The Daily Show and Piracy
We watch The Daily Show every day. It is actually one of the very few shows we watch regularly, and so instead of spending tens of dollars a month on cable television, we download our television off the Internet. It is a little less convenient because I have to download the shows manually instead of setting up a DVR, and the video quality is often inconsistent. On the other hand, the people who upload the shows edit the commercials out beforehand, and I can copy the files to a laptop to watch on the plane.
Wired magazine publishes an interview with Daily Show anchor Jon Stewart and producer Ben Karlin:
Wired: [The Daily Show is] among the most popular shows traded online. People download and watch the whole thing, every day. Were you guys aware of that?
Karlin: Not only am I not aware of that, I don’t want to be aware of that.
Wired: Well, don’t go shutting it down.
Stewart: We’re not going to shut it down – we don’t even know what it is. I’m having enough trouble just getting porn.
Stewart: But we’re not on a traditional network: We’re on the goofy, juvenile-delinquent network to begin with. We get an opportunity to produce this stuff because they make enough money selling beer that it’s worth their while to do it. I mean, we know that’s the game. I’m not suggesting we’re going to beam it out to the heavens, man, and whoever gets it, great. If they’re not making their money, we ain’t doing our show.
Maybe I can send the crew some bucks to keep them in the money? We did buy their book . . .
Jon goes on to say something that I entirely agree with:
Stewart: The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom. That’s all it is. All those media companies say, “We’re going to make a killing here.” You won’t because it’s still only as good as the content.
And while it is true that there’s money to be made in online content, the fact is that one web site is nearly as easily accessed as the next, and peoples’ loyalty follow good content.
As far as the reinvention of the television business, Jon leaves that to others. “We make the doughnuts; we don’t drive the truck. I have no idea.” I would be watching to see what comes of current.tv or Google Video more closely if most of my computer time weren’t at work on a Unix terminal. It is probably just as well, because TV rots your brain.