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iTunes Credited with Boosting Primetime Ratings 263

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-more-you-watch-the-more-you-watch dept.
grandgator writes "TV Week reports on NBC's claims that iTunes downloads are boosting ratings for their primetime shows. Citing one example 'NBC's "The Office" delivered a 5.1-its highest ratings ever-last Thursday among adults 18 to 49, a bump the network credits in large part to the show's popularity as an iPod download. Such a connection between podcast success and broadcast ratings success is particularly significant because the NBC data is among the first available evidence of what network executives have been gambling on when striking their new media deals-that the new video platforms are additive because they provide more entry points into a show for consumers.'"
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iTunes Credited with Boosting Primetime Ratings

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  • by wheany (460585) <wheany+sd@iki.fi> on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:09AM (#14508162) Homepage Journal
    The article must mean that the ratings have declined due to rampant piracy. Why would anyone watch something off the tv if they can pirate it from the iTunes online store.
    • Yes, that was the alternative news message from the RIAA which had warned NBC for this kind of mishap. If people get a chance to review your products at their own leisure instead of in a by the RIAA dictated way, everything goes wrong. This week you think you "sell" more, but next week it is all over. Pirates will take over your channel, and you will go broke. NBC be warned, stop this while you still can, and put your other broadcasts behind DRM. People are tivoing them!
    • by e2d2 (115622)
      Well I can give my example why and maybe shed some light. I have an ipod video, got in not too long ago. I got it because I ride a train for about 3 hours every day total. Reading and music are fine, video is good too though. So I bought Lost season 1 from Itunes and liked it, now that I could actually tell wtf was going on. I don't watch much TV, maybe a few hours a week not including the video on the ipod. But now that I'm caught up and can understand it I watch it when it comes on. Most of my show watchi
  • podcast (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:13AM (#14508168)
    Speaking of The Office (original version), and iTunes. Ricky Gervais has a podcast. See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/rickygervais/ [guardian.co.uk]
  • Makes sence (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aqua OS X (458522) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:14AM (#14508171)
    Although I'm fairly disappointed in the way Apple delivers their TV content (too small, can't burn to DVD, etc), iTunes is the reason I have started to tune into shows such as The Office.

    Moreover, it's the only (legal) way I can watch Battlestar Galactica on a weekly basis.
    • Can't you record it on a TV Tuner on your PC and then convert to a video to downloaded to your iPod? I think that's legal, isn't it?
      • Yes, you can do this (I've done it). The next step will be for ATI and BeyondTV and MythTV to support the iPod video format as a native recording format so we don't have to convert the recorded video. Actually, I think iTunes or QTPro will convert any Quicktime movie to iPod format semi-automatically. Unfortunately, I currently use Beyond TV for my TV tuner and it won't save as Quicktime (just WMV and mpeg2).

        Legal? Probably not in the strictest definition, but no different than a VCR or DVD recorder (unless
    • I love The Office (US version, never seen the UK version). I've been watching it since day 1 and telling everyone I know about it. But here's the thing. Have you ever listened to someone describe a funny TV show? It's awful. Not only is it impossible to reproduce the timing and context of the show that made it funny, but now the person forced to listen to you imitating Homer Simpson must guess as to whether you just can't do a good Homer, or if the writing for the Simpsons really isn't funny.

      PMPs fin

      • PMPs finally make it possible for me to come in the next day and say, "hey, you've got to watch this clip from last night's Office." I would certainly get more people to start watching the show by actually showing them part of the show than by possibly injuring someone with my horrible Dwight impersonation.

        That's the man, officer! Plain as day admitted to a public, non-domestic performance intention. Lock the bastard up, and throw away the key...

        What do you mean "fair use" rights? Don't you know they were

    • Re:Makes sense (Score:3, Informative)

      by clifyt (11768)
      " Although I'm fairly disappointed in the way Apple delivers their TV content (too small, can't burn to DVD, etc)"

      While I'm not going to disagree with you about the DVD aspect (this bit me in the ass yesterday as I was trying to get a few friends to watch BSG on my Mac -- my screen is almost as big as my TV -- but in the wrong room).

      BUT it actually seems pretty decent to me. While watching the Resurrection Ship PtII episode -- I ended up seeing details that I didn't earlier (such as the cy-clones floating
  • Obvious (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:15AM (#14508173)
    *Gasp* *Shock* *Horror* Do you really mean that if you give the viewers what they want, they will be happy? No way, I don't believe you!
    • When this deal first came out, local affiliates were all kinds of nervous. They expected that people would switch from commercial-ridden TV to legal downloads, losing ad revenue. The network wins because it gets paid, but the local affiliates lose because nobody's watching their ads.

      So a rise in TV viewership came as a surprise to them. And since their logic seemed sound, it seemed so to me, too.

      Not that I was crying for them. I'd much rather see local affiliates go away and have the bandwidth replaced b
  • iTunes Payola (Score:3, Insightful)

    by capt.Hij (318203) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:16AM (#14508174) Homepage Journal
    How long will it now take before we start seeing iTunes Payola. Networks eager to get their shows on people's ipods will certainly be tempted to try to strike special deals to make their shows more easily obtainable. They may try to offer Apple cash, try to reduce the cost to consumers, or try to find ways to get their links on the front page. If it happens, can an individual state try to take action against the practice? This may turn out to be another interesting episode of the theatre of greed.
    • Re:iTunes Payola (Score:4, Insightful)

      by heatdeath (217147) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:22AM (#14508192)
      Networks eager to get their shows on people's ipods will certainly be tempted to try to strike special deals to make their shows more easily obtainable

      This makes no sense. People aren't going to browse iTunes looking for good TV shows to watch. They're going to download the shows that they missed. This makes the series more watchable, because missing a single episode doesn't ruin the plot. (It also makes it more portable)

      But, your scenario you described is silly. You fail.
      • People aren't going to browse iTunes looking for good TV shows to watch.

        On the contrary, it's one of the best ways to try out new TV shows. You are feeling bored on a Sunday afternoon so you browse for something that looks interesting and sink $2 on the first episode. If you like it you watch more, and if you don't you aren't out much.

        Contrast to conventional TV, where if you want to try a show you have to figure out when it is on and arrange to be at a TV at that particular time -- and forget about start
    • I already saw this episode on Office. It's the Christmas party where everybody wants the iPod.
    • Re:iTunes Payola (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gnasher719 (869701)
      '' How long will it now take before we start seeing iTunes Payola. Networks eager to get their shows on people's ipods will certainly be tempted to try to strike special deals to make their shows more easily obtainable. They may try to offer Apple cash, try to reduce the cost to consumers, or try to find ways to get their links on the front page. ''

      It might happen, but it won't be as bad as on radio. On the radio, if they pay, you can hear it, if they don't pay, you can't hear it. On iTunes, what would happ
    • How long will it now take before we start seeing iTunes Payola.

      That is a good question. So far, however, Apple deserves our admiration for not giving in to this temptation. Many people assumed that Apple would do this very thing with music, it was/is common practice on the radio. Even with the majority of the music download market they have not showed any preferential treatment.

      If network executives have even half a brain (which is doubtful) they will be working on deals to offer a few free episodes of

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:21AM (#14508188) Journal
    But all I can say is that it doesn't surprise me at all.

    When the video is available from iTMS, it's uncoupled from the network schedule. You can send an episode to a friend as a gift. You can buy one show and see whether you want any more, and the critical thing is, you can watch it anytime you want. It's a whole new ball game.

    -jcr
    • When the video is available from BitTorrent, it's uncoupled from the network schedule. You can send an episode to a friend (or a total stranger) as a gift. You can download one show and see whether you want any more, and the critical thing is, you can watch it anytime you want. It's a whole old ball game.
    • I remember when viewers basically "made an appointment" with a TV show. The VCR was a novelty that only the Rich could afford. You either watched it on its appointed time or you hoped to catch it on re-runs. Writers couldn't create series with long, intricate story arcs that spanned multiple episodes, because if a viewer missed an episode, they'd be confused. So every week, the problem that threatened the world was neatly tidied up in the last ten minutes.

      Finally, Appointment Viewing is Dead! iTunes

  • by heatdeath (217147) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:24AM (#14508194)
    Before, I had to watch TV for free on that terrifying screen that was so easy on my eyes. Now I can pay money to watch it on a tiny screen that I have to hold in a viewable position for 40 consecutive minutes.

    No wonder video iPods are such a hit.
    • Re:It's obvious! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by peragrin (659227) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @08:03AM (#14508287)
      Or you can get a clue and join the real world.

      I wanted to see how it was so I downloaded the free battlestar galatica season opener special. I played it on my TV just fine and it looked just like the regular shows. Other than the fact it was commercial free and I could pause it at will.

      So i downloaded the season 2 and every night for 4 nights I watched 2-3 episodes to get the season i missed. Now I can watch the new episodes without having missed anything.

      On my TV downstairs on the couch. I do wish HD was an option but that's okay for $2 I can watch it when i want to without interruption.

      What I want to know though is is apple selling more quicktime pro licenses. It's the only way to get good fullscreen viewing of protected content. I wish mplayer would work but it doesn't.
      • There is a tiny applescript that you can use to make QuickTime Player go fullscreen. You just launch your file, hit pause, then run the script. It works just fine.

        tell application "QuickTime Player"
        present front movie scale screen
        end tell

        (Normally that second line would be indented)

      • Re:It's obvious! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by clifyt (11768)
        "What I want to know though is is apple selling more quicktime pro licenses. It's the only way to get good fullscreen viewing of protected content."

        Actually iTunes has a feature that will play the protected content in full screen WITHOUT QTPro.

        Its in the preferences...I found it just recently...it might be under Videos or Advanced. I can say I was 'midly' miffed that after two months of paying for QTPro6 an automatic update grabbed QT7 and disabled the standard full screen option (Yeah I know I can disable
        • Re:It's obvious! (Score:3, Informative)

          by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
          Its in the preferences...I found it just recently...it might be under Videos or Advanced.

          Inded, you are Rignt. Here it is:
          Edit->Preferences. Select Playback tab. Check "Play videos" at the bottom, in the drop-down box pick "full screen".
      • What I want to know though is is apple selling more quicktime pro licenses. It's the only way to get good fullscreen viewing of protected content. I wish mplayer would work but it doesn't.

        Why are you playing them with a different application at all. You're already right there in iTunes, which can play any format QT can play, and do so in full-screen mode.

        I've even started using iTunes as my default media player for all my video files, including the Doctor Who bootlegs I scored off the newsgroups. It works
  • If Only... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Placebo Messiah (895157) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:35AM (#14508216)
    ...Fox would have pulled their collective heads out of their universal ass before they cancelled Arrested Development and podcasted it to supplement the ratings.
    • Re:If Only... (Score:2, Informative)

      by bloodstains (676306)
      If only Fox would have pulled their collective heads out of their universal ass before they cancelled Arrested Development and podcasted it to supplement the ratings.

      Just because music or videos are sold through iTMS does not make them podcasts. A podcast [wikipedia.org] is something very specific, and is not even related to Apple, Mac's, iPods, or iTunes, other than the fact that you have the option of using said technology to listen to them.
      • What are you talking about?

        "very specific"

        did you even read the definition of a podcast? What's your reply got to do with my post or the parent?
        Are you confused about podcasts of video content?

        Are you trying to turn this into some kind of fruity catfight about the semantics of a podcast?

        enthrall me with your acumen
    • I can't remember where I read it, but 20th Century Fox figured they could make more money off the show by selling it to Showtime. And with it's 4.something million viewers it would be Showtime's number 1 hit.
    • Arrested Development is(er, was) easily one of the best shows on television. But it was quirky, and didn't have an immediate "hook" (e.g. "It's Pamela Anderson, and she works in a bookstore!!". Goddamn I hate you Fox).

      Very similar to Seinfeld in that respect. But NBC was able to cultivate it into a hit. Fox would have killed Seinfeld halfway into the 2nd season.

  • by wing03 (654457) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:46AM (#14508241)
    I suppose at its best, you could have a world where people get out of their cars, saving the air, and use the travel time on public transit to do their TV watching.

    At its worst, there'll be alot of iPod video junkies strung out waiting for their next hit.

    TV anywhere and everywhere, the new opiate for the masses.

  • If more shows migrate towards iTunes I may just wind up cancelling my basic cable. I don't watch much television - I'd prefer paying for shows I like (without ads) a la carte. The Office "Christmas Party" episode was my first video purchase online. Quality overall is pretty good, too.

  • by fighthairloss (455826) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:49AM (#14508248)
    I'm glad to see the success of The Office online. Overall, I suppose NBC (or whoever made the decision within NBC to iTunes-enable their primetime) should be congratulated for their forsight.

    A few things I wonder about though:

    1. now that NBC's taken this (presumably risky, in their minds) step in new-fangled distribution, and now that they've seen some early signs of success, will they now believe they invented this new medium and start demanding higher pricing, forced purchase of "blocks" of episodes, or -gasp- more DRM restrictions from Jobs & co?

    2. Does anyone know the story behind NBC's decision to go iTunes in the first place? I'm just guessing here, but I'm thinking there was a rebel executive somewhere who had to do jump through hoops to convince management that this was a good choice. Of course, that just might be jaded old me predisposed to think the worst of labels and studios based on their traditional less-than-progressive stances on anything that challenges their conventional wisdom.

    3. I wonder at what point is it financially worth it for a studio to produce a "TV" show and sell it exclusively off-air. For example, Arrested Development [savethebluths.org] is one of the most brilliant shows to come on in years, but it's doing rather poorly in viewer ratings. Conceivably, if it sold on iTunes, and DVD & iTunes sales were strong enough, would a studio ever have enough balls to make a TV show that wasn't distributed on TV?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      2. Does anyone know the story behind NBC's decision to go iTunes in the first place? I'm just guessing here, but I'm thinking there was a rebel executive somewhere who had to do jump through hoops to convince management that this was a good choice.

      I don't know about NBC, but at the TV company I work for the executives do see the writing on the wall (BitTorrent et al. scarred the hell out of them) and are looking at ways of tapping into the onine market. So I doubt NBC management need much convincing - if an
    • Conceivably, if it sold on iTunes, and DVD & iTunes sales were strong enough, would a studio ever have enough balls to make a TV show that wasn't distributed on TV?

      Seeing as the studios make straight to syndication series, then one could assume that if the iTunes & DVD market grew large enough, then they probably would start taking the risks. I suppose it would follow a similar format to what happens now - if enough people watch the pilot (which I bet for dramas would be more like made for tv movie
  • It's happened before (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spectrumCoder (944322) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:54AM (#14508264) Homepage
    It should be obvious that distribution of a show, legal or otherwise, is going to get more people watching it. But no network exec would write a press release saying, "thanks to internet piracy, more people have heard of and are watching our show".

    But now that iTunes is offering their shows (and paying them for every download) they're suddenly very keen to advertise the positive role that the internet can play in increasing exposure to their programmes.

    Overall, though, it's definitely a good thing. Any press that demonstrates that internet downloads can benefit tv corporations as well as harming them increases the chance of a decent compromise between illegal file-sharing and drm'ed-to-the-gills restrictive legal downloads.
  • The irony (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:55AM (#14508267)
    "TV Week reports on NBC's claims that iTunes downloads are boosting ratings for their primetime shows."

    This comes after weeks long scandals by the TV networks that the iPod videos would ruin their ratings.

    Well this is great, because MPAA and RIAA will finally acknowledge the need for legal instant internet movie downloads, and stop claiming that piracy costs them in the billions ignoring the promotion value! Not.
  • Testimonial.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aychamo (932587)
    Well, I can give my testimonial. I'm in a professional school in a different country than the US, so I can't really watch US TV shows. However, I downloaded shows like Lost and The Office from iTunes and have fell in love with them. I wish Apple would put you on an auto-purchase thing where it would download the next show as soon as its ready. I don't even know what night or day of the week these shows play.
  • So basically... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thatoneguy_jm (917104)
    ...someone needs to add "Firefly" to iTunes, pronto.
  • Eyeballs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @08:11AM (#14508310)
    "ITunes is one way to bring fresh eyeballs to the network, he said, in particular the younger demo that uses video iPods."

    Don't you find it especially intimidating TV execs when they refer to people as eyeballs [roxettebunny.mu.nu]?
  • by toupsie (88295) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @08:21AM (#14508345) Homepage
    Get Arrested Development in the iTunes store! I am sure George Michael can figure out how to rip episodes and upload them. He's a smart kid. Otherwise, Fox is going to cancel your show and you will be listening to "Christmas Time Is Here" all the time.

    I am so sick of Fox being the network where great shows go to die.

    • I am sure George Michael can figure out how to rip episodes and upload them.

      Yeah, but then every episode would start off with that time he filmed himself having a mock light-saber battle in the garage.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @08:31AM (#14508369) Homepage Journal
    I have yet to buy an iPod video yet, and I won't till they get the Daily Show on iTunes. However, I won't pay $1.99 per episode to get it, but I would LOVE for some type of subscription service, ie for somewhere less than $100 per year I could get that show delivered to me automatically on my iPod. It would be awesome for commuters if they could get up in the morning, grab their iPod from it's dock and take the train/bus/whatever and watch the previous nights Daily Show.
    Pipedreams I guess....
    • > I won't till they get the Daily Show on iTunes.

      You can get the daily show for free on Comedy Central already?

    • You can already get most segments of the daily show on comedycentral.com. For free.
      http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_daily_show/ index.jhtml [comedycentral.com] (click Videos in the menu on the left)

      Once I discovered that, I canceled my cable subscription.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MadJo (674225) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @08:32AM (#14508376) Homepage Journal
    Okay now this makes absolutely no sense at all. Downloading tv-shows from Bittorrent declined the ratings, but downloading from iTunes actually increases ratings?
    How are those two different? (aside from the money factor)
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Carthag (643047) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @09:51AM (#14508664) Homepage
      Obviously bittorrent users are not interested in watching the show, they simply download them to stick it to the man. Good point, though :)
    • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by wx327 (782536)
      Could be that iTunes viewers usually watch the live show, but use iTunes to get the ones they missed, but torrent viewers always watch the torrents, so they will never contribute to the live viewing share statistic.
    • My only guess is that paying $2 per ep for an entire season run is prohibitive for most, but paying $2 for an ep to see what people are talking about is not. Once you pay the $2 for the ep and like it, then you can note to watch it live for free.

      The 3 factors that are different from iTunes and usenet/BT are:

      1. Cost. Xvids are free. iPod format (what are they, Quicktime?) are $2 per ep
      2. Quality. Xvids are 480p or 720p. iPod format is like 240p?
      3. Choice. usenet/BT has just about anything on

    • Lies! All lies!

      When Lost first started I thought, "That looks interesting, but I don't want to get hooked on yet another TV show." (I am trying to cut down on TV watching and spend that time doing more fulfilling things such as spending time with my wife and reading.) So I didn't watch Lost for the first 6 episodes or so. One of my friends watched it all the time and encouraged me to watch so I caved in and downloaded all the episodes I had missed and ended up watching them all one Saturday. Now I am hook

    • Just a guess, but the iTunes video store is "mainstream" while BitTorrent is not. So it's not that BitTorrent decreased the ratings, but rather that it had no effect (or caused a non-measurable increase).

      The more cynical answer is that the change in ratings in both cases is irrelevant; iTunes results in profit for NBC so they tout it; BitTorrent doesn't so they slam it.

    • I can think of three things actually:
      1) Convenience; the learning curve for bittorrent, to an average Joe, is slightly higher than the learning curve for the iTMS
      2) Speed; the download from the iTMS is much shorter, at 10 to 15 minutes, than the average bittorrent. Of course YMMV
      3) Presentation; If you download The Office, you know it's NBC. Bittorrent does not have this feature.
  • "Citing one example 'NBC's "The Office" delivered a 5.1-its highest ratings ever-last Thursday among adults 18 to 49, a bump the network credits in large part to the show's popularity as an iPod download."

    I would also like to give credit to Steve Carrell's wife for making this iTunes download so popular.
  • by NXprime (573188) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @08:52AM (#14508424)
    I keep pinching myself in utter disbelief that the furture has come where a-la-carte programming would be real. Now it is and I can watch my favorite shows anywhere I want. iTunes is a direct download service with no viruses, dead torrent links, tracker downtime, RIAA threats, slow downloads, or any bothersome thing like that. Video quality is so nice on my 17" CRT monitor that it's just like watching a TV rip but better quality since there's no logo's anywhere or scrolling text, or weather updates or any crap like that. I tell ya, I wouldn't have it any other way. Freedom from commericals, folks. It's the read deal and I couldn't be any happier. NBC/ABC has all the good shows anyway like Lost, BSG, Monk, and The Office so we're not missing much from the other loser networks that refuse to join up with iTunes. That free Monk episode and SNL skit was just the icing on the cake.

    As for buying all episodes on iTunes, that would be a mistake. I plan on buying Monk on DVD & ripping it so I can watch it again (some for the first time) on my PC. Too much glare watching it on an iPod but for long road trips life without it would be unbarable. But from time to time, like an SNL skit for example, it can't be beat. /hugs Steve Jobs. =)....
  • by Reignking (832642) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @09:01AM (#14508454) Journal
    You mean it has nothing to do with being in a better time slot? I think putting it on Thursday nights has more to do with the ratings increase than anything...
  • So now that the networks are seing a benifit to their core buisness my making content available online perhaps they should consider offereing it for online for free...

    Yeah I know it will never happen, but I doubt that the revenue generated from iTunes outweighs the potental revenue bump associated with a ratings hike like this.
  • Baen Free Library (Score:3, Informative)

    by argent (18001) <<moc.agnorat.6002.todhsals> <ta> <retep>> on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:31AM (#14508963) Homepage Journal
    This works for books as well. Eric Flint and other authors reported increased sales after they had some books released for free on the Baen Free Library.

    Including paper copies of the same novels they'd released as free eBooks!
  • by geddes (533463) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:33AM (#14508978)
    I downloaded the Battlestar miniseries from iTunes for a plane ride, and I was immediately hooked. Over the next two weeks I downloaded from iTunes every episode, and I am now eagerly anticipating Friday night''s new episode.

    There have been several comments here I want to address:

    1. Video Quality: The resolution is only 320x240, but that is the resolution of standard television! Apple's encoding is very very good. Saturday morning I was losing patience waiting for the latest B*G to show up on iTunes so I turned to BitTorrent. The quality was awfull! I got the "big" 320 MB version. The colors were washed and faded, it was clearly a video capture from a broadcast, and it just looked crappy. I couldn't take it and I downloaded the iTunes version, and the colors were strong and the contrast was sharp. I have never had a problem getting the movies to play full screen in iTunes, you just click a button, and since my Powerbook has built in S-Video or TV Out, I just plug the laptop right into the television and it looks better than a cable broadcast (Note: I do not have an HDTV)
    2. Price: The Battlestar season 2.0 DVD is 10 episodes for $30. Through iTunes I pay only $20 for those 10 episodes. I pay $10 less and lose the convenience of portability, I can't loan the DVD to a friend (and I want everyone I know to watch B*G, it is that good) and I geuss I lose a little quality as well, but since I have no HDTV, I don't feel like I am losing quality.
      1. Services like iTunes are the future, pretty soon advertisers will be cut out of Television, and the ad agencies will have to get creative for delivering ads. The Internet, but also things like little screens on Gas Pumps or other "captive audience" situations will become big hits in that industry.
    • The resolution of standard NTSC television is more easily approximated as 640x480. 320x240 is much closer to a home-recorded VHS tape.

      The shows are well encoded for their size, but they are less than 1/4 the resolution of a DVD-- which plays back on standard televisions without scaling.

      So far, the only reason I've considered purchasing a tv show from iTunes is for the occasional missed episode of a show that has multi-episode plotlines. They're too expensive and too low quality for me to use as anything b
  • Just a few notes... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cmpalmer (234347) * on Thursday January 19, 2006 @11:06AM (#14509255) Homepage
    ABC has done "catch up" episodes for Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and Lost. These should be free downloads on iTunes to snag more viewers.

    I kicked myself for a year because I never started watching Lost. When I subscribed to NetFlix, the first thing I got was Lost season 1. I finished around Christmas, got a video iPod for Christmas, then the first thing I bought on iTunes was all of the season 2 episodes so far ($18?). I actually watched them all on my 42" HDTV with my iPod. Quality wasn't much worse than my analog TV channels (a little artifacting in dark scenes). I finally caught up, so now I can watch the first run episodes in HD, so I won't be buying them on iTunes (unless I forget to DVR them).

    ABC (and Disney and ESPN) and NBC are aligned with Apple/iTunes. CBS has gone with Google. Fox is just sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Where is 24, Arrested Development, etc.?

    I DVR everything I watch (dual tuner Motorola HDTV DVR box with Comcast digital cable). I also have a TV tuner on my computer and the software where I can record TV shows then convert them to iPod video format. I haven't tried the DVD rippers/re-encoders yet.

    I don't have a problem with $2 per episode because I don't intend to ever use iTunes as my primary way of watching a TV series -- I see using it to (a) catch up with shows I haven't been watching, (b) try out new shows by picking popular episodes, (c) be able to buy a show that I missed for some reason.

    IMO, iTunes would be selling movies if it wasn't for the fact that an iPod will only show about 2 hours of video on a fresh charge. People would be pissed if they bought a movie that they couldn't watch on a single charge. Unfortunately, this just means my 30GB video iPod will be obsolete when they release one with a longer battery life.

    You can use a $10 camcorder video cable to watch iPod videos on TV, but you have to ignore the cable's color coding.

    For $300, Apple should include a video cable and a wall charger.

    Kudos for Google to support iPod downloads on Google Video (the free ones at least).
  • by 3770 (560838) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @11:28AM (#14509462) Homepage
    The success of the Office on iTunes is probably because it can be enjoyed even if you watch only a few minutes at at time. You don't need to sit through the entire show to enjoy it. You can just watch a few minutes.

    And that probably suits the mobile nature of iPod viewing.

    And it might be a good show to buy if you want to show off your new iPod to friends because you can always find a good little short scene that you can show whenever someone is asking about the video capabilities of your new iPod. And this probably matters quite a bit at the moment. Most of the 8 million videos that Steve Jobs claimed were sold are probably bought by people who bought just one episode to check out what it's all about.
  • I'll tell you what I just want some "Doctor Who." I get sick and tired of downloading them from through Bit Torrent. I am an American and I want me some real BBC content and not this watered down BBC America rubbish!!!!

There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.

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