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Freewaring Online Television - Changing the Economics of Broadcasting

P2P networks are notorious for harbouring the latest blockbuster movies long before they are even released, but it is also well known that the quality of those so-called movies are very often far worse than DVD movies.

Now what makes the Time Warner/Bertelsmann announcement particularly interesting is that unlike Apple for example, they are both content producers. They produce movies and TV programs.

Apple does not produce music, instead, it licenses it from Sony/BMG et al. This particular change in direction should send worrying signals to television channels all over the world. Until now, the UK’s channel Five, for example, would buy a movie - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, lets say - from Time Warner and then release it free to its viewers.

Time Warner announced that the movies in In2TV, would be free and supported by advertising, which, somehow, people wouldn’t be able to fast forward or avoid. Now that's an excellent thing and a paradigm change in the way people will watch movies.

While this is not open source exactly, it sounds just like ad supported software and a right step in decreasing piracy rates. Giving something free in exchange for advertising is what makes television, internet and radio work. The possibilities are immense and I am sure that many corporations are looking closely at the implications.

There are literally millions of movies, documentaries, sports snippets and even adverts that people want to watch. I am desperately looking to grab some episodes of CSI, Canal Plus "les guignols de L'info" and an American series called "The Pretender". You won't be able to buy the DVD as the market is too small and no channel is going to offer them because of their limited appeal.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.