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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"They swear there was a memo."
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January 16 2008

Terminator: TSCC pilot now available for free on iTunes. See Summer's butt-kicking first episode for free on your iPod. You can also get other episodes for $1.99. (Link goes to iTunes store - USA only). And Summer Glau is also on the cover of this week's TV Guide.

Not wishing to be a virtual wet blanket, and in no way whatever wishing to dissuade people from witnessing the awesomeness that is Summer Glau kicking butt (or indeed, Summer Glau just existing), but aren't these downloads exactly the sort of content distribution that gets around the pesky need for the studios and networks to pay writers (and indeed actors, including the aforementioned Ms. Glau) any residuals whatever? Seems like perhaps this relates to other recent threads here ...
To be honest, we had a "watch the Terminator pilot for free" thread not so long ago and I really don't want the front page getting cluttered up with TSCC news so this may disappear shortly.
Its only the first episode that's free... and I have a feeling its free so that the people who buy whatever itunes has for free, (like me) will buy it and then go, "WOW! This is so amazing! I will go forth and proclaim the gospel of Summer Glau!!!" :)
Xerox, true enough. But since Summer Glau doesn't see a penny ftom this or subsequent purchases, nor will the writer(s) who wrote it, many people are staying away from such downloads until the writers (and later the actors) get a fair deal.
I think the free pilot is an ok idea, in order to promote the show better. This way more people may discover it and start watching it in its regular time. I will not give them the $1.99 for the second episode, however.
Standard disclaimer: I support the writers and would like to see them paid appropriately for their work.

Disagreeable content: For whatever reason, Fox (here we go again) brings this show out now, and so it will live or die now. Summer Glau won't be paid very much if her show fails. I'm fairly sure things like itunes downloads are tracked and measured as an indicator of performance. Of course, on Fox, it's likely to fail anyway, whether it has a passionate fanbase and good writing or not. Just a thought.
I just posted the link because it was a free download. I am not buying the other episodes in support of the writers.

Just sayin'.
Yes, Papa Legba, FOX and others do track sales and downloads but that really doesn't matter, at least not in resent history. Look at Drive, 3 lbs, Raines, and other shows that didn't last long either and they all did free downloads. But as they say the times they are a changing, with shows like Friday Night Lights downloading may have helped save that show, based on the demo of those downloading it.

We are actually talking about 2 different things networks vs production studios. The network has to pay the production studio everytime it re-airs an episode of a series on tv, which use to be at least 1 time a season. However, with ITunes, the production studio gets paid and the network doesn't get charged for the showing. So it's a win-win for them especialy if you see that the network and production studio are sister divisions owned by the same company.

So the production studio and network are basically cutting the writers, actors, and anyone else that would receive a residual from a re-airing on the network, out of getting the residuals they should get. While the studio and network get the ability to fill their bank accounts even more.

If the studio and network don't have to pay any residuals for an ITunes download, then they don't have to pay for any extra marketing of that show on TV either (no repeat of next week on...).

If the people who download the "FREE" episode like the episode they may tune into the network, which may in turn boost the ratings for the show and keep it on the air longer (those studio contracts with the cast & crew are already set in stone for typically 5 years, for first run airings of the episode). So the ratings or demos go up and the studio can charge more for the advertising on that show, thus filling their pockets without having to pay any extra out. WooHoo win for the network!!!

On the flip side the production studio gets extra coins from people who decided to pay for the downloading the series, which typically comes out to the price of a DVD set in the end. Most people who purchase ITunes downloads, do not buy the DVD sets when they come out because they don't need too. Mostly only diehards will buy DVDs for the BTS stuff. So since the studios have no contract based on ITunes residuals for the cast & crew (this is by default availible to the shows producers and creators - as part of their inital contract). The money made from the sales go into the studios bank and again no extra money will have to be shelled out (except in the case of ITunes promotion, which would likely be built into the ITunes contract up front). So with ITunes sales, they impact DVD sales which impact the DVD residuals that the cast & crews would receive under the current contract. WooHoo a win for the studio!!!

Either way you look at it ITunes or other video download sites are a win-win for studios and networks, with it being a lose-lose for those who actually worked to create the entertainment we enjoy. That is why it is so important for the writers to get a fair deal not just for the streaming content but for the downloaded content as well.

Really would charging you $0.03 more a download stop you from buying it? That would mean an extra $0.72 more for an entire season of 24 downloaded from ITunes.
RavenU, I'd pay double the price to download the episode if the money went to the crew behind it... But I doubt iTunes will increase the price. $1.99 looks much prettier than $2.02...

On a side note... did anyone catch in the second episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles how it said "1337" on the door of the computer store? I enjoyed that neat treat for geeks.
I've added impalergeneral's news to the entry.
On a side note... did anyone catch in the second episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles how it said "1337" on the door of the computer store?

Hah, good spot Valentyn, I missed it. That has to be one of the more desirable addresses for computer shops ;).

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