Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More Classic Shows going Online

A few weeks back I reported that CBS Interactive had begun streaming some of their classic series online, and it seems like quite a few other outlets are getting in on the act.

For instance, NBC and some of its affiliated cable channels(like Sleuth and the Sci-Fi Channel), are going to be making such series as Miami Vice, the Original Battlestar Galactica, Kojak, Buck Rogers and The A-Team amongst other available online. And Sony had put together a channel on Youtube for condensed episodes from their own classic library.

And just a few days ago, there was news that the now defunct WB Network would be also making a return of sorts on the internet, as most if not all of that networks most popular series, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls and Dawson's Creek, will start streaming next month.

While the Pop Culture lover in me revels in the idea of so much television being legally available online, the pragmatist in me wonders about a few things.

For instance, given the fact that a lot of these commercial supported classic shows were produced and aired at a vastly different time in television history, a time when contracts about residuals for those involved allowed the networks to profit from that work without compensating the actors, writers or producers. Think about it: aside from the bandwidth, these shows are now pure profit.

I wonder if this widespread push to put older content online was in anyway influenced by the recent resolution of the writers strike? I mean, the studios have this content, and really, I don't think they are legally bound to pay the heirs of say Rod Serling or Mr. T anything for using it to make a profit. And if they do, well, it is likely a much smaller residual fee than a comparable modern show.

So I would say my attitude is now guarded when it comes to these developments.


Arjan said...

I agree. They should always pay the (dedicated) actors enough. I wouldn't survive another strike..

Jeremy Barker said...

You're probably right, but that deal is inked and the studios won't be giving up another dime. Might as well enjoy the ride. Now if they would only make them all embedable, with the ability to choose what clip you wanted...

MC said...

Arjan: Looks like a 50/50 shot really.

Jeremy: Good point. I could see NBC making them embeddable.