A timely Internet TV/content reality check from Nicholas Carr
In the end, and whether they gobble up content producers or not, network operators like Comcast may be fated to be in the plumbing business. They’ll turn tidy profits by maintaining the pipes through which we get Internet service, even if we use those pipes to bypass their pay-TV offerings. We’ll go on gorging ourselves on free Internet video. We, the viewers, will be the winners.
Or will we?
The smartest, most creative TV shows, from “Deadwood” to “Mad Men” to NBC’s own “30 Rock,” tend to be the most expensive to produce. They have large, talented casts, top-notch writers and directors, elaborate sets and generally high production values. If the changes in our viewing habits stanch the flow of money back to studios, producing those kinds of programs may no longer be possible. In their place, we’ll get more junk: dopey reality shows, cookie-cutter police dramas, inane gab fests. The vast wasteland will become even vaster.
Even “free” has a price.