ABC shows on iTunes causing waves in TV business | iLounge News


ABC shows on iTunes causing waves in TV business

Apple may have “helped open a Pandora’s box for the media business” by making television shows available for download on iTunes. The Wall Street Journal reports [paid sub. req.] that Apple and its first TV partner, Walt Disney/ABC, have “taken a potentially significant step in the dismantling of a decades-old system for distributing TV programming to viewers, a move that could have profound long-term consequences for broadcasters, cable systems and satellite companies if more users download shows instead of watching them the old-fashioned way.”

Apple’s deal with Disney is “already causing waves in the TV business,” with Leon Long, the president of the association representing ABC’s affiliate stations, expressing his concern to ABC executives. “It is both disappointing and unsettling that ABC would embark on a new—and competitive—network program distribution partnership without the fundamental courtesy of consultation” with its affiliates, Long said in a letter to the president of the ABC network. Meanwhile, the unions that represent TV show writers, producers, directors and actors issued a joint statement last week saying, “We look forward to a dialogue that ensures our members are properly compensated for this exploitation of their work.”

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Well if they have opened a Pandora’s box, it was one that needed to be opened urgently.

As for the unions, I think that a lot of writers/actors/directors will be very happy to see their work reaching the digital audience legally and in a paid-for fashion.

Well done Apple and Disney and I look forward very much to seeing not only more shows on board (Like Boston Legal and Grey’s Anatomy) but also more networks.

The future of TV is finally here, and the TV companies don’t like it - what a surprise.

Posted by ttfnRob on October 17, 2005 at 4:13 AM (CDT)


Well, the TV companies actually love it, it’s just that some got left out of the initial round of publicity and now they have to ‘act’ upset about it.  Apple was smart to come out of the gate with the two hottest shows on TV (‘Lost’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’).  I wonder how well ‘Night Stalker’ is selling in comparison…not too good I bet.

The Achilles Heel of this whole TV via iTunes/iPod thing is that the quality sucks and the price is too high for you to watch all your shows that way.  Tivo is still much better.

The true future of TV is video-on-demand from your cable company (or other provider).

Posted by Talking Madness on October 17, 2005 at 5:14 AM (CDT)


“We look forward to a dialogue that ensures our members are properly compensated for this exploitation of their work.

Posted by stadidas on October 17, 2005 at 6:16 AM (CDT)


ttfnRob: I, too, would like to see other shows like Boston Legal join the line-up. I’m not sure, however, that the show will ever be in the iTMS. (Although, I’d welcome the chance to be wrong—I rarely if ever am, but this is a show I greatly enjoy.) I say what I say about this show because it is coming from David E. Kelley, creator and producer of both Ally McBeal and The Practice among others, and he’s never released them to even DVD—well, he did with Ally McBeal over in Europe, but over here he just has a “Best Of” collection that isn’t worth a s h i t.

Talking Madness: I am inclined to agree with you on this. The future is with cable or satellite providers. Hopefully they use the H.264 compression scheme, though.

stadidas: Give any executive enough power over anything (especially shows that they didn’t create but are in charge of paying for) and 9 times out of 10 they will turn into greedy c o c k s u c k ers. It’s a sad fact of life. Disney/ABC is doing something revolutionary and everyone else IS jealous of it. They wish they had been the first one to take that “Leap of Faith,” so that they could be viewed as “foward-thinking,” and “pioneering.” They’re not. They obviously lacked the b a l l s. Having said that, I hope CBS joins next. CSI (all three shows of it), Numb3rs, Criminal Minds (is it on CBS or ABC?) Cold Case Files—all awesome shows. Same with cable channel A&E. I would love for them to start selling episodes of American Justice, Cold Case Files, and City Confidential. Then again, I’d also like the ability to back the videos up like I can back up my songs. Hey I paid for it either way, I should be able to protect my investment.

Posted by Jack on October 17, 2005 at 7:45 AM (CDT)


““We look forward to a dialogue that ensures our members are properly compensated for this exploitation of their work.

Posted by bipto on October 17, 2005 at 8:09 AM (CDT)


people love to watch the shows first, so if itunes have te show the next day, there will be no problem for the broadcast companys satelite…

and next day people who couldnt se the show or want to see it again or yust have it, will by it for a rasonable price

Posted by Thomas on October 17, 2005 at 8:57 AM (CDT)


bipto: It doesn’t matter who said it. The other executives (if they haven’t gotten around to complaining yet) will start b i t c h ing and moaning soon enough.

Posted by Jack on October 17, 2005 at 8:58 AM (CDT)


I agree with Bipto that the writers and other unions have a right to be p!ssed because they’ve been getting screwed by the TV studios for years and now have a whole battle to fight. Just because the studios will be making more money off of this deal doesn’t necessarily mean that the creative folks behind the content will actually see any of this new revenue.

A separate is issue is the affiliates (i.e. your local ABC station, etc.) I can understand how they’d feel pretty panicky right now, but they had to see something like this coming.

Posted by Hrothgar on October 17, 2005 at 9:54 AM (CDT)


Okay. So what about the revenue from the different seasons on DVD for the creative teams behind these shows?

Posted by Jack on October 17, 2005 at 10:11 AM (CDT)


Seems like an end-run around the fair-use/bitorrent issue to me…

If I’ve paid my cable bill and my TiVo subscription fee, then downloading a copy of an episode of network television should fall under “fair-use” right?  The networks certainly don’t want to contest this ‘fact’ in court because of the publicity that free downloading would gain.

On the other hand, the networks desperately want to increase their revenues (and make up some of the ground they’ve been losing to the cable channels for more than a decade).

I just don’t understand why the other networks wouldn’t jump on the band wagon as quickly as possible in an effort to convince the sheep… er, I mean public that they should start paying twice for a low-resolution copy of content that they’ve already paid for.

Gotta admit that it’s a great scam, and will probably work pretty well for them…

Posted by IDSmoker on October 17, 2005 at 10:20 AM (CDT)


quality sucks?

on a regular tube television, these shows look perfect.  however, i cannot say anything about watching them on an hd capable television.

Posted by schiano on October 17, 2005 at 11:22 AM (CDT)


“on a regular tube television, these shows look perfect.”

I have read reviews that there are a lot of compression artifacts when watching the iTunes/iPod video on anything larger than the iPod.

Posted by skw on October 17, 2005 at 11:52 AM (CDT)


Soon enough every show will be available at the iTMS.  Every show!

Who’s gonna pass up the opportunity to simply compress their content and maybe, just maybe make a few extra bucks off it?

Posted by Talking Madness on October 17, 2005 at 3:03 PM (CDT)


Who’s gonna pass up the opportunity to simply compress their content and maybe, just maybe make a few extra bucks off it?


Likely no one. Any possible revenue stream will not be ignored. However there’s going to be a lot of dealing going on as to how much all parties are going to be “compensated” for the priviledge of having TV episodes on iTMS. Everyone “knows” ABC did this first because Disney wants Pixar distribution badly. But it sounds like Disney/ABC didn’t talk to any of the these shows’ producers, production staff, actors, etc., about iTMS sales, or consider the financial ramifications for going behind their back in doing the episode sales deal with Apple.

Posted by flatline response on October 17, 2005 at 5:25 PM (CDT)


Paying a Cable Bill and a TiVo subscription does not mean you “own” the shows…The cable bill merely pays the infrastructure necessary to bring those shows to you (after all, you could go off-air and tivo them there) and the TiVo subscription pays for the data into your tivo for when the show is on.

The shows are produced and paid for by the advertising.  Apple is right in charging for ad-free content, and I think the price is fair.  But by getting the content free and then saying “you own it” is not correct.

Posted by Jon on October 20, 2005 at 1:46 PM (CDT)

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