This week I was contacted by a journalist asking my opinion on how the exchange of video files over the web through e.g. Bittorrent was going to influence broadcast TV. In the mean time the article is out (link below) and I've been thinking about this a bit further.
There are a number of aspects to be considered. First of all, most of the video material people download through Bittorrent is not legally licensed. To be clear, I'm all against that.
But a lot of people, mainly hardcore fans of e.g. 24 or Lost, download these episodes. Not so much because they get it for free, but because they really love this stuff. And for some reason, US citizens (in this case) seem to have the right to be one year ahead in viewing these series. Result, the fans take initiative to see their favourite series. They can't get them on DVD because these are region-coded, but thanks to broadband internet these people have a solution. On wonders of course why the hell the broadcaster channes don't give them this legally, I'm sure most would gladly pay. Hello TV people ... there are customers here for you ... they like your stuff ... they go through relatively high efforts to get your shows ... maybe just sell it to them ... no?
Will this spread into the households any time soon? I think it will. There are already loads of solutions to see the content you acquired through the internet in your living room. TiVo, hard disc equipped set-top-boxes and of cours apple's new iMac G5 (with remote control).
My Mac is in my home office, but I can see this machine in the living room - kitchen of an appartment where it works a PC, communication tool (chat, skype, ...), stereo (iTunes) and TV.
Maybe some of these TV stations should concentrate their efforts more on creating content rather then trying to figure out the ultimate programme that will keep viewers on their channel the whole evening. We know that doesn't work anymore since the remote controll was invented!
Read the article (in Dutch), it's got some interresting views (November 19th):
Weg met de TV zenders