I'm not sure how this falls under debates and discourse, but since we already have several threads here regarding TV shows, I thought I would bring this up:
In2TV is a joint-service offered by AOL and Warner Bros. that enables people to download television shows over the internet, free of charge.
The service was launched in March 2006. The downloadable shows are complete and uncut, but include about 2 minutes of ads per episode. In2TV episodes can be viewed in fullscreen as well as in the new AOL Hi-Q video format. The service was integrated with AOL Video in December of 2006.
The main appeal of the service is that it makes available numerous old shows which are rarely, if ever, aired on broadcast television. The main downsides of the service are that the selection of shows is largely limited to those owned by Warner Bros. Since early 2007 the in2tv platform has been moved to the Adobe Flash streaming media platform for normal browsing, however it still supports Windows Media Video DRM wrapped content at a high bitrate.
Shows featured on In2TV
The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.
Adventures of Superman
Batman: The Animated Series
Bless This House
The Ben Stiller Show
Change of Heart
Chico and the Man
Eight is Enough
The George Carlin Show
Hangin' With Mr. Cooper
Head of the Class
House of Wax
The Jamie Foxx Show
Joey (TV series)
La Femme Nikita
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Looney Tunes / Merrie Melodies shorts
New Adventures of Batman
The New Dick Van Dyke Show
New York Daze
Our Gang shorts
The People's Court
Pinky and the Brain
The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
The Real Gilligan's Island
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show
Scarecrow & Mrs. King
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
Spenser: For Hire
V: The Series
Wait Till Your Father Gets Home
Wanda At Large
Welcome Back, Kotter
I only recently discovered this service, but man, am I glad that it exists. It's a great place for finding older, more obscure TV shows. Although Brisco County Jr. recently came out on DVD, it wasn't always available, and it's great to be able to watch classic shows like "Head of the Class" again. I only wish someone told me about this service sooner. Apparently, they change which episodes they show on a regular basis, so you have to keep tuning in just to check. I'm not sure if there's any sort of system to make sure that all the episodes get cycled through or not. The ads are also completely reasonable, a lot less than what you'd fine on real TV. While it might be annoying on "iFilm," at least here, you know that everything you watch is going to be professionally produced, and hopefully to your liking.
Anyway, this brings up several points to discuss:
1) Right now, one of the biggest cockblocks to getting TV shows released to DVD are music rights. Shows like Alley McBeal can't even get released in the US, because the music rights here are so stringent. Other shows have to use substituted music, which is a problem if the music wasn't on a separate track, or if the song choice was strongly tied into theme. This is one of the challenges for shows like "WKRP" and the Wonder Years. But how do the music rights apply to streaming content? Can we expect newer, more reasonable contracts?
2) Right now, there's a lot of campaigns to get your favorite shows to DVD, or back into syndication. Unfortunately, DVD's require a lot of production and marketing, and syndication these days tends to have a bias towards a small handful of TV shows. Streaming content makes for a convenient way for producers to simply convert their media cheaply and efficiently, without having to worry about selling millions of units, or getting millions of viewers. So can we expect to see a shift from petitions to getting show X on DVD, to petitions getting show X online?
3) The music industry has been trying to push the subscription model for years, and it's failed. But that's because people still had the option of buying a hard copy CD, and they saw no reason why they should be compelled to relinquish control over their media for the sake of a new type of service. For a lot of older TV shows, there's no option to buy a hard copy version. Could a subscription service work here?
4) One thing that's really surprising is how few viewers a lot of these shows are getting, after being around for over a year. Most episodes only have a few dozen views, and I haven't found any that've had more than a few hundred. In terms of advertising revenue, I doubt they're making very much. Is this service doomed? Is there really no interest? Or does it just need more content and better advertising?