic numbers, torrents don't begin to represent even a percent of the online community (at well over 1 billion potential people online.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 3:53pm

    I want to see how he is going to make people pay.

    I sure am not paying it, but that is just me, I will leave other to decide for themselves what they should do.

    My wife doesn't pay either and she doesn't know how to turn on the computer, but she does know how to copy and paste video and music onto a USB thumbdrive and go to work and exchange files with her friends, which is a bit strange for a bunch of 50's old girls, and she was the one who told me to download things from the internet for her because all of her friends were doing it even though laws were passed making it against the law.

    Some people can believe what they want, but I don't see them making money out of beliefs alone, I mean c'mon there is got to be some practicality on those things no?

    How will they enforce it, how will they change how people think?

    They don't control the media anymore, they don't have the money to monitor everybody, they don't have a government in the world capable of doing it either and that is why when I see some nutt jobs crying about piracy and how they will send everybody to jail I just laugh and tell them "Come and get me I'm a pirate" even though I don't download anything illegal to my knowledge the key word being "to my knowledge" here as I can't tell if some video on Youtube is legal or not, if some linux app is violating some law.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 4:13pm

    Jus the other day I saw an article about how people are downgrading their cable service packages in droves because of increasing prices. The guy was mentioning how it appears the ceiling of what people will pay have been reached, not to mention the alternatives. Those people think they are the end of all things, they could be right, but I believe they will find themselves without a job in the not so distant future.

    The 20/80 percent rule doesn't seem to be good enough to those people they want a 100% percent market, and that is impossible.

    Artists of today could probably end up hungry in the future because they don't have fans, consumers are not fans, they don't by merch, they don't buy concert tickets when you got to your 50's. What are the songs they will sing in 20 years?

    Michael Jackson and Maddona are big not because they have a lot of consumers, is because they have a lot of fans, that didn't have money when they were young and got a job after and bought everything they couldn't on those hard times.

    Now some stupid people think they should get paid for every instance of what they call "their work", that is fine by me, I don't pay, so I don't hear and don't see(despite my wife nagging me to download things for her).

    Those new TV shows coming out of the U.S.? I don't know about it, but ask me about what is on youtube? 30 seconds clips don't entice me anymore, with so much crap coming out, if I can't see some episodes I'm sure not paying to see anything because of 30 seconds clips that are deceiving.

    There is a line between the public and commercial interests, and they crossed that line. Be prepared to pay through the nose for that mistake.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 2:08am

    so according to your misguided rambling I can download the latest photoshop for free, from the manufacture?? so I am not paying 600 plus dollars for the "software" but the "service" they provide by allowing me to download it????


    retard much???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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