Michael, I'm On iTunes
December 6, 2005 5:38 AM   Subscribe

iTunes Gets NBC Shows. And not just this season's: like a page out of Infinite Jest, iTunes and NBC are serving up classic NBC programs, including Knight Rider and Hitchcock Presents. (note: sorry - first link goes to iTunes Music Store -- no press releases available yet to link to.)
posted by eustacescrubb (32 comments total)
I'm looking forward to the content distribution getting unlocked from iTunes. I just don't like the program or the payment model.

I'd say Pepsi Blue but that doesn't seem to apply to the Apple.

Other media news:
Rhapsody.com has an api out to allow blogger to link to songs and has a real cheap subscription service for music (in the U.S. only)
posted by srboisvert at 6:05 AM on December 6, 2005

Not to mention episodes of Conan and Leno, too. Also Sci Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica and USA Network's Monk.

Personally, I'm worried about all of that Hasselhoff confined in such a small space. His chest hair alone could destroy the XServes where those Knight Rider episodes reside.
posted by emelenjr at 6:06 AM on December 6, 2005

Wow. DiggFilter.
posted by TuffAustin at 6:10 AM on December 6, 2005

I am soooo excited about Knight Rider. Now if we could only get Airwolf my digital iLife would be complete.

BTW - there is no way I am paying $2 for Conan's monologue or his interview with the gaseous weiner. Some of those clips are barely more than 5 minutes.
posted by jmgorman at 6:27 AM on December 6, 2005

TuffAustin is awesome. He reads [insert popular website].
posted by Plutor at 6:27 AM on December 6, 2005

.. and AOL's launching their video service with Kung Fu, Falcon Crest, and Welcome Back Kotter. Do any of the original actors see any of this retro-revenue or is it all going straight to the parent company?
posted by bhance at 6:41 AM on December 6, 2005

/Re-reads Infinite Jest for analysis of what happens when people have too many choices.
posted by iamck at 6:44 AM on December 6, 2005

Of course if you just want to read Knight Rider fan fiction in Hungarian, that's still completely free.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:49 AM on December 6, 2005

eustace is one of the original mods from iPodLounge, I think he probably has better sources that Digg for info like this.
posted by riffola at 6:56 AM on December 6, 2005

Wake me up when they get The Equalizer.
posted by NationalKato at 7:10 AM on December 6, 2005

Or Grand.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:13 AM on December 6, 2005

I won't be happy until I can download the episode of Candlepins for Cash that my mom won $6.00 on back in 1976.
posted by bondcliff at 7:36 AM on December 6, 2005

Bah. I'm still waiting for the Law & Order cortical implant. All the seasons of the original series (and successive spin-offs) in a single wetware chip.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:43 AM on December 6, 2005

Can I get this on my itunes phone?
posted by dial-tone at 8:08 AM on December 6, 2005

Wow. DiggFilter.

better sources that Digg for info like this.

Until just now, I did not even know there was a "Digg."

And I do miss iPodlounge, but having a kid made it hard to be a forums mod anymore.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:39 AM on December 6, 2005

Snooze. It's a good short-term idea for revenue, but it won't last. I would think you'll soon be able to transfer shows from your DVR to portable devices. Well, you already can, I suppose, but maybe you will be able to from the most popular devices soon. I predict the subscription model stays strong. These sales just transfer revenue from DVD sales.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:48 AM on December 6, 2005

I predict the subscription model stays strong.

They'll need both; I have no interest in "subscribing." If I had no choice other than subscribing I would either not use any service or I'd use the one whose content was easiest to capture and save.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:52 AM on December 6, 2005

Here's your press release, eustacescrubb.
posted by Rothko at 9:04 AM on December 6, 2005

Did anyone notes that they have Sci-Fi's Battlestar Galactica on now, too! Joy! Also, Monk and The Office. Of course, they also have Disney's That's So Raven...

Does anyone know if the quality of the videos has improved? What's it like?
posted by redbeard at 9:10 AM on December 6, 2005

I finally bit and purchased an episode of a show I'm not willing to admit that I watch off and on and I gotta say, the quality just isn't where I'd like it to be to enjoy on anything but an iPod. Moreover, iTunes as a video app leaves muuuuuch to be desired, IMHO. And this from an apple fan boy (me) so interpret it as you will.
posted by incongruity at 9:47 AM on December 6, 2005

Here's your press release, eustacescrubb.

Don't those Cupertino jokers know we want our press releases at 8 AM Eastern Standard Time?
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:58 AM on December 6, 2005

Arrested Development had about 6 million viewers.

There's no way it cost six million an episode to produce.

The actors and everyone behind the scenes could make a nice little living wage, selling their show via torrents for about a buck an episode.

I want to pay for my entertainment.

I will not do so by subjecting myself to advertising and my local cable monopoly. If they want my dollar, it's on my terms.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:26 AM on December 6, 2005

Sweet! Old episodes of "Adam 12" are available too.

TV shows from my childhood are fun to watch sometimes.
posted by drstein at 10:32 AM on December 6, 2005

Five_Fresh_Fish, Arrested Development costs 1.5 million to produce an episode. Even if a show like that could make that much money for each episode, how would new shows be financed under your idea?
posted by drezdn at 12:09 PM on December 6, 2005

They have Knight Ridder on iTunes? Cool! Now I can listen to articles from The Wichita Eagle while I jog!
posted by ericbop at 12:11 PM on December 6, 2005

If they don't sell SNL skits ala carte, they are dumb.
posted by escorter at 1:50 PM on December 6, 2005

APPLE Press Release

posted by jbelkin at 7:58 PM on December 6, 2005

It must be said: WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU WANT TO WATCH ANYTHING ON A TEENY TINY SCREEN. Now it's true that I was one of the early proponents of television being available on car radios (circa 1975; I was 12), but as an adult, I just don't get this....
posted by ParisParamus at 9:05 PM on December 6, 2005

Well, ParisParamus, lemme tell you.

1)You're one of thousands of people in the SF Bay Area that are stuck on one of the area transit systems for 1+ hours per day.

2)You're stuck in a boring job with highly restricted internet access, but you can sneak in your iPod.

... the list goes on. The newer iPods are pretty popular, and according to Apple, the iTunes Music Store is selling a whole lot of TV shows.
The screen may be tiny, but the quality is decent.
posted by drstein at 9:17 PM on December 6, 2005

You know what, if I was given an iPod, I might try it. It just doesn't seem like a killer app. OK. I don't know what to think...
posted by ParisParamus at 9:34 PM on December 6, 2005

i hadn't thought of 'adam 12' in years, and i watched that when i was a kid. wow, that and 'andy griffith'...the good old days when cops were just normal ethical people dealing with everyday stuff, as opposed to the modern tormented ex-alcohol/drug/gambling addict, ex-stripper/prostitute/dealer, divorced with kids, always walking the ethical line, chasing child-molesting serial nun-killer/rapists who get off on a technicality but get shot on the court steps by the stepsister who has suffered in silence but just isn't going to take it lying down anymore, all the while putting up with a boss who has no faith in your instincts although in one season you have solved more murders than most cops do in a lifetime.

i'd think of buying a copy, but no way it's going to be such a poor-quality format for this price (one season for $37; that's too much even for DVD!) i don't see the big deal about the current video ipod stuff, though i can see it heading in cool directions, and i tend not to be an early adopter (too many first-generation kinks the consumers are doomed to pay for--and apple has a history with that)...and yeah, said better before this: it won't be long til we see something better and cheaper.
posted by troybob at 12:03 AM on December 7, 2005

Do any of the original actors see any of this retro-revenue or is it all going straight to the parent company?

Bhance, you have just put your finger on a major labor issue. SAG/AFTRA, DGA, and WGA (the unions for actors, directors, and writers, respectively) all have agreements with the networks, so that when a show is rebroadcast, the actors, writers, and directors get "residuals"--a small percentage of the money made by the rebroadcast.

Of course, no agreement can cover every possible future circumstance, so when a union negotiates with the networks, both sides try to insert language that will work to their advantage when the next big technology rolls around. Then when the next technology DOES come, both sides try to interpret the contract in whatever way is most favorable to them.

An example of how this can work badly for creative people: back in 1985, the WGA and the studios reached an agreement that studios could subtract the production costs of a VHS tape from the sale price in calculating their profits (and, therefore, in calculating how much they owed the writer of the movie being sold.) As you might guess, the marginal cost of pressing a DVD in 2005 is a tiny fraction of the cost of producing a VHS tape in 1985--but because of the way the contract was worded, studios are still allowed to subtract the cost of VHS tapes in 1985 from their profits on DVDs in 2005. Result: the writer gets screwed.

Anyway, to bring this back to the issue at hand: when Apple made the announcement that it was selling TV shows online, the various creative trade unions issued a press release (PDF) saying, basically, "How nice. Don't forget to pay us." So far, that's been the only public move on either side's part to deal with this issue, but I imagine that over the next few months, we'll see the following dialogue:

UNIONS: Under this part of our agreement, you have to pay our members X% of all Apple iTunes sales, where X is enough to allow a now-unemployed writer to put her son through college.
NETWORKS: Ah, but under this part of our agreement--which is the truly relevant part--we only have to pay Y%, where Y is enough to allow a now-unemployed writer to put a down payment on a can of used beans.

Then the networks and unions will either reach an agreement, or take each other to court.

Either way, the actors, writers, and directors will get something. It's just a question of how fair their share will be.

(Disclosure: I'm a WGA member so I'm undoubtedly biased. You'd probably get a slightly different answer from a studio exec.)
posted by yankeefog at 7:57 AM on December 7, 2005

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