Google is trying to get YouTube to start selling episodes of TV shows. I know for most of us that notion doesn't come as a surprise, as most digital video services - iTunes, Amazon - already have episodes of TV that you can download for a price. Even Hulu is considering offering priced content; it just seems to be way the TV industry is adapting to the Digital Age.
However, what is surprising about the Google/YouTube venture is the approach the are reportedly taking: charging users to stream episodes of their favorite TV shows.
Read that again: charging users to STREAM episodes of their favorite TV shows.
STREAM, not DOWNLOAD. Insanity.
And the price they're allegedly thinking about setting sounds equally ridiculous: $1.99 per episode.
$1.99. A Whopper Jr. and some 'nuggets at Burger King. To stream last night's episode of House. Madness.
I've always thought that Google was a really smart company - what they've done cleaning up and organizing YouTube since taking over the site has been nothing short of amazing (I love YouTube these days.) At the risk of offending my own massive ego, I'm going to refuse to believe Google would make such a misstep and assume that they've done some kind of market research, lab test, or insane experimentation to discern that something like this could actually work.
According to Media Memo (which is breaking this rumor), both TV and YouTube execs HAVE done the research and what they've BOTH found is that people already pay $1.99 to download a TV episode and watch it once - so they'll probably pay the same just to stream an episode once.
Makes a certain bit of sense, I'll admit, but to somebody like me, I pay $1.99 and I want to be able to do whatever the hell I want with my episode! I purchased a copy of it of that episode - not the right to see it. My episode of Lost is not some cheap peep show!
$1.99 to watch me for an hour...
Anyway, negotiations between GooTube and the TV execs is ongoing. I'm sure we'll hear something develop soon. In the meantime, enjoy free (legal) internet TV while you can, because it will soon be a thing of the past...
What do you make of all this?
Source: Media Memo