NBC think that allowing downloads of The Office on iTunes has boosted viewership on the air. [via PaidContent] The lightbulb goes off in the darkness.
The iTunes offering is bringing new audiences to the show that would not otherwise have watched, said Frederick Huntsberry, president of NBCU Television Distribution. “Consumers have choices, and we are not reaching all consumers with one technology,” he said.
ITunes is one way to bring fresh eyeballs to the network, he said, in particular the younger demo that uses video iPods.
“We are offering content and reaching viewers for the first time. These are audiences using iTunes to manage their music,” Mr. Huntsberry said. “Now being able to download TV shows is a new technology they are playing with.”
Imagine what would happen if you put out an episode for free (on Bittorrent) without restrictions (but with ads): You’d get a gigantic audience. Let the people distribute your show. Wires and towers and cables aren’t your network. The people are your network.