Over lunch, at the bar and over the cubicle wall

By Published on .

Better jump on the timeshifting TV train, because it's pulling out of the station.
When we’re all sitting around regaling our grandchildren with our tales of how the whole neighborhood all watched the same shows at the same time because you had to wait until a TV broadcaster decided when the show would air, be sure to note the significance of November, 2005. Or, as it will come to be known, Timeshifting TV Month.

Because this is shaping up to be the moment the industry saw the future. NBC Universal kicked off last week with its plan to sell video on demand primetime shows -- commercial free -- through DirecTV for 99 cents. Mere hours after that crossed the wires, CBS was trumpeting its own plan with Comcast, but they’ll leave in all the nationally run ads. (AdAge.com QwikFIND AAR10Z) The primetime VOD move lets the two one-up ABC’s deal to sell iPod videos of “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” for $1.99. (AdAge.com QwikFIND AAR02E)

Two weeks after the video iPod debuted, more than one million videos were downloaded. Both Hollywood and sports leagues are trying to figure out how to get their clips onto iPods, and the Daytime Emmy Awards said they will create an Emmy for wireless platforms that include cellphones, computers, video iPods or other hand-held devices. Viacom's Nickelodeon and Time Warner's The Cartoon Network are thinking about the next generation, and plan to offer half-hour programs for $2.99 each, to be played on Hasbro's VuGo portable media player.

AOL, meanwhile, will let us get our fill of classic TV shows whenever we want with its launch of In2TV. Over 300 series from Warner Bros., including 'Wonder Woman', 'F Troop', and 'Chico and The Man.' Two minutes of ads will run within each show. It's some of the first long-form TV programming on the Web, and will be watched to see if consumers actually will spend a half hour watching their computer screen.

Conversation starter: Will consumers want their VOD primetime commercial free (the NBC model)? Or will they pay a VOD bill and fast forward, er, watch the commercials CBS leaves in?

Talking point: The average household is willing to pay $100 a year to watch TV on their schedule, a CBS study found. David Poltrack, CBS exec VP-research and planning, sees a potential $5 billion market, based on an estimate of 50 million homes with VOD access. But respondents were almost evenly split between those who would pay $1 for a show without ads and those who would pay 50 cents for shows with commercials. (AdAge.com QwikFIND AAR11O)

Most Popular
In this article: