Amazon: Unbox me, please!

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I’m a big fan of the TV shows Battlestar Galactica and Heroes. Unfortunately, as I live in Norway, we get new episodes of these shows a long time after they have aired in the US. For instance, while season 3 of Battlestar Galactica concluded in the States in March, we are still getting Season 2 over here.

Of course, in this day and age, watching TV shows on a TV set as they are being broadcast is a bit old-fashioned. However, if you want to view them the legal way, it seems to be the only option here in Norway – and that means waiting for ages before new episodes get here.

Amazon sells movies and TV shows online through their Unbox service. It is reasonably priced, but encumbered with annoying DRM and works only on Windows. Still – if it was possible for me to get shows there, I would give it a go. Problem is, they sell only to US consumers. Why? I guess selling worldwide online would cannibalize sales of the shows to channels in other parts of the world – particularly as long as they broadcast stuff so late. Why isn’t stuff broadcast simulatenously worldwide? I have no idea. Doesn’t make sense to me.

In any event, those sales are already being threatened big time by free downloads of TV shows. I would say that 75-80% of people my age watch far more TV by downloading it than by following a broadcast. The reasons are obvious – you can view it when you want to, there are no ads, and if you want to view the episode now and not in six months, it is your only option.

Hopefully the TV companies are beginning to realize what’s happening. I’m willing to pay something like 2-4$ for an episode of Battlestar Galactica provided it is fresh, the technical quality good and the DRM absent. We’re talking cash cow keen to be milked here – right now their high-quality content is being given away to lots of consumers who are willing to pay for it if given the opportunity.


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