Here’s an interesting column on Ta-nehisi Coates’ blog where he talks about paying $1.99 per Mad Men episode on Hulu.
I think the problem in this thinking is the notion that people are going to Hulu because they don’t want to pay for TV. That’s part of it, but it’s a simplification. Again, speaking for myself, it’s not that I don’t want to pay for TV, it’s that I don’t want to pay for cable news recycling the same story, or Stuart Scott yelling “Boo-yah!” in order to get my Larry David fix.
What I want is to watch “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and then go on with my life–and I’ll gladly pay a premium for that privilege. I don’t want to have to flip through a hundred different channels of silliness in order to get to what I want to see. In other words, for me, the problem isn’t paying, it’s the lack of control.
I completely agree here. It’s not that I don’t want to watch tennis occasionally or Mad Men or Sex and the City. It’s that I don’t want to watch everything else, and I know that by having all those stations at my disposal I will watch those programs. When we had free cable TV I watched a lot of Keith Olbermann because it was there. Sure it was enjoyable, but I think I wasted precious hours of my life that could have been spent in a more positive way.
What I would really like is an a la carte television. I choose the channels that I want and that’s it. A la carte channels would also solve the problem of placing controls on what children watch. Just because Bratz is considered child-safe doesn’t mean that I want my (hypothetical) children watching it.
We’ve been primarily TV free for about a year now. I’d say about once a week I turn it on for a few minutes then turn it off. There is never anything good on anyway. Speaking of which there was some terrible femme-fatal Meryl Street/Roy Scheider movie on the other day. Don’t know what it was but it was really bad. That’s free TV for you.
My only regret is that I should be getting more accomplished with my life and I can’t say that I am. I do fill a lot of what would have been TV hours with radio, but the nice thing about radio is that you can do something else while listening to it.