How Not To Gain Fans: Legend of the Seeker On iTunes

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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.

10 thoughts on “How Not To Gain Fans: Legend of the Seeker On iTunes”

  1. I’m behind you all the way on this one. When I got a Facebook message that I could download the show in iTunes, I got all excited becasue at the moment I do not have access to even basic TV. But i will NOT pay $3 for a show I’m not sure I will like, and the preview they did really didn’t leve me knowing whether I will be a fan or not.

    This is riDONKculous.

  2. I have to agree entirely. I missed the two hour premiere and searched for it online. I came up empty. And then promptly forgot about it. If they had made the show available online so I could see it, I would have made more of an effort to watch following episodes. As it stands now, I’ll have to wait for DVD and then rent it.

  3. My inability to find the show period is much less confusing now that I know it’s syndicated (I didn’t even know tv shows could work that way). I don’t have access to tv right now, so I watch everything online. My first choice is to watch shows on the network websites, but I’ll watch the shows on youtube or somewhere else if they’re not available. I also searched everywhere for pilot of LotS (if only to mock how inaccuate it is) and had no success.

    I refuse to pay for individual tv episodes in general since I’m not a re-watcher. They are loosing a large amount of people by not making the episodes (or at least the stinking PILOT) available online.

  4. While I see where you’re coming from, in regard to this being a new show that needs the publicity, but it’s not like iTunes is in the habit of giving away shows for free.  Even shows you can watch for free, such as Supernatural (which you can watch on The CW website) costs if you buy it from iTunes.

    It’s less about recouping costs of the production, because I doubt they’ll see a penny of the money generated, and more about how business is business.  They have something you want, so they expect you to pay for it.

    You don’t expect to get a DVD for free, so how is this different.

     

     

  5. Expecting a free download is a bit much.  However, they are making a huge mistake not having it stream free (with commercials) on Hulu.  Crusoe, Fringe, Sanctuary, and many other new and continuing series do this to improve awareness and revenue.   And because the show is serial rather than episodic, missing the first show would make it hard to start watching in the middle.

    Having seen it, I can only describe is as the first section of Wizards First Rule, if it had been rewritten by Christopher Paolini, with good art direction and cinematography, but bad CGI and far to many matrix style extreme slow motion scenes.  I’ll keep watching it but I’m sucker for epic fantasy.

  6. @Cynthia: You don’t expect to get a DVD for free, so how is this different.

    True, but I’m expected to buy a DVD, with a single episode on it, a few days after each episode premier. I’ll buy DVDs only if I really, really like a show. Otherwise it’s a rental.

    What I meant by ‘free’ is what Dave T. said: something like Hulu or the braodcast networks that have commercials play during the show. It’s worth it to me to ‘pay’ 2-3 minutes of time to ‘watch’ the commercials, than to shell out cash for an episode I don’t know if I’m going to like. At least with the commercial supported avenue, I don’t feel cheated out of money. A minute of time? I’m not going to complain over that.

  7. It’s the iTunes bit that really bugs me. I mean, I can survive charging for the episodes. I’m not keen on it, but it’s survivable, you know? But in an age where I’ve got really, really user friendly sites like Hulu.com that I can watch something through, or even the Netflix Watch Instantly system (my wife and I use both a fair bit for TV shows, movies, documentaries…) I’m too spoiled to deal with iTunes.

    To be fair, though, I’ve never liked iTunes. I used it to sync up my iPod for awhile, and that was it. Every single other thing was done through something else. I suppose if you wear iTunes like a second skin, you might not have any objections.

    So I agree: not the best way to build an audience…

  8. Of course, I think my BIGGEST problem here is that it’s Terry Goodkind gibber. Honestly. Urg. I own far too many of his books for how awful they are (Wizards First Rule…a fun book. Second book…less so. And from there…Oh Gods…)

  9. If you went and saw a movie for 2 hours, you’d pay more per hour than the 2 measely dollars you’d pay for LOS..  AND, I am willing to wager that you find LOS worth much more than the last movie you saw at the theatres.-

    I personally would pay $100 for the entire season in a heartbeat.  Why?  Because such quality shows are so uncommon that I have altogether abandoned TV.  Now, there’s at least some hope with LOS.

    If you want the LOS to continue, you better pay your money to the sponsors by purchasing their products and you better pay for the episodes you missed.  Or get a Tivo.  Whatever.

    Because if you don’t flow money into the production line of LOS, it very well may disappear.

    These amazing products that we love aren’t without cost, my friend.

    I personally will be going a step further.  This weekend, I’ll be locating all the sponsors of LOS and purchasing one of their products and then faxing them the UPC code with a nice “Thank you” message and telling them that I’ll be happy to purchase only their products as long as they support such quality programs such as LOS.  That’s the way to keep your favorite programs on the air.  There is no greater truth than that.  It’s the advertisers that pay for your favorite shows.  So, make them understand that their advertising dollars are well spent.  ;-)

    Sounds like you love the show as much as I do.  Let’s help keep it going.  One thing you can do is the thing I’ll be doing in the last paragraph.  Who knows… Maybe they’ll send me a coupon.  ;-)

    All the best,

    C

     

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