Week 3: An Open Letter to TNT’s Horrible Online Episode Policy
Dear TNT network,
When I dropped my cable subscription in favor of silly things like food and shelter, I thought I would be able to count on network online viewing sites like TNT.tv to provide access to those rare programs I actually find worthwhile. One such program is Lcverage, that charming heist-with-a-twist series led by the absolutely adorable Timothy Hutton (though I don’t know how fair it is to continue referring to him as an Academy Award-winning actor as his sole receipt of said award was, like, 30 years ago, but that’s more a question for your marketing team). This show is simply awesome, and under different circumstances I would thank you for keeping it in production.
HOWEVER…when I go to watch good, clean, un-pirated episodes of Leverage via your website, what should I discover? All episodes, from Season One to the most recent summer finale, are LOCKED.
Upon further investigation, I ALSO discover that the only way to unlock them is to enter the account number of my existing television subscription. Which of course begs the question: if I HAD a television subscription, WHY would I be looking for this show on the Internet?
And, just for the sake of argument, let’s say I did have one. In my area, the only valid cable option is Charter Communcations. All good, right? Well… according to the FAQs, “this feature is available through participating television providers only.” And guess who isn’t participating?
If you said Charter, go buy yourself a drink. Tell your wife I said it’s okay.
I understand you want to keep your propriety entertainment franchises out of the hands of those evil-minded, get-something-for-nothing media pirates. Who can blame you? But as more people realize there really is never anything good on television and cable begins to go the way of the dinosaur and Dark Blue, people (aka YOUR customers) will probably still want to watch their favorite shows. And where will they go to do that?
You see, people are pretty lazy when it comes to in-home entertainment. They don’t pirate because they want to–they do it out of necessity. If they can watch the episodes on your site, they will. And you get to beat them over the head with Hyundai ads until your little corporate heart’s content. Win win.
But if they can’t get what they need from you, they WILL get it elsewhere. It might be pixelated and untrustworthy, but it’s there. For free. You know this is inevitable, and locking your content isn’t going to fix it. All you’re doing is creating more media pirates, stumbling around the Internet back alleys looking for their fix.
How DO you sleep at night?