markofmayhemWhy not now?PremiumReviews:
|reply to majortom1029 |
It depends, as always, the devil is in the details...
As long as Hulu is an alternative to "didn't see it" instead of "didn't watch/record it on my local affiliate when it aired", then yes, the advertising is an increase in revenue. If you watch Hulu INSTEAD of the local affiliate, then Hulu is a loss in revenue. For now, we'll see how much longer these networks use the affiliate distribution model...
Show off that hardware: join Team Discovery and Team Helix
But who needs local affiliates anyway?
I HATE local affiliates for the most part, particularly when they interrupt the network programming you want to see for some local bulletin you couldn't case less about (usually because it's for some other place than where you actually live), or splash big blocky graphics on the screen (or worse yet, put the network content in a small frame so they can display school closings until the middle of the day), or pre-empt a network or syndicated program you usually watch to bring you a special on a new addition at a local hospital, or maybe some olde phart preacher that paid for the time. I hate them because they take beautiful HD programming off the satellite and compress the crap out of it so it looks horrible, or the take the standard def version of a network so they can squeeze three or four programs onto one channel (and make them all look horrible).
There is only one thing that local affiliates do semi-well, and that is local news for the (usually major) city in which they are licensed. If you live outside the city limits you are lucky to get 30 seconds of news that applies to you. But there is no reason they could not just record that three or four times a day and put it on a video stream (many stations already put their local news online).
There are only three things that services like Boxee, Hulu, etc. don't do just as well as the local stations. One is video quality (compared to a station that doesn't compress everything as much as possible), and the online feeds keep bringing the quality up. One is live feeds (where was the coverage of the recent miner's rescue in real-time? Had to go to CNN's site in a web browser for that), and one is local news. The reason the latter is probably not up on Boxee, etc. is probably because every news station has their own format for putting their news online. I'll bet that as Boxee and similar programs/devices get more popular, they will come up with some standard method for content providers to feed content to them, and the local news stations will figure out how to use it (with local commercials included, of course). Also, there is the potential for more competition in local news, because others (such as newspapers) would be able to get in the game, and also news providers could have separate feeds for different cities (so even if your city doesn't have a TV station, you might actually get a few minutes of truly local news).
Also there should be an easy way to display text and mixed text/graphic content. For example, remember the aforementioned school closings? Why can't I create a custom feed, and with the click of a button, see a display of schools close to my zip code with their open/closed status? If I'm a parent, I only need to see the school closing information once per day, not all morning long. As for weather and other urgent alerts, I'm sure some government bureaucrat is hard at work trying to figure out some way to force those on us whether we want them or not, and eventually video devices that tie into the Internet will probably be required to pass those along (at least they'll probably pause the program before displaying the alert, unlike the local broadcasters that just walk all over whatever you're trying to watch).
Local affiliates were a necessary and useful thing... back in the 1950's and 1960's. Now they are about as useful as a candlestick telephone set. Networks are not much better; about the only thing they add nowadays is promotion of new shows so you know they are out there. There is no reason whatsoever that new series could not be released entirely online (skipping both the networks and the local affiliates), but the only problem today is that you probably would not find out about them except through word of mouth or some type of recommendation from a friend. Most of these software packages and set-top boxes are in SERIOUS need of an easy to use program guide, and program recommendation service (maybe something like Pandora, but for video clips?).