Is on-demand TV in the offing?

I see CBS and NBC are following ABC’s lead and are now offering some of their shows on-demand – but unlike ABC and iTunes combo, CBS and NBC are offering the shows for 99c an episode (as opposed to $1.99 for ABC) and the shows will include ads (ABC’s are without ads).

CBS are offering the service through cable operator ComCast, while NBC are going with DirectTV, a satellite broadcaster.

In his blog, Thomas Hawk asks the very pertinent question:

if you have a DirecTV DVR why not just record the show yourself and skip the commercials and not pay 99 cents. I suppose there always may be the case where you accidently didn’t record your favorite show, but it would seem to me like an unlikely service to be used

By the sounds of it, these guys have the right idea but the wrong business model – I can’t help but think that this will hinder the long-term take up of on-demand TV.

5 thoughts on “Is on-demand TV in the offing?”

  1. “Perhaps I don’t get it, but if you have a DirecTV DVR why not just record the show yourself and skip the commercials and not pay 99 cents.”

    Yes. Thomas Hawk clearly doesn’t get it. Its *gasp* for people who don’t *shock horror* have a DirecTV DVR. I don’t even have a TV at home, but I do have multiple computers and a broadband connection.

    However, this appears to be notably different from the ABC / iTunes deal in that these are for watching on your TV as normal rather than on your ipod or elsewhere (although I only skimmed the article, and could be wrong).

    I’m still waiting for on demand downloading of TV content (paid for so no need for ads) on my PC or Mac. Hopefully it would also help reduce the lag for all of us this side of the pond. We’re a year behind on some series.

  2. Skim reading does have its down sides … apologies to Thomas if he is reading this.

  3. Anyway, we’ll get the watch from the sidelines for a few years before anything remotely useful like this hits Ireland. It took nearly a year for the iTunes music store to come here, and I have a feeling it’ll take even longer for downloadable TV shows – since RTE / E4 etc. have the local rights.

    So the only option is be legally compliant and patient, or download torrents from the US.

  4. I dunno Ed – I think the availability of video iPods, the publicity around the offerings in the US and the ability to make money on shows already sold will put pressure on the stations here to open up this channel to market sooner rather than later.

    Then again I could just be a hopeless optimist!

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