Bassackwards TV

ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Universal, Paramount, and Disney are suing Cablevision in an effort to stop them from offering a DVR in the cloud — that is, from recording and serving shows on-demand not on a TiVoesque device in the home but on a server that lets us — the viewers, customers, former prisoners of network schedules — watch what we paid for from anywhere in the house.

Twits and fools. It has to be a pretty dumb and dorky bunch that can get me to side with my cable company!

But rather than trying to fight our proven desire to watch what we want to watch when, how, and where we want, the networks should be embracing it. The smart network will see this as another way to get more shows recorded and thus watched. They will recognize that there is no real difference — only an attempt at a legal one — between us recording a show on your VCR (if you still have one) or DVR (the TiVoish thing) or on someone else’s server. In fact, by recording the shows up in the cable cloud, we’re less likely to be able to copy and distribute them. The networks might have argued that Cablevision was just recording everything and serving it up at will — which wouldn’t be a bad idea at all — but to get around that, the cable system is, quite inefficiently, recording the same show separately for every customer who wants to. The networks are arguing that this is competition with their on-demand strategy. They should see it as part of their strategy.

You’re just not going to be able to make a business anymore on the backs of stopping people from doing what they want to do. That was the old network model. In the new network model, you recognize that we’re in control and if you do that — if you embrace every way you can find to distribute and promote your shows — then you might survive. Yes, the world has turned upside down. Figure it out.