How fast can network TV kill a good show?

We're huge fans of Battlestar Galatica. In fact, I think quite a few people are. BSG has done amazing things to revive an old franchise, bring about popular podcasting alongside shows, sell episodes on iTunes Store, release "Webisodes" and in general be yummy.

Of course, because it was so popular, NBC decided to pull the show into it's normal season line-up, meaning the show was off-the-air from January until October, and now they're doing something completely amazing.

MythTV - as trusty as it is - tends to fail at inopportune times. This is one of them. So, being an honest soul, whenever this happens I hop over to the iTunes store to purchase the last episode. This is a perfect example of how making something so damned convenient will make me pay money rather than trying to BitTorrent it or somesuch. (read this again anyone in a decision making position regarding selling content - it works).

Like many other pople, when I went to find the episode at iTunes, it wasn't there. Turns out, the show is now only available through "NBC UNIVERSAL VIP ACCESS" ... nice name.

But when you click through to do that you get the following message:

"Select NBC Universal shows are now available for download on Intel® Viiv™ technology and Intel® Centrino® mobile technology based-PCs for a limited time."

Of course, when I click on view it, on a Mac or even Windows Machine:

"We're Sorry, the requested download is unavailable. Due to contract limitations downloads are only available to users with Intel® Viiv™ technology or Intel® Centrino® mobile technology based-PCs which located in the United States. Please check back soon for other offers. "

This is an absurd abuse of technology, product placement, and in general "bad taste in the mouth". Requiring users to have a specific technology chipset is not going to make them run out to their nearest retailer to pick up a new box. They're going to go "that sucks" and either go elsewhere, or turn on BitTorrent. Either way, NBC just lost revenue. I can't imagine that was their objective.

Fortunately, powers have sought to overcome these absurdities, and you can watch the episodes via YouTube: BattleStar Galactica S03E01- Occupation pt.1 until NBC figures out what works and doesn't work.

To calm your senses, you should watch this: Battlestar Office-ica.

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.