by Carlo Longino

Why NBC Wanted To Sue TiVo

from the there's-pay-tv-then-there's-pay-tv dept

There are lots of stories around this morning about NBC making some shows available for download through iTunes, which is lovely and all, but most of the articles are missing the story behind the story. Think back to two weeks ago when some TV networks were talking about suing Tivo after it expanded the capability of its TiVo2Go so users could put shows they'd recorded onto devices like video iPods and PSPs. It wasn't the lack of copy protection they were upset about -- it was because they expect people that are going to watch their shows on the devices will have to pay for it, regardless of whether or not they've got it on their DVR. Does all this sound familiar? It should, because it's the same mentality record labels took (and some continue to take) to music -- that's great that you own a CD, but if you want it on your MP3 player, you should pay for another copy. What's the problem here, apart from stupidity? A complete disdain for and lack of acknowledgement of fair use. In response to the TiVo2Go announcement, and NBC Universal spokesman accused TiVo of "disregarding established rights of content owners to participate in decisions regarding the distribution and exploitation of their content". That's absolutely ridiculous when the company's position has even more disregard for the well-established right of the consumer to fair use. It's hard to be optimistic that these companies will ever learn they've got far more to gain by embracing technology and figuring out how to use it to their advantage, rather than just trying to use it to wring as much money as possible out of people, repercussions be damned.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    RANDDICKSON, Dec 6th, 2005 @ 11:36am

    Old industry

    Think that a good deal of the problem with media industries (music, video) is that like the auto industry, they are restricted by existing agreements they have with other organizations. I don't necessarily the heads of the industry are at complete fault. They have to satisfy contracts with a number of unions who often will not get any value from a new way of doing business. This is happening in the auto and airline industries now and apparently will cripple the existing industry. The biggest difference tween the video/music industry and the AA industries is that there are more and more viable alternatives becoming available.

    Maybe we should spend less time complaining about the industries and more time pitying them.

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

  2. identicon
    Benita Applebaum, Dec 6th, 2005 @ 11:38am

    No Subject Given

    This may seem blatantly obvious to the digitally inclined, but the televisions studios are gigantic institutions steeped in past business models. The idea of revenue from TV commercials is quickly disintegrating with the penetration of DVR's, and the iTMS (and its knock-offs). The television industry is grasping for a new business model and they are trying to squeeze every penny out of digital distribution while they look for one.

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

  3. identicon
    sub ubi, Dec 6th, 2005 @ 11:47am

    Re: No Subject Given

    well, television programs (and radio before that) were created mostly as way to get people to listen to product adverts. and that's where most of their (network television) money comes from.

    if that money goes away, or is sizably reduced, it will force the networks to look elsewhere for income & production dollars. be it digital rights, subscriptions or who knows, a television license!

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

  4. identicon
    Rick Hallihan, Dec 6th, 2005 @ 12:10pm

    Content producers need to embrace new technology i

    I wrote this post back in April:
    The basic premise is that major networks should jump on this idea of letting consumers use their content any way they please, and try to use it to their advantage. If consumers are happy with what you produce, you’ll get more eyeballs watching your content, and that should make your advertisers happy.

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

  5. identicon
    Techno Geek, Dec 6th, 2005 @ 1:31pm

    Screw these guys.

    I have to say NBC is shooting themselves in the head. Why would anybody buy a copy of a tv show that was aired for free! These money hungry conglomerates need to be stopped. We need to ban together and ensure these companies get on their knees and kiss are rear ends. They have obviously forgot how they get thier money. From advertising!

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

  6. identicon
    kingmanor, Dec 6th, 2005 @ 3:48pm


    this is all the more ridiculous because its network television. cable tv would have some sort of revenue to complain of, but not much, but NBC is FREE last time I checked. its all complaining cus no one wants to watch their ads.

    Do the iTunes TV downloads (lost, etc) have commercials, by the way?

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

  7. identicon
    keith, Dec 6th, 2005 @ 5:50pm

    Re: FREE TV

    I don't know if they have commercials, but given their past track record I'd be willing to bet they do. Nothing like charging someone for the download and packing the video full of extra revenue generating commercials.

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

  8. identicon
    thecaptain, Dec 7th, 2005 @ 5:07am

    Re: Screw these guys.

    Actually, strictly speaking, MANY MANY people buy copies of shows that are/were aired for free.

    DVDs of tv shows are the biggest sellers right now, outselling movies I believe.

    Whether this sort of thing would remain true for a DOWNLOAD, who can tell?

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

  9. identicon
    Bill, Dec 7th, 2005 @ 6:40am

    TivoToGo isn't the only solution

    Not to be an advert for this product (I have ordered one) but here's an item that is even easier to use than Tivo and also has an open letter to the content producers about their take on real innovation.
    The MPEG4 Recorder 2

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

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