Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Amazon Will Get New CBS Stephen King Series While It’s Still on the Air

under the domeOn June 24, CBS starts running “Under the Dome,” a 13-episode miniseries based on a Stephen King novel, produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. And on June 28, Amazon Prime customers can begin watching the show online for free.

It’s no longer news when CBS or any big TV player licenses their stuff to subscription video companies like Amazon or Netflix. But this one does have a twist. It’s one of the few times subscription video customers can watch a show “in-season” — that is, they can see it online while it’s still running on TV.

CBS in particular has been conservative about keeping its shows offline for a long time. Frequently, it won’t license its stuff until the show is off the air, period.

The difference this time is that “Under the Dome” is a one-off summertime miniseries, and presumably CBS assumes that it will have limited value in reruns or syndication. So it’s willing to move things up quite a bit.

And even then it is careful to make sure that it maximizes its value for the network before it goes digital: The TV guys get advertising credit for anyone who watches their shows within the first three days after they air. Amazon won’t get the shows until that window closes.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik