A Suggestion for Shareware-ing TV and Movies

I’ve got a handful of password-protected PDF files. I can share those files with anyone, back them up on as many computers or discs as I’d like. If I want to actually read them, I need the password. The password cost me a $10 or $50 or what have you.

I’d like to see this model applied to TV shows and movies. If I want to watch my favorite TV shows for free – then I have to wait for a new episode each week and have it interrupted by commercials. If I’d rather watch on back-to-back episodes on my schedule, here’s $50 for the digital files and a password to open them. I’m far more comfortable paying for .movs than I am DVDs.

As a quick aside, this is what Doug Kaye talks about for IT Conversations in his conversation with Moira Gunn.

What about crackers writing patches to break this loose DRM? Yes, that’ll happen as it has and as it always will. They don’t really care about your stuff anyway, they’re just looking for something to break. If you’re real worried about that, just makes the files available for download and on BitTorrent and put a ‘Pay $50 to remove this message’ over the video. I’m confident a quick search at MacUpdate.com or VersionTracker.com will shake out more than a handful of software developers this model is working very well for.

TV and movie producers – if you’d still like a place in my daily life, I’m going to need your stuff in a format that fits my life. I’m not interested in filling my closets with DVDs or chaining myself to the sofa to purge the TiVo recordings. I’d much rather play your latest offering in the few moments I have in waiting rooms.

I’m weaning myself off public radio for this exact reason and I like them.

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