SF Universe let’s us know that the new syndicated TV show, Legend of the Seeker will make each episode available for download, on iTunes, the Monday after each airing. You might think that, since LoS isn’t on any particular network but is instead syndicated, iTunes would be a great way to make each episode available, for free, for fans and would be fans of the show, much like the broadcast networks and several cable channels do.
You’d be wrong.
Apparently, the way to win new fans, and help generate goodwill amongst fans who missed an episode or two. is to charge money for each episode: $2 for SD, $3 for HD with season passes going for $35 and $50 respectively. Now, in an era where big item syndicated shows on TV are rarer than calm, rational white collar families with no issues on Springer, I would assume the producers of the show would be doing all they can to get their show in front of as many eyes as possible, as easily as possible. Now, iTunes certainly has many eyes and, once installed, it’s easy to use. However, not everyone has iTunes. Forcing people to find it, download it and install it sounds like a lot of fuss to go through, and then you have to pay to see an episode. If you don’t like it, you’re still out the money and the time it took to install and watch. At least with episodes online, for free, while you may be out the time if you don’t like a show, at least it didn’t take more than just watching an episode, which you could quit in the middle of, and you’re certainly not out any money.
I understand wanting to recoup the production costs of a show. To me, you do this be growing your audience as much as possible, to ensure better ratings, which means more advertising revenue. Asking people to do this through the ‘for charge’ iTunes doesn’t accomplish this. Especially considering the easy with which one can access the Bittorrent networks and find an HD version of LotS for free, the very next day after an airing. At the very least, making the latest episode available for free while charging for the rest makes more sense than this.
This may be the best show ever, but chances are it isn’t. I don’t want to have to pay find out the hard way.