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Media Television

P2P and TV 381

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it's-going-to-change-everything dept.
Khuffie writes "According to Wired, Warner Bros. Entertainment recently passed on a pilot of a show called Global Frequency. However, due to a leak on bit-torrent the pilot episode has reached thousands of viewers who are clamouring for more, and has given the show a new lease on life. What's more interesting is what the show creator learned. From the article: "It changes the way I'll do my next project," said Rogers. If he owned the full rights, he said, "I would put my pilot out on the internet in a heartbeat. Want five more? Come buy the boxed set." Frankly, I'm all for this method of distribution, as I barely watch 'regular' TV anymore."
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P2P and TV

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  • More Stupidity! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:02PM (#12932941) Homepage Journal
    Hoffman added that the pilot's unauthorized distribution is "unacceptable and illegal ... no matter what the underlying motives" and said the company hasn't ruled out taking legal action "when it comes to stopping the illegal distribution of our copyright material."

    Quick! Cover it up! People aren't supposed to know we're rejecting the GOOD shows in favor of more idiocy! God forbid that a television network pander to an intelligent clientele. After all, you're all supposed to slurp up the low cost, low profit, low intelligence, but HIGH MARGIN reality shows! Who wants to worry about actually pleasing customers? Just pander to the stupidity! That's the ticket!

    Gah. And television networks wonder why no one is tuning in anymore. It must be because there isn't enough stupidity. Bring on Big Brother on Survivor Island where the worst singer is voted into fear factor stunts! In Dolby 5.1 no less! That'll bring in the ratings!
    • Who do they intend to take legal action against? The Bittorent server owners? The BT sites? The downloaders?

      Its pretty amazing how knee jerk and shortsighted execs can be.

      • Who do they intend to take legal action against? The Bittorent server owners? The BT sites? The downloaders?

        They take action against the people that offer the content. In the case of BT, that means you get busted for uploading.


    • Quick! Cover it up! People aren't supposed to know we're rejecting the GOOD shows in favor of more idiocy! God forbid that a television network pander to an intelligent clientele. After all, you're all supposed to slurp up the low cost, low profit, low intelligence, but HIGH MARGIN reality shows! Who wants to worry about actually pleasing customers? Just pander to the stupidity! That's the ticket!

      And what does any of that have to do with protection of copyrights? You know, the topic that Hoffman was ac
      • Re:And...? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *
        It was his reaction to the whole thing. Instead of pondering what this sudden influx of a fanbase for a non-existent show means, he jumps straight to the "cover it up through force" method.

        In other words, I'm not really talking about copyrights. Then again, neither is Mr. Hoffman. ;-)
        • Re:And...? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sczimme (603413)

          It was his reaction to the whole thing. Instead of pondering what this sudden influx of a fanbase for a non-existent show means, he jumps straight to the "cover it up through force" method.

          I wouldn't go so far as to call it "force". It might be heavy-handed, but it's a viable and not-entirely-unreasonable legal option at his disposal.

          In other words, I'm not really talking about copyrights. Then again, neither is Mr. Hoffman. ;-)

          Fair enough. :-) Incidentally I fully agreed with your assessment of
      • Re:And...? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196)
        There should be NO protection for works that are never published. This pilot is more like a trade secret than some creative work.

        This should be true in general. Any work that an "owner" is not interested in exploiting for commercial gain should be strictly PD. None of this nonsense about locking up masterpieces in a vault to rot away.
        • Re:And...? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pcidevel (207951)
          I almost modded this insightful, but then I put a little more thought into it.

          What about my journal (think written paper journal), I never intended to exploit it for commercial gain, but I hardly think it should be public domain.. would I even use it if at any moment someone could take it freely and publish it?

          Also, what about my music? I may one day want to exploit it for commercial gain, but mostly I do it just because I enjoy making music. For the most part I've been too self conscious to ever publis
          • Re:And...? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:50PM (#12934069) Homepage
            I'm the creator, shouldn't I have ultimate say in the publication of that work?

            No.

            For example, Kafka wanted his works destroyed when he died. No one respected this, and we're all better off as a result.

            Copyright is granted by the public for the public good, not any specific individual's good. Having works created is good. Having works be in the public domain is equally as good.

            If copyright is the incentive that it takes to get you to create a work, then it might be worthwhile to grant you one. But if you created that work without regard to a copyright, then it'd be foolish to give you a reward; you did it for free. Since a copyright basically provides a potential economic reward, it's authors that are looking for money that deserve copyrights. Authors doing their work for fame, or for art's sake, or whatever, don't need them in order to produce.

            Personally, I think it'd be better to grant a low level of protection to works in progress or not yet published, for a brief period of time, provided that there was a bona fide intent to publish and properly register the work. But most protection should be reserved for works where the author has applied for a copyright, and fulfilled the formalities that go along with that.

            This way we could avoid having people pirate manuscripts, but not grant undue protection. The author would have to seek protection, and thus only the ones that actively wanted it, and were willing to take some minor steps (fill out some forms, pay a filing fee) would get it.
        • by sczimme (603413)

          This should be true in general. Any work that an "owner" is not interested in exploiting for commercial gain should be strictly PD. None of this nonsense about locking up masterpieces in a vault to rot away.

          Scenario:

          1) I create a really neat widget.
          2) I am not interested in releasing the widget.
          3) I am not interested in financial gain.

          And somehow you come to the logical (??) conclusion that I should release the widget into the public domain, because obviously if I don't want to profit from it t
          • Having it be in the public domain doesn't mean that you have to start handing out copies; it just means that you have no copyright.

            It's not an unreasonable position, given that copyright is solely intended to help the public by, among other things, providing an economic incentive to authors to create and publish their works. If copyright isn't encouraging you, then it would be wasteful to give a copyright to you.


        • Jedidiah,

          Consider these other aspects of a TV Pilot. In the real world where we all live, everyone working on a TV pilot is paid a minimum fee with contingency clauses in their contracts that mean these actors, set designers, costumers, directors, makeup artists, etc. will get a cut of the action if a network chooses to buy the show. So it's a big gamble for these people. For an actor, I think the day rate is like $800. And these acting gigs come few and far between. So a lot is riding on this for a lot o
    • Re:More Stupidity! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ghislain_leblanc (450723) <ghisleb@@@me...com> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:24PM (#12933214) Homepage
      You seem to have mixed up your role in this whole thing.

      You are not the customer, you are the product. Advetisers are the customers, they are buying your attention (what's left of it) and the TV networks are selling it.
      • As I understand it, the teenage/young adult market (i.e. The Star Trek market) is one of the most profitable markets in Television. The key with the reality shows is that they're less able to attract those high-profitability markets, but they accept less risk and higher margins. (Which is different from higher profits, BTW.)
      • Re:More Stupidity! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Apreche (239272) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:33PM (#12933321) Homepage Journal
        That's right. That's why intelligent shows don't get produced often. It's because intelligent people aren't influenced as easily by advertising. So advertisers don't want to pay to get your attention. They want the attention of millions of idiots who will buy anything shiny.

        If anyone wants to make a serious show they should just go direct to DVD with some Internet promotion. TV is not the place to go for quality video entertainment.
        • That's why intelligent shows don't get produced often. It's because intelligent people aren't influenced as easily by advertising.

          Oh.

          My.

          God.

          It all makes sense now. I thought intelligent shows were passed on because they were so hard to make and keep intelligent. But you just put it all into perspective. I thought it was mere lazyness and incompetence, but THIS, this is far more insidious.
        • Re:More Stupidity! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SWTP_OS9 (658064)
          Makes sense! The game market have used that concept for over 10 years! Epsode 1 is free but protected. Just like an open source work. Epsode 2 -> X will be released in 2 to 4 weeks. Purchase via web site. eBay or secure link.

          To me the main item is the NET does what Warnners Brothers or one of the studios/network does. But with a lot of hands not in th pie.

          Lets face it. The networks started to die when cable/disk started growing with various content either too small or too much for the networks. And thi
    • Re:More Stupidity! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrchaotica (681592) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:25PM (#12933228)
      Who wants to worry about actually pleasing customers? Just pander to the stupidity! That's the ticket!
      Viewers aren't the customers, they're the product. The networks do care about pleasing their real customers, the advertisers. I would guess that advertisers, in general, prefer stupidity -- it makes it easier to get idiots to buy their products.
      • This is true, but as with any product, you have to make it, and that costs money. Making TV shows to attract the products to watch the commercials is their capital expense.

        Cyncially, it's not entirely unlike a hunter putting out a salt lick. Well, TV viewers don't get shot. They just get shown commercials. I've known people who would say that the deer are getting off easy.

        The upshot (as it were) is that the networks are the middle man, and P2P may represent a way of cutting out the middle man, for TV a
    • Piracy! (Score:5, Funny)

      by sterno (16320) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:36PM (#12933349) Homepage
      Don't you understand? They are losing viewers because of the evil pirates who distribute their hard work for free on the Internet. This allows the terrorists to win. Please think of the children.
    • Re:More Stupidity! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by doormat (63648) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:01PM (#12933615) Homepage Journal
      You also forgot the MASSIVE egos of the people who run these places. Look at shows like Futurama, Family Guy, Firefly, etc. These were done as more or less "independent" projects. Not a lot of intervention on behalf of those running the studio (the execs). They want to justify their existance by saying "look, we help these shows get better, etc". When a show comes along and it is a total hit on its own without any help from the higher-ups, it makes them worry... "If they can make good shows without my help, why am I here?". So they constantly insert themselves into the process, in order to try and make themselves look needed. And sometimes that includes killing off really good shows they have no hand in to prevent the perception problem and to reinforce how much Fox or NBC needs them around.
    • Re:More Stupidity! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chuqmystr (126045)
      Also FTFA:
      "Whether the pilot was picked up or not, it is still the property of Warner Bros. Entertainment and we take the protection of all of our intellectual property seriously," said Craig Hoffman, a company spokesman. "While Warner Bros. Entertainment values feedback from consumers, copyright infringement is not a productive way to try to influence a corporate decision."

      It just goes to show that it's not even about the money so much. Don't get me wrong, they'll still hold you up by your ankles and

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:02PM (#12932944)
    You're watching no ads. I'm not sure you realize how much money advertising brings to the table here.

    Want five more? Come buy the boxed set.

    You mean pay in advance for the boxed set that doesn't exist yet? Yeah, the kind of people hell-bent on pirating shows will do that. Even the ones who claim they'd "pay" for good content (How much? Ten or twenty dollars? Beyond which they'll just go back to BitTorrent again?). And no one's going to finance a project like this, since you've got no proven paying viewership.

    Look, guys: we all realize that P2P has legitimate applications. But these desperate attempts to somehow "prove" that P2P is somehow the most desirable distribution mechanism are getting tiresome. And even in this case, Warner Brothers owns this content (though I'm not even going to touch on the legality of copyright infringement, since so many here already either believe copyright is inherently wrong, or that copyright is okay when its used by projects they approve of, but "wrong" when a corporation uses it).

    Frankly, I'm all for this method of distribution, as I barely watch 'regular' TV anymore.

    Well bully for you.

    What do you watch, then? Shows whose production counts on the advertising revenue associated with the show? No, you don't have to watch the advertising, and yes, you can go to the bathroom during the commercials. But the advertisers are paying to be in front of X number of peoples' eyes. And if that goes away, how does your well-produced show get, well, produced?

    I'm not saying there are NO alternatives; just that it's more than a little hypocritical to completely discount where the money came from to pay for these shows you're downloading.

    Now, if someone who creates and owns the content wants to distribute on P2P and try to drum up interest that way, go for it. But I highly doubt the kind of entitlement crowd that downloads everything for free is going to be willing to pay to support ongoing production of such an operation. Some money? Aboslutely, sure. The kind of money that is ANYWHERE NEAR the kind needed to support the ongoing production of such an operation? Absolutely not.
    • You're watching no ads. I'm not sure you realize how much money advertising brings to the table here.

      There's nothing stopping Internet distribution from including ads. Sure, some people will remove them, but the majority wouldn't bother. There are also other models that can be explored, such as BitTorrent-like streaming where the final file is really not accessable to the user.

      Want five more? Come buy the boxed set.

      This is the "first hit free" model. It's based on the idea that most people aren't going to bother running around trying to find another free hit. They'll just pay for it. There will always be a small group trying to game the system, but they are insignificant.

      Reading the article, my gut feeling is that this is nothing more than a grass-roots effort to get a show into production. Just like the fan-base of FireFly was built through BitTorrent, so will the fan-base of this show be build. I don't think it really has anything to do with the P2P aspect other than the fact that P2P technology was used for distribution. Similar things happened prior to the Internet with leaked tapes, whereupon copies upon copies were made.
      • "This is the "first hit free" model."

        Just because it made the guys at ID Software great thumping wads of cash . . .
    • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:13PM (#12933072)
      Assume just a million people pay 10 bucks a piece for your DVD set of 5 shows (i.e. 1 DVD).
      You are looking at a gross of 10 million dollars. You only pay taxes on the profits. So first take off your costs. Actors- Figure 50k per episode for the Stars and 10k per episode for all bit actors. But they might go for a percentage of the gross. Techs- Figure another 100k per episode for editors, etc.
      Music- Another 100k per episode. Costumes and Sets- 300k one time setup plus 10k per episode- so say another 60k per episode.
      Easily 200k per episode profits after the cost of producing quality dvd's. Take off 50% for the government and you have 500k profits.
      ---
      Part of the reason it is expensive now is that you are paying for a HUGE overhead of hollywood, distributers, and local outlets. All of that expense goes away.
      ---
      Check out "Star Wreck" or "Star Trek the new Voyages" for an idea of what you can do with merely 15 grand- upscale that by about 500 grand and imagine how much better it would be.
      ---
      A lot of junk will be produced- but a lot of good stuff too. Once you build up street cred that you won't rip people off- you produce a "pilot" and put it out. Tell folks "The nut for this is 500,000 viewers at 20 bucks a piece. If we get it- we will produce 5 episodes on DVD for those folks. We'll make another 6 episodes as long as the actors and the audience can agree on a price for more. We'll stop when they can't agree."
      ---
      The cost of making things like this is dropping like a stone. You don't need 150 million dollars to do it if you don't go through hollywood.
      • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:21PM (#12933175)
        Assume just a million people pay 10 bucks a piece

        Just a million?

        Just a million?

        I think you vastly overestimate the number of people you could get on board for something done exclusively in the non-advertising, P2P panacea you envision.

        Even the article [wired.com] used for this supposedly shining example says:

        "Now I have an extra 10,000 hits a week on my website, and I've got to figure out what to do here."

        Rogers, who said he had nothing to do with the leak, has already received 350 e-mails from people praising the show. He said he would like to release the pilot as a DVD.


        Wow, a whole 350 people emailing praise? Holy smokes! And assuming all those people would pay, only $9,996,500 to go! And 10,000 extra hits a week? How do you quantify all this stuff? More realistically, you've got maybe 10,000 people willing to pay $10/show, lowering your gross by a couple orders of magnitude.

        It's easy to lay out a best-case scenario.

        What's hard is for someone to actually execute on it. And, P2P aside, if it were that easy, it would already have been done.

        I'd love to see it succeed, and I'm sure some will. However, none of this justifies any of the rationalizations used for taking things funded by advertising in the meantime.
        • Wow, a whole 350 people emailing praise? Holy smokes! And assuming all those people would pay, only $9,996,500 to go! And 10,000 extra hits a week? How do you quantify all this stuff? More realistically, you've got maybe 10,000 people willing to pay $10/show, lowering your gross by a couple orders of magnitude.

          Without advertising and only found by accidentally running across it on a search. Not many people email with comments after downloading something off of P2P either (it would be admission of guilt).

        • already been done (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ebyrob (165903)
          And, P2P aside, if it were that easy, it would already have been done.

          Web comics, like Sluggy Freelance [sluggy.com] for example, seem to make their authors a decent living based entirely off of merchandising and compilations of free on-line content. So, the question isn't whether money can be made on this kind of open model, just whether it's enough to support movie production as opposed to say comics.

          Basically, this new model requires producers to accept a (possibly) lower gross income per viewer in order to achie
        • Oh, and one more thing:

          "And, P2P aside, if it were that easy, it would already have been done."

          Come on! That is such a nonargument! It's what wildly successfull movies/books heard as an excuse not to be made. Douglas Adams got told 'there is no interest in sci-fi comedy'...when he asked how they knew that, he got told 'because otherwise, someone would have done it before already'. Same goes for Star Wars.

          Just because someone hasn't done it before only means that someone hasn't done it before. If someone
      • by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:28PM (#12933266)
        We'll make another 6 episodes as long as the actors and the audience can agree on a price for more. We'll stop when they can't agree.

        Stephen King tried it. He started a new book and gave the first chapter away for free, putting subsequent chapters up for sale; when enough people bought a chapter he would write & publish the next one (all on-line). It was a dismal failure: the second chapter was bought by few and re-distributed by many; as a result, chapter three was never published. Author and audience couldn't agree on merely chapter 2.
    • You mean pay in advance for the boxed set that doesn't exist yet? Yeah, the kind of people hell-bent on pirating shows will do that. Even the ones who claim they'd "pay" for good content (How much? Ten or twenty dollars? Beyond which they'll just go back to BitTorrent again?). And no one's going to finance a project like this, since you've got no proven paying viewership.

      This is pretty ridiculous, since there's pretty good feedback that there's a lot of demand. Maybe not as many as there are download

  • Two words: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:04PM (#12932976) Homepage Journal
    Viral marketing
  • by schon (31600) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:04PM (#12932977)
    Legal posturing.

    This is *precisely* why Copyright law needs an overhaul. The supposed goal of copyright law is "to promote science and the useful arts".

    How is allowing a company to stop this from seeing the light of day a promotion?

    If you make something, and don't release it, you shouldn't be allowed to stop someone else from distributing it for no charge.
    • How is allowing a company to stop this from seeing the light of day a promotion?

      Because if they didn't have the right to stop this, they wouldn't have paid to create it in the first place.

      If you make something, and don't release it, you shouldn't be allowed to stop someone else from distributing it for no charge.

      I could agree with that after a certain length of time, but not immediately. It could be a whole new business model... Get funding from a studio for a pilot, make something good that they


    • "If you make something, and don't release it, you shouldn't be allowed to stop someone else from distributing it for no charge."

      *shrugs* I kind of like living in a world where people can't force me to share something I own. We all learned in kindergarten how important sharing is, but I don't feel the government needs to be involved to enforce it. A TV show is neither science nor a useful art. It is entertainment. If entertainment falls under "useful art" then anything qualifies as useful, as everythin
      • Except you down "own" a work of creativity.

        The "ownership" an artificial construct created by the government meant to achieve some high minded purpose that justifies such meddling.

        The absurdity of the underlying meddling is why file sharing networks are such a pervasive "problem".
  • Heh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:05PM (#12932978) Journal
    Frankly, I'm all for this method of distribution, as I barely watch 'regular' TV anymore.

    Only on slashdot is stealing* encouraged and applauded when it involves Television, music, and movie copyrights, but God forbid anybody violates the GPL.

    *Yes i know it's not technically stealing.

    • Re:Heh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by yotto (590067)
      *Yes i know it's not technically stealing.

      I can't believe you would murder* someone for copyright infringement.

      *Yes, I know it's not technecally murder.
    • There's a number of distinction between the two, one being that you can pretty much only violate the GPL for profit. Downloading Global Frequency doesn't make me any money.

      So don't try to oversimplify the discussion. Leave that shit to 24 hr news channels.

      • you can pretty much only violate the GPL for profit

        1) You can profit from GPL creations.
        2) You can violate the GPL without profiting, ie. by using GPL'd code in your free-as-in-beer application and not releasing the source.

        • 2) You can violate the GPL without profiting, ie. by using GPL'd code in your free-as-in-beer application and not releasing the source.

          You got me there, except I can't figure out why someone would do that unless they intended to profit from it in some way. (eg. Software is free but only usable with a specific product). But you're right it is possible.

    • Frankly, I'm all for this method of distribution, as I barely watch 'regular' TV anymore.

      Only on slashdot is stealing* encouraged and applauded when it involves Television, music, and movie copyrights, but God forbid anybody violates the GPL.

      *Yes i know it's not technically stealing.


      Good Lord, your statement is so full of holes it must either be a troll or a sign of a one-digit IQ.

      First, distributing a copy of a pilot that is destined for the dustbin isn't even the moral equivelent of jaywalking, muc
    • by Jjeff1 (636051)
      For the same reason people still remember Robin Hood and his legend of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor*

      *whatever the actual truth about Robin Hood, this is what people remember.
    • by m50d (797211)
      Distributing TV/music/movies in violation of copyright = making more free copies of things. Violating the GPL = stopping people making more free copies of things. Supporting the former but not the latter is only inconsistent if you're under the misapprehension that I give a fuck about the law.
    • Re:Heh (Score:3, Interesting)

      by stinerman (812158)
      Yes, just like I'm "stealing" /. because I use AdBlock.

      I'll repeat the copyleft infringement v. copyright infringment argument again.

      Infringment of the GPL/BSD licenses is a worse offense because you are taking something open and making it closed, whereas straight copyright infringment is taking something closed and making it open.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I hate it when things accidentally get uploaded onto a computer and then leaked out on bit torrent completely accidentally.
    No sireee bob, no humans were involved in this "leak"...it was all accidental
  • But that didn't stop someone from leaking the pilot on the internet. The file eventually found its way into the BitTorrent network.
    Over the last couple of weeks, enough people have downloaded and viewed the pilot online to give producers hope that TV executives might take a second look at the show.
    Advertising:
    One way to save.
    But legal standing?
    Really quite grave
    Wherein lies SCOTUS, and ol'
    Burma Shave
  • by EvilStein (414640) <spam&pbp,net> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:07PM (#12933004) Homepage
    How many really cool TV show pilots are sitting on a shelf collecting dust, never to be seen by the public?

    Why? Corporate interests? Copyrights? It's sad how copyright law lets something be shoved under the carpet like that.

    I'd like to see media companies do something cool: if the product is no longer generating revenue, turn it loose on the web. Maybe that's just a dream, because they're hoping TV Land will pay royalties to air old TV shows, so since there's a *potential* revenue stream, the shows sit on the shelf.

    Hey, here's another idea. Put the pilots on the web, and have a contest to see which one folks like best. *gasp* Imagine that! Having the *viewing public* help you pick out what shows to work on next! Oh, the humanity!
    • Reminds me of "Heat Vision and Jack". It was an unproduced pilot created and directed by Ben Stiller and starring Jack Black as an ex-astronaut who is super smart under sunlight and his talking motorcycle Heat Vision voiced by Owen Wilson.

      If not for Bittorrent, I'd never have seen it. I bet most people haven't even heard of it. It's funny because everyone involved is really famous now.. It's like an artifact from an alternate reality.
      • I thought Heat Vision and Jack was aired on the tv fun house stuff. Ben Stiller even came back and did the whole master piece theatre intro.

        Yeah it was fairly funny, but it didn't seem like a pilot as it was just a bit out there.
    • Makes you wonder just how many are out there right now.

      I can count about 6 unaired shows sitting here in the office. That is of course what we get as a broadcast affialite and those shows made the "probably going to air" cut. However, we don't get things like Global Frequency which were nixed off the bat.

      I can't say many of them catch my eye though, but the pilot to Fearless wasn't bad.
  • Torrent (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:07PM (#12933010)
    Torrent of mentioned show [thepiratebay.org].
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <[jhummel] [at] [johnhummel.net]> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:07PM (#12933014) Homepage
    I think guy now "gets it" - he doesn't *need* the studios anymore. Get some funding, put together a pilot and a few episodes, and then do it himself. He could sell DVDs. He could do it via hostageware (until X amount of money or DVDs are sold, we won't make any more). He could make it, get it popular, then have a major network pick it up. Tell people that if he can raise X amount of money he can film a pilot episode (and if they're someone such as the producer/director of "Firefly" or "Battlestar Gallactica", maybe the fans would do it - look how much people raised to try and save "Star Trek").

    Makes you wonder if Podcasting might not take this route. I once listened to the "Catholic Insider" (not because I'm Catholic, mind you, but I liked his reporting on the death on the last Pope), and he had a joke Podcast about podcasting in the future - where people all around the world online edit the video, set up production, then distribute it online with the ads built in (or people pay for certain individual content).

    It's rather optimistic, and I'm not saying the major networks will "go away", but if gentlemen such as this guy can go "Woah - wait - now I have an option on how to promote my work", then there's a chance that it will bring a new level of pressure onto the networks. Which would mean more competition. And that is always good for the customer (I don't like using the word "consumer" for myself, sorry).

    Of course, this is all just my opinion. I could be totally wrong. But I hope not.
    • Get some funding, put together a pilot and a few episodes, and then do it himself.

      gosh, it all sounds so simple when you put it like that

      I wonder wht no-one ever thought of it before

      oh yeah, the "get some funding" part

    • by Ironsides (739422) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:18PM (#12933139) Homepage Journal
      How about we take a cue from the home theatre market? Direct to Video productions? Screw the movie theatres and the major networks, just release the episodes directly to DVD and make money that way.
    • >I think guy now "gets it" - he doesn't *need* the studios anymore. Get
      >some funding, put together a pilot and a few episodes, and then do it
      >himself.

      Where will he get funding without a studio?

    • by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:11PM (#12933699) Journal
      Put ads in the file..provide it via bittorrent. And put a blub somewhere (either in the show) or on the website that by getting the torrent from the show's offical tracker the producers can prove x amount of downloads of the shows to advertizers.

      If people want the show to continue, they'll get their copy from the producers. If not, then advertizers will not pay and the show will die.
  • Amen, brotha!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 75th Trombone (581309) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:08PM (#12933029) Homepage Journal

    It's mind boggling to me that things like this don't put big, green, opaque dollar signs in the eyes of studio execs everywhere.

    Even without effective DRM, studios could be raking in the cash RIGHT NOW via any number of online distribution methods. Yes, there would still be piracy, but it would convert at least SOME of it into dollars. RIGHT NOW!! If they want to keep pursuing DRM then fine, but they're losing money right now. What more incentive do they need??

    • It's mind boggling to me that things like this don't put big, green, opaque dollar signs in the eyes of studio execs everywhere.

      Actually I'm becoming less suprised every single time. TV execs are the least imaginative people in the world. These are people's who job it is to homogenize everything that's put in front of them to make it palatable and sellable to the most people possible.

      Has anyone else realized that the new trend in TV seems to be crime dramas with female leads who are "profilers" of some k

  • Frankly, I'm all for this method of distribution, as I barely watch 'regular' TV anymore.

    The only two channels I watch are the Discovery channel, and the Cartoon Network (Adult Swim). There is a definite need for more intelligent programming, other than the garbage that American Idol, The Crapelor, or whatever shi'ite that the big networks decide are "good" for the masses.

    Then again, the morons that watch this crap raise the ratings, and the networks follow the new trends. Maybe this leads back to educ
    • The only two channels I watch are...

      Why does every single thread about anything on TV bring out the guys who want to brag about how little TV they watch and how most of it is crap.

      Face it guys...we're old enough to make up our own minds. You don't like TV and don't watch it. Fine. To each his own. It doesn't make it special, and if you really aren't interested in TV, why do you bother reading these threads and cluttering them up with useless "I'm better than you because I'm too smart for TV" posts?
  • The Long Tail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Andrew Cady (115471) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:15PM (#12933096)
    I hope we've all read The Long Tail [wired.com] by now.

    This is the end of advertising-sponsored media -- not Tivo or illegal torrent downloading. Advertising-based media, which always must seek the largest audience possible for every program, simply cannot compete once broadcast distribution is no longer a scarce commodity. The larger the target audience, the lower the quality.

    The full implications of the long tail are astounding, once you really work them out. Imagine the end of huge movie stars, of "hits", of fame in entirety -- it will simply not be profitable -- imagine what that would mean, in any medium! How will we decide what to watch, listen to, or read when there is nobody who can make money deciding for us?

  • The world is big place. Why should we be forced to eat the vanilla the big networks force on us , when a lot of us prefer ?
    If the demand is there, then sell the boxed set. And yes i do belive that leaking is a very savy way of building interest. Its just my experiance with my own hobby here (read my url). I have a couple hundred dollars in recording.. and couple thousand in equipment, and am not niave enough to think that fame and fortune are in my future.
    Soon enough big networks will die if they don't
  • by aredubya74 (266988) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:19PM (#12933153)
    So long as there are broadcast television networks and channels that don't make a dime off cable subscription fees, the subject is accurate. Execs don't particularly care about cool, fun or quality. They care that the programs they run bring eyeballs to the screen that will allow them to maintain (and raise) advertising rates. It's how they make virtually all of their revenue.

    Now, what's changed in recent years is the number of cable networks and channels getting in on the act. Ad revenue matters to them too, but they throw on much riskier programming that can be resold through retail channels. Their smaller quantities of free eyeballs ("expanded basic" cable or satellite subscribers, not over-the-air or nearly-free basic cable) demands that they provide niche value to the channel lineups, and demands they produce programming that can be sold. Comedy Central is a perfect example of this - South Park, Chappelle's Show and Reno 911 would not have gotten a chance elsewhere. On CC, they made money for the channel through ad revenue, and sold tons of DVDs.

    The production houses are the wildcard in all this (Warner Bros, Paramount, NewsCorp). They're now directly affiliated with broadcast media conglomerates themselves, but for years, they sold to ABC, NBC and CBS. Now they can pitch to those 3, along with their "vanity" broadcast network, as well as to their vanity cable station (FX, TNT, USA and the like). With so many broadcast outlets, the big dollars don't come with being picked up. They come from syndication and retail resale. As such, those production house (like the one from this article) owe it to themselves to get quality shows in front of viewers, no matter what it takes to get it there.
  • "Want five more? Come buy the boxed set."

    What happens when the contents of the boxed set finds its way to the P2P networks? Past actions dictate that thisis the most likely outcome and people will claim they want to make sure they like the other five episodes before they shell out money for the boxed set.

  • IMO, this is how things would work if copyright didn't exist. eg. you create a work and release it to the public. Then you ask for people to fund your next work. Information that hasn't been created yet has intrinsic value that can be bartered for.

    It's like contract programming. You get paid for creating information, not owning it.

    -metric
  • by ausoleil (322752) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:22PM (#12933190) Homepage
    Those in charge of distribution of programs need to finally realize that either they distribute their shows and profit, or face the simple fact that they will be shared on P2P nets and distributed outside of their profit channels. The simple fact is that electronic distribution is not going to go away, no matter how many laws are erected to stop it.

    That does not mean that I am saying that stealing is right, or that *is* a right, clearly, from a legal, moral and ethical standpoint it is not. However, common people are becoming common electronic thieves simply because that is the only way to satisfy demand. Given the illusory "anonymity" of the internet, it is all too easy to do, and right now, the odds are favoring them as opposed to Hollywood when it comes to facing the consequences of violating the copyright holders' rights.

    That all said, it's also my take that people, given the choice, would pay a *reasonable* fee to legally download television shows and do more or less with them what they did or do with videotapes. However, for some reason, Hollywood cannot seem to grasp this, or at the very least, cannot grasp how to do loosen their grasp on their content in such a way to make a subscription based P2P net possible.

    My suggestion: allow people to subscribe to virtual channels, as they do with satellite or cable now. Allow them to download the shows, to share them on legal networks and pay a fee that is comparable to what they pay for cable now. That would be a real on-demand system, one where the infrastructure of the network is paid for by the subscribers themselves. Other than a substantial investment in seed servers and a first uplink, Hollywood would have to do little else than pay credit card processors and accountants.

    To enable protection, they could sell smartcards similar to what Dish and DirectTV use now. Yes, I know that they have been hacked in the past, but nowadays, they are relatively secure, in as much as the average guy will not bother even trying.

    Then, collect cash.
  • by farrellj (563) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:22PM (#12933197) Homepage Journal
    So, someone in the TV industry clues in to what Microsoft and a few others have know for a long time...Windows and other programs like Word, Autocad, etc are as popular as they are now not by quality, but by the fact that they are freely copied and thus everyone, even poor people learn them, and if they ever are in a situation where they can buy it, they do. Piracy thus creates a vast pre-made audience for a product, be it software, music, books or now TV shows. For all we really know, this release of the show could actually be a test of back-channel marketing. To sell a show, you need to know how popular it is, and only then can you sell commercials for it.

    In today's 500+ channel universe, getting "eyeballs" can be hard for a new show on TV...but on the Internet, it's a good chance if you get even a small part of one percent, you will get more viewers than the average new show on network TV. As various groups track P2P transfers, you can get a more accurage accounting of viewership than you can with a random sampling of TV viewers such as Neilson does.

    All in all, P2P distribution seems to be a more economical way to judge the possible success of a new show.

    ttyl
    Farrell
  • by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro@gma i l . c om> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:23PM (#12933209)

    After "Doctor Who" debuted/returned triumphantly back to British television and the SciFi Network here in America continuted to pass on the show, I wrote a personal letter to TiVo CEO Michael Ramsey (a Scotsman) advocating that TiVo make an offer to BBC Worldwide to make the series available as a download to broadband enabled TiVo subscribers that might be interested. I figured that most broadband enabled subscribers would also be viewers with scifi leanings, and it would be a success and would generate buzz.

    While it might have been costly short term wise, I asserted that TiVo would be at the forefront of a potentially profitable new television wave. Charging production companies/studios to make available pilot episodes to TiVo subscribers to create buzz for certain properties. It would be a way to circumvent the networks saying "no" to shows that might otherwise be successes.

    To this day, I haven't heard one thing back from TiVo about this. I think my idea had merits, and obviously an idea whose time has come.

    To this day, no American broadcaster or cable network have picked up the rights to the new "Doctor Who" series, leaving potential American fans to *acquiring* the show through less-than-legal methods until an official DVD release in the States happens...which won't until the series actually is televised in America first.

  • I've watched the pilot. Clever, but the first half _sucks_. Uses pretty much every cliche in the book.

    About halfway in, though, it really starts to shine, and my wife (who came in at that point) mentioned that she'd like to see more episodes of it.
    • by TrentC (11023) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @04:02PM (#12934822) Homepage

      I've watched the pilot. Clever, but the first half _sucks_. Uses pretty much every cliche in the book.

      Clichés are clichés for a reason. They work because they meet the viewers' expectations.

      I assume you're talking about the setup for the show, where we get the "what is the Global Frequency" talk, the introduction of the "new guy" into the world of the series, etc.

      I'm curious how you would handle the following:

      1. Introducing your principal cast of characters
      2. Introducing the viewer to the premise of the show, e.g. the Global Frequency is a borderline-outlaw network of specialists and operatives that tackle Things Man Was Not Meant To Know
      3. Establishing the plot of the story for the pilot
      4. Establishing the elements that viewers can expect from the show: a rotating cast of characters, weird science, "black ops" action, and the Global Frequency effect

      without ending up with either the pilot we got or having something like this [wikipedia.org] at the beginning of the show?

      By the way, this wasn't the final pilot; the GF ringtone was only a placeholder, and the music wasn't finished either. It was a version that was shopped around to networks, which would have been finished had they been picked up. John Rogers [blogspot.com], the producer, said he would've reshot elements of the pilot they been picked up, particulaly the opening scene in the alley.

      Jay (=

  • I don't remember the last time I watched anything on any big-3 TV network. The last thing I ever watched on broadcast TV is the slow, withering death of "Enterprise", and that was only with my Tivo's help.

    Broadcast TV is completely unwatchable these days. You're wasting a third of your time having your intelligence insulted by all the ads. It's not just the sheer amount of ads drowning out the real show you're trying to watch. My impression -- from the snippets I catch here and there -- is that they're
  • I wonder what the numbers would be to make if feasible for a producer to jump the network ship. Take Firefly for example, suppose it costs 1 Million dollars to produce an episode, therefore the producer would have to get 1 Million people to pay $1 per episode to break even, or more likely 2 million people to make it worth their while. Would it be possible to get 2 million people to pay $24 up front to subscribe to a season?

    I might if it was a show I really liked and I'm guessing that a lot of fans of cance
  • This could be a great thing. Rather then having a bunch of bobbing heads in a corporate courtroom decide what should be on TV, let those they are trying to cater to decide.

    Start a monthly program. Put pilots up for download (will probably be DRMed; I'm sure many on Slashdot would have have a hissy fit, but I'd be fine with it.) Then have the people who download them fill out a general questionaire. Offer the service free to a limited amount of people, and allow others to buy their way in if they desire. Pe
  • do what i did - just make a movie, put it on the net, let people enjoy it. If someone wants to hire you for your talent and abilities, they will. That's what basically has happened to me.

    My boss saw my editing abilities when it got around that I do video junk for the kids at church, and now, instead of doing requirements validation and system engineering paper studies, i now sit behind a G5 with Final Cut Studio and Motion...and i even get paid to do it!

    Hey - it beats working.

    btw: have fun watching my
  • Anything that removes power from the hands of studio execs is good!


    I'm tired of having the views of these jerks imposed on the public. If they'd had their way there wouldn't have been a Star Trek... in fact, they wanted them to do it without "the guy with the ears... he looks demonic, it'll scare the women".


    And don't get me started on Nielsen ratings... these people have no taste, and they get to decide what I can or cannot watch? Insane!

  • Although it's not p2p, the Family Guy DVD popularity was another example of how a network misgauged the audience interest in a show, but open market forces showed a strong audience prompting them to bring the show back.

    Another example but P2P related was how P2P piracy (*ahem* online independent distribution) helped BattleStar Galactica become a hit [mindjack.com]

    "they" really don't see the opportunities that exist and gonna keep squeezing their existing business model till it's dry.

    e.
  • by hexed_2050 (841538) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:45PM (#12933452)
    "Now I have an extra 10,000 hits a week on my website, and I've got to figure out what to do here."

    hits != unique vistors
    Each unique visitor can easily generate 100 hits or more depending on how the website is organized.

    10,000 / 100 = 100 visitors, and alot of that may be non-unique vistors (such as return visitors,) or even extra Googlebot, Yahoo, or MSN activity.

    Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that the P2P community can bring life to a show that the corporate world sent to the trash.. power to the people and all that stuff.. but lets not get overly excited. 10,000 hits extra a week is a marginal amount of activity considering the amount of people actually surfing the Internet at a given time.

  • Ensign Ro (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MynockGuano (164259) <`moc.liamg' `ta' ... pihCevitcarepyh'> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:47PM (#12933470)
    The leader of Global Frequency is the enigmatic Miranda Zero, played by actress Michelle Forbes. (Forbes is fast building a tech-geek pedigree: She's also the voice of Dr. Judith Mossman in the video game Half Life 2).

    Funniest line in the story. Forbes has been a tech-geek actress for a long time. Perhaps some may remember her recurring role playing the compelling Ensign Ro Laren [startrek.com] in Star Trek: The Next Generation?
  • by xXBondsXx (895786) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:48PM (#12933481)
    When Family Guy premiered on Fox, it immediately got close to no attention. After a short 4 seasons, the show was terminated. THEN the internet distribution of Family Guy began: Winamp Online TV (saltwaterchimp.com anyone?), torrents, and p2p networks began showing various episodes. The popularity grew and grew as people started buying the DVD sets and renting them from video stores. Fox, in one of their smartest moves, LISTENED to this great attention it was getting, labeled it a late-bloomer, and put it back on the air. Internet distribution actually helped a show get back on the air and help the network get more advertising, etc. who says it can't be done?
  • by slashzero (524681) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:15PM (#12933739)
    If the TV world would wise up and start distributing their shows with the ads via bittorrent the world would be a better place. Embrace new technology don't fear it. It's exactly what iTunes is doing. They made it easier to buy the music than to steal it. I was "podcasting" tvshows off of btefnet.org when it was up and I wouldn't of minded if the ads were in there. I'm accustommed to watching ads on TV why not downloaded TV shows?
  • Michelle Forbes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by snuf23 (182335) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @03:36PM (#12934529)
    "Miranda Zero, played by actress Michelle Forbes. (Forbes is fast building a tech-geek pedigree: She's also the voice of Dr. Judith Mossman in the video game Half Life 2)."

    I guess having appeared as Ensign Ro in multiple Star Trek the Next Generation episodes isn't worth mention as far her geek-pedigree goes?

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