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ABC Affiliates Grapple With TV-Show Downloads 480

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the in-for-a-penny dept.
Carl Bialik writes "By making an episode of 'Lost' available for download last week just half a day after it aired, for a $1.99 charge, 'Apple may have helped open a Pandora's box for the media business,' the Wall Street Journal reports. The president of the association representing ABC's affiliate stations sent a letter to the president of ABC, reading in part, 'It is both disappointing and unsettling that ABC would embark on a new -- and competitive -- network program distribution partnership without the fundamental courtesy of consultation' with its affiliates. While the extent of Apple's TV downloads is limited, the Journal parses the potential impact: 'if downloading episodes over the Internet proves popular, analysts believe Apple will get permission to offer shows with better-fidelity pictures. Any success Apple has won't go unnoticed by other online media powerhouses with expanding video initiatives like Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which could all help extend TV downloading to more viewers.'"
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ABC Affiliates Grapple With TV-Show Downloads

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2005 @08:01PM (#13813205)
    "It is unsettling that ABC has chosen to act as an independent agent in a free market, rather than subjecting its decisions to cartel politics. ABC's rash action opens up an incredible Pandora's box; once we start provide the customers with what they want at prices they are willing to pay, who knows where THAT dangerous path might end?"
  • by cyberbob2010 (312049) <cyberbob2010@techie.com> on Monday October 17, 2005 @08:01PM (#13813210) Homepage Journal
    I could still just download it via bittorrent for free.....
  • by gnu-sucks (561404) on Monday October 17, 2005 @08:06PM (#13813234) Journal
    You are correct for the moment, but once this catches on, people will realize it is a better, more enjoyable method of entertainment.

    Forget tivo. This is it.

    As far as I'm concerned, the modern day affiliate station is a simple load-balancing device.

    The funeral for tivo will be held tomorrow evening, 2100 hours, at 1, infinity loop, Cupertino, CA.

    Affiliate stations: BE AFRAID :D
  • by Onan (25162) on Monday October 17, 2005 @08:09PM (#13813253)
    What was ABC thinking, doing something as offensive and inexcusable as making content available to consumers in a more convenient yet still-lucrative form? Absolutely unforgivable!

    Really, this seems like a very self-regulating situation. If consumers enjoy and respond to this offering, then both content producers and consumers have a great new option, and neither one of them owes previous distribution channels a damn thing. If people don't care for the new format, then existing distribution channels continue to maintain their position and profits.

    Obviously this has a strong chance of being a bad deal for advertising-driven distribution in the long term. But even if it is, the notion that content producers had any obligation to avoid it out of mere politeness is absurd.

    I wonder when we'll see FedEx and UPS complaining that offering software for download--rather than shipping CDs--was a very rude thing for the software industry to begin doing without so much as a by-your-leave.

  • by scotty1024 (584849) on Monday October 17, 2005 @08:22PM (#13813318)
    Bill has recently proven he can't negotiate a deal with the Media giants for content. Poor Bill, spent all that money developing DRM for them and when the time came to cash in? They treated him like the "help" and wouldn't even let him dine at the table. :-)
  • by MacDork (560499) on Monday October 17, 2005 @08:25PM (#13813333) Journal
    Thank goodness the lobbyists and power brokers circling the wagons today for the hapless industry wasn't present in the late 19th and early 20th century to protect the horse and buggy industry in the same way... We'd have no cars today (since that would have threatened the established travel industry).

    Lobbyists are not a new invention. It appears the term was coined in the early 19th century. [alldc.org] It's a shame really. If they were a recent invention, someone would have patented the business method and then we would at least be free of them for about 20 years ;-)

  • by Josh Coalson (538042) on Monday October 17, 2005 @08:28PM (#13813356) Homepage
    'It is both disappointing and unsettling that ABC would embark on a new -- and competitive -- network program distribution partnership without the fundamental courtesy of consultation' with its affiliates.

    dude, you've just been dumped for somebody hotter.

  • Re:Choice (Score:5, Funny)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Monday October 17, 2005 @08:37PM (#13813394)
    Silence! Apple can do no wrong!

    Sheesh, next thing ya know he'll be badmouthing Google.
  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:05PM (#13813538) Journal
    Yeah, the way Apple has exploited their dominance of the OS market to take over the downloadable music market and the MP3 market is pretty heinous and I'm sure the DOJ is keeping a close eye on them. And the creation of a new market of downloading video clips! That's just the sort of unfair business practice to which the DOJ pays close attention. Reminds me exactly of how MS has bullied PC makers to maintain its monopoly.

    Er, wait.
  • Re:Choice (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:18PM (#13813597) Homepage
    I had 3 albums of hers 10 years ago (none of which are available on itunes). You're not suggesting that she's not produced anything for 10 years (I haven't *heard* anything... she never seemed to go anywhere musically and I got bored, but I'd be surprised if she upped sticks and gave up). Indeed, musicmatch lists 6 albums, not 4.

    itunes lists 6 songs of her stuff, and none of her solo albums. Pity, since this post reminded me I kinda liked "He walks through walls" and wouldn't mind another copy (the later stuff was a bit pants IMO).

  • Re:Choice (Score:4, Funny)

    by BorgCopyeditor (590345) on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:24PM (#13813628)
    next thing ya know he'll be badmouthing Google.

    I'll bite.

    Does the introduction of blogsearch.google.com mean that content on whatever Google deems a blog is being segregated from the rest of the Internet? Try cutting and pasting a phrase from your favorite A-list blog into Google's regular search: nada. Try putting it in blogsearch: voila!

    obTinfoilHat: This has happend because pressures from mainstream political parties (you know who you are) drove Google to make blog content effectively invisible to your average searcher after truth, given how influential (and unregulated, forsooth!) political blogs have become.

  • Re:Choice (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:27PM (#13813638)
    Well, maybe the real point is: if only there were something on TV that was worth $1.99...
  • by Craig Maloney (1104) * on Monday October 17, 2005 @11:28PM (#13814151) Homepage
    For those of you who don't want to read the original text of the letter, we now present the abridged version below:

    Affiliates: Wah!

    This has been a special presentation. We now return you to your busy work schedule.
  • by nathanh (1214) on Monday October 17, 2005 @11:58PM (#13814275) Homepage
    Yes, Thank you Apple! Finnally someone has done what the consumers have been screaming for for years! So many nay-sayers look at the iPod Video and say it is some gimmick, but what they dont realise is exactly this pandoras box being opened!

    I've seen perhaps a half-dozen naysayers in total and an overwhelming majority praising Apple as if they've just solved world hunger. Where do you get the idea that "so many nay-sayers" are calling this a gimmick? Is there a special thread for naysayers that I haven't seen yet?

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