On video filesharing

August 1, 2008 at 2:54 pm 2 comments

OK, hands up. I’ve downloaded TV shows. Before BBC iPlayer and itv.com got their act together, I used UKNova as a catch-up service (link omitted deliberately). But of course that’s all behind me. The broadcaster-provided services, along with 4OD, provide a legal version of the same thing, with no technological wizadry needed – I can even get iPlayer through the red button on my Virgin Media box. Which is way cool.

Charles Arthur writes an interesting piece on guardian.co.uk, arguing that the TV industry needs to get its act together to recognise that filesharing is here to stay. Parallels with the music industry abound.

But I believe there’s a fundamental difference with the way we enjoy video content vs the way we enjoy music – particularly TV shows. For me, I rarely re-watch a TV show. Maybe very occasionally, when I want to remind myself of how a previous series ended, but very rarely indeed. Music, on the other hand, is entirely different – I’ll hear the same track over and over, will choose a well-listened album to suit my mood, and pack the car and/or iPod full of familiar stuff ready for a trip.

TV shows, then, for me are ephemeral. Once watched, they can be deleted to make room for another show. So there’s only a miniscule chance I’d buy the DVD having watched the show already. I’d definitely not be a candidate for Charles’ proposal that TV production companies release low-quality downloads to promote sales of high-quality DVDs – once watched, it’s valueless.

Am I unusual in this? I guess to some extent I must be, because TV-series box sets top the DVD charts all the time. Are these bought by people who love the show so much they want to watch it over and over again? Sounds like Chinese water torture to me.

Which camp do you fit in? Serial repeat watcher or watch-and-delete like me?


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dan Thornton  |  August 1, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    I’m in the middle I guess.

    I’ll watch some things once and that will be enough for most content.

    Some I’ll watch, and then purchase, either because it’s a film I want to rewatch at some point (or there are DVD extras worth having), or a TV Show that I might want to sit down and watch over a weekend in one go, and I haven’t invested in sKY+ box or Tivo. For instance, occasionally my missus and I will sit down and watch 3 or 4 episodes of Buffy or Angel to relax while we look after our son, and we know it well enough that it doesn’t matter if he’s screaming half of the time!

    I think there’s different financial models which are more applicable to TV, and I’ll try and outline them tonight…

  • […] the link Charles had made between music and TV companies and the effect downloads are having, and suggested that the way the music industry can monetise is not necessarily applicable (low quality freebie for driving high quality purchases), mainly because music will be replayed […]


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