Thursday, March 08, 2007
The Networks see providing TV shows online as a good way to provide fans of their programming with more freedom to watch the shows at different times while still retaining control over the advertising. In this sense, online TV programming does a good job of giving fans an alternative to using digital video players to take control of when they watch TV. The use of digital video recorders is something of a problem for television networks because digital video recorders give TV viewers the option of skipping over commercial breaks in order to save time while watching the TV shows and get to the point of the show faster without the interruptions. This makes the advertising on the TV shows far less effective and essentially means that people who are watching TV this way are getting the programming for free.
Providing video content online gives the TV networks more control over whether or not people watch the commercials by building things into the programming that keep viewers from simply fast forwarding through the commercials. Of course this works out much better for the networks and the advertisers while still giving the viewers different options as far as when they watch the TV shows. While watching TV online obviously isn't as convenient as watching TV with the help of a digital video recorded, it does allow fans to watch TV more spontaneously without having to plan ahead to program their digital video recorders.
There are a couple of problems when it comes to the widespread use of online TV though. One is that different networks make their programs available online at different times which make it difficult for viewers to know when to access the video. Another problem is that there still aren't really that many people watching video online. The lack of interest in online TV shows has made if more difficult for the networks to make the service cost effective. This in turn, leads to the other problem of not having as much of a selection of programming available online as you would through a TV service provider.
Of course this service is in its infancy and is bound to get better in the future.