Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Same old content, new higher price

As much as I liked The Man From U.N.C.L.E as a kid, I don't recall ever lusting to see any particular episode more than once. In fact, we'd usually scorn the summer reruns as being beneath our dignity. Same with Bonanza, or Mannix, or Petticoat Junction. You'd fight for a place in front of the Zenith when they first aired; months later those same shows were of interest only to old farts and invalids who couldn't be bothered to turn off the TV after watching Hollywood Squares.

So it's interesting to note the success of various networks selling people stuff they've already seen, and, in the case of Showtime and HBO, already paid for. Apple made waves today by leaking word that it plans to sell HBO shows on iTunes -- for a higher price than its other dog-eared reruns, like The Office. The news is supposed to be the concept of variable pricing, but to me the real shocker is how many millions of people will pony up again and again for the same content.

Is there really anyone out there who has not seen every Sex and The City episode seven times? Anyone who can't recite Sopranos dialog from sheer rote learning? Is it worth another three or four bucks an episode to have these retreads on your hard drive?

Never mind. I know the answer. It's just that every time I visit a library or Barnes & Noble, I see thousands of books I haven't read. All new content; buy a title once and it's yours. Period. Pick up a book, people. In these uncertain economic times, it's a great way to economize.

4 comments:

maxine said...

I saw one episode of Sex and the City, once. I have never seen The Sopranos (though on recommendation of various deranged bloggers, I do own the boxed set of the first series, so what does that make me?)
I think I am not your typical target demographic, whatever it does make me!

Dave Knadler said...

Hi Maxine. Call me naive, but I like to think of the British as more erudite and discriminating than your average American. At least the ones I know, which is you. A man must have his stereotypes!

SEP said...

Like Maxine, I've seen one episode of "Sex and the City," once. I've never seen "The Sopranos" either but fortunately I missed that recommendation from the deranged bloggers, so I don't own a boxed set. (I do, however, own an original Suzanne Somers Thighmaster. Never used, still in the box. Make me an offer.) I'm not British, but I do have two cats -- and hundreds of videotapes of must-see TV shows taped over the course of 20 years that I FULLY INTEND to watch -- someday.
-- Sarah P.

Dave Knadler said...

Hold on to that Thighmaster, Sarah. It'll be worth a lot of money someday.

OK, I'm willing to admit my generalization was a bit too sweeping. But if bloggers can't make unfounded assertions, what good are they?