I’ve been reading Charlaine Harris‘ Southern Vampire novels over the past year and found them reasonably entertaining. Since I got rid of cable, I cannot watch HBO’s new show, True Blood, based on these novels. The other night while I was at Blockbuster I found that they had the first episode of True Blood available as a free rental. Naturally I took it — that way I’d know whether it was really worth the bother of watching the series once it become available to me (in a legitimate way).
Well, I got around to watching it tonight and I loved it! Subsequently, I found that it is also available for free on iTunes — at least I didn’t pay for the rental. I’m pretty resistant to iTunes TV episode prices, but I’d probably pay for this show, along with Showtime’s Weeds and Californication, if they were made available as they aired or shortly thereafter, rather than once the DVD was released (at that point, I’ll just get it from Blockbuster Online or Netflix).
Am I unique in being unsatisfied by the pricing and delivery models currently being offered for TV shows? Paying as much as or more than a DVD set for iTunes downloads when the DVD is already out seems silly. Likewise, paying $2 or $3 (HD) for a show I can watch for free from one of the broadcast networks makes little sense to me. Admittedly, I do have to pay for my TiVo service, but that amortizes out to way less per show.
Perhaps the problem is that there’s no room in the pricing model for renting TV episodes. I haven’t bought into the idea of owning TV shows, so that portion of the value isn’t really a factor for me. I think I might be willing to pay $1 per episode to just rent it, but more than that just doesn’t seem worthwhile to me, at least not for broadcast shows — I’d probably be willing to pay more for shows from premium stations. As I already observed, I’d likely fork over the $2 (maybe even $3 for HD) for certain shows.
Something else that would make the whole situation more palatable would be if I could go ahead and pay the prices that are currently being charged but in doing so I would also received the DVD (or Blu-Ray for HD prices) version once it was released.
HBO and Showtime just need to let me subscribe via the Internet.