Wednesday, October 13, 2004

THE FARSCAPE' FACTOR: Will programmers, viewers become one and the same?

THE FARSCAPE' FACTOR: Will programmers, viewers become one and the same?

Imagine this television scenario: You sit down in front of the tube and pull up a Google-style database that lets you search a library of 40,000 different movies and television episodes -- some new, some old. It's what you want to watch, when you want to watch it, for a small fee -- or maybe free.

Who's the wild-eyed dreamer proposing that kind of George Jetson-esque future? None other than Brian Roberts, CEO of cable giant Comcast.

"As servers get more sophisticated and broadband TV spreads, viewers will have an almost unlimited number of shows they can watch," according to Philip Swann, CEO of the consulting firm TV Predictions and author of "Television Dot Com: The Future of Interactive Television."

On-demand television, a version of which Comcast currently offers in limited areas, may in fact become a farm team of sorts for the cable company.

"If there's strong niche interest in a show, there's the potential of doing an on-demand version of it, depending on the cost of production," Swann says. "Let's say there's an anime [Japanese animation] show that doesn't have network numbers, but 100,000 people would watch it 24 hours a day if they could. Put that on on-demand, and you'll make money."

Oh yeah!!!!
I'm ready Comcast. Get your %&!*@#% together. What is taking cable companies to get with this? I want to be able to subscribe to only channels that I want for a small fee. I wan't quality and cheap. You are behind and people are supplementing. You are losing money.

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