John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Just Because We Acknowledge Viewers Want Control Doesn't Mean We're Going to Give Them Any

clockwork.jpgBoy, NBC Universal really has those broadcast TV blinders bolted on tight, doesn’t it? Just weeks after yanking its programs from Apple’s iTunes store, the company announced plans for a download service of its own, one that combines the convenience of the Internet with that mainstay of pre-DVR broadcast television, the unskippable advertisement. The service is called NBC Direct and it will offer free episodes from a selection of the network’s more popular shows for display with NBC’s proprietary Windows-only software.

“With the creation of this new service, we are acknowledging that now, more than ever, viewers want to be in control of how, when and where they consume their favorite entertainment,” said Vivi Zigler, executive vice president of NBC Digital Entertainment.

Ironic then, that commercials will be embedded in the programs and viewers will not be able to skip through them. Even more so that downloaded programs expire within a week of their original on-air date–not a week after they’re first downloaded. “Kind of like ‘Mission: Impossible,’ ” NBC Universal Television Group president Jeff Gaspin told the New York Times, “only I don’t think there would be any explosion and smoke.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work