In what was surely an inevitable development, monolithic broadcasters Sky and the BBC are to begin hosting downloadable films, news, sports and TV series on their websites but, as you would expect, each is taking very a different approach to the idea.
From its end, Sky will be taking the typically capitalist route by only offering their content to customers who subscribe to its top packages. Sky World subscribers (the full caboodle) will get access over 200 downloadable movies (with new titles added every month) and also sports news bulletins, match highlights, interviews and programme clips. Customers on the Movie World package will only get the movie access, Sports World subscribers only get the sports access.
By contrast, the BBC’s approach is to use the Internet as a way to vet upcoming shows. For example, from 19 July it plans to stream the new series “The Mighty Boosh” one week ahead of its transmission on Satellite and FreeView channel BBC Three. It is hoped that putting the show on the web will help peak interest and garner greater viewer feedback.
Beeb bosses say further shows will follow over time, with a number of pilot series likely to get their first audiences through a computer monitor.
Personally, I’m all for it as anything that helps to rip commercials out from our television viewing should be heartily encouraged. After all, we Brits recognise a BBC infomercial as quickly as a skanky fast food ad and a science-nonsense spouting shampoo commercial combined.
Channel 4 wants a piece of the action too. It has announced it will attempt to stream ALL of its programmes from its website before the end of the year. At this stage it is unclear whether downloadable versions of the shows will also be offered. Watch this space.