Disney will soon offer shows like
Desperate Housewives for free online, the AP reports.
The shows will be available the morning after they air, and will be hosted in a format allowing users to go back and watch an entire series through. Disney claim to be using clever technology to stop users fast forwarding through commercials, which fund the content. Disney did not say whether users would be able to save content to disk for watching later.
Lost, like many other shows, is currently available for purchase and download on the iTunes Music store. However, this move marks what is probably the conclusion the studios would have reached in a year or so time, had online piracy not been so high.
Not locked into long term deals, video providers have been able to hop between services to test out different models- note CBS and Google Video. Users are un-happy paying effectively three times over for online content - their TV bills, watching adverts on live TV, and then paying iTunes to download it. Content producers like Disney are worried about the rise in 'television' piracy, and don't want to see their business heading down the slope the music industry saw in 2003 (and still sees). The move is a sensible start, and to be commended; we just need to wait and see how long it takes other companies to get on board. $30 for a DVD and download copy with serious DRM indicates they still don't get the point.