The way online video is exploding is a bit mind boggling to me. Sure, we’ve had clips for a while now, but the idea of full episodes of television series, let alone movies, online, for free, and embeddable in any site is just… wow. True, they are ad-supported, but isn’t that a small price to pay for watching full television episodes for free when you want?
The site that blows me away is Hulu, which I have discussed before, from NBC. New episodes of television series are up within a few hours of when they air, and they are putting up entire older series such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Dragnet and my much beloved, Arrested Development. Embedded below is the complete first episode of the first season, but if you head over to the site, you can watch the entire three seasons.
To my readers outside of the United States, you probably can’t watch this video, but Hulu is working towards international viewing also as soon as they finish some deals.
This isn’t to mention that you can now head over to SouthParkStuidos and watch every episode from all twelve seasons, go to sites like CBS and watch every episode of this past season of Big Brother, and on and on.
I think the questions to all this is what they will end up doing to damage television airings and DVD sales? Why should I, or anyone else, go out and buy a South Park DVD set when I can just head to their site and watch any episode I want on demand? Less storage in my house, less impact on the environment and it saves me money, so what am I missing? Yes, they are earning advertising revenue, but is it really enough to make up for the lost revenue in DVD sales?
In the cases of defunct series such as Arrested Development, it is breathing new life into the series as people who had never seen it before are discovering it, but current shows? I just don’t get it.