It's the day of the Doctor.
BBC is currently showing the 50th anniversary special. I have no cable. I am sitting here dying to know what everyone else is now knowing.
I understand Britons pay 150 quid a year per TV in TV licenses, that a van (fleet of them really) monitors usage and thievery because intellectual content is that important to you. As is, of course, the money that funds these shows. I understand that BBC-America doesn't contribute to production costs. So that licensing fee is your bread and butter. But what about the rest of us?
This is the 21st century and we have the technology that should let you build your own live streaming empire. And it is just as easy as charging everyone who wants your shows 150 quid a year to receive it on any device that they have registered. ABC replays its shows within 24 hours. Netflix gets some current shows as early as 24 hours. The technology exists. The currency calculators exist. It is possible!
It is the day of the Doctor. And I am missing it because we weren't savvy enough to get our Michael Moore state of the art theater set up to simulcast. I don't have cable for a very practical reason, American TV with a handful of exceptions sucks. The DOCTOR.... it's not like this is all that wibbly wobbly and there's nothing convoluted and timey wimey about streaming broadcasts.
You could change the way TV works at its most basic level. Even the playing field.
Why not? No one would pay it for one show?
Right. Not for one show.
But for Sherlock, Broadchurch (please don't make us watch FOX) Top Gear, Doc Martin, Torchwood, anything by an Austen or a Bronte in serial or mini series form, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Merlin, the Graham Norton Show, archived episodes of Robin Hood, MI-5, Fawlty Towers, classic Doctor Who, Black Books, Spaced, all the Monty Python a person could ever want.... and this is just what comes from the top of my head.
You've spent years trying to put a small dent in the American market. And with America's love affair with your leading men Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hidleston, David Tennant, Martin Freeman (Sorry if I forgot anyone) you are making an even bigger dent than you can imagine. If the American Government has its way (nasty blighters) they will cut PBS funding right out of the budget. Perhaps Obama's obsession with the Doctor is the only reason it hasn't happened with this last round of budget cuts. It will happen one day. We are turning on each other to cut what can be cut from people who are now "lazy" instead of "under privileged". So what will you ex pats do when there is no more PBS? How will you market BBC-A without the benefit of the PBS foothold?
Give us this option now. It's too late for the 50th. But it is not too late to be certain to secure viewers for the 2015 season. I know I am skipping 2014... it's kinda late for that maybe. Who would pay 150.oo for a year for one channel? There are only2 channels I watch anymore... ABC for Castle and BBC with whatever Netflix can get its hands on when it can get its hands on it.
I am poor. BBC streaming would cost twice what Netflix costs. BUT I would have access to EVERYTHING that Netflix does not. So in essence I come out a little ahead buying one channel from you on a per show price. That is not per episode. That is per SHOW. No waiting. No Whining. My appetite is already whetted. I've got a credit card I'd fling at you now if I had the super powers to throw it through this pre-Winter gale.
Why don't you want my money? Did American broadcasters convince you that Americans would never go for that? American broadcasters, like American music execs, don't know what their customers want because they don't want to listen. For decades we've wanted to pay a reasonable price to pick our channels a-la carte rather than buy 200 channels of which only 6 might get a regular look see. As advertising dollars shrink the a-la carte option might be the only real world way to know which channels are actually being watched and by whom. And they wouldn't have to pay 3rd party marketing departments for the information that they collect in their own billing department... YOUR billing department would know better than a marketing exec what to sell to your American fans. Your billing department would be as eerily omniscient as any Who nemesis. Chilling. Imagine the power. Imagine the trump card you could play in a game of pride with American TV Execs.
Naaaaaaaah! You lot will never go for it.
Back in high school with Doctor #4 and Jeremy Brett's Sherlock, I didn't know we were 6 months to a year behind what Britons were seeing. There was no Internet to tell me that I was missing out on something. Conversely no Internet told me where my friends were... the ones who were watching Doctor Who with me. Because they were not at school with me.... that much I do know. The internet is a game changer.. we know now. You've spent 50 years building a brand in Doctor Who and you've created an emotional connection with a fan base of geeks who know no logic in the desire to stay connected, not only with the characters but with global fans, people that they may not find close to home. But find each other we do.
Being denied the joy of sharing... in real time. It makes fans rabid. A rabid anything can't be good.
Please consider the possibilities of trumping all of your competitors. The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who numbers will come in and I would be willing to bet you will see numbers close to any sports event. Downton Abbey's series 4 premier could net you the same kind of numbers I'll wager. And Sherlock? These are things that change the world. I know. It's just TV. But it's not is it? I mean if it was just TV like something is just... well just any old thing, there wouldn't be this kind of fervor. Sure it's not a royal coronation, or a royal wedding.... but it's kinda bigger than even that in a way. TV.... it's a kind of colonization really. The kind of colonization that people ask for.
I'm stretching my argument a bit too far aren't I? Well there you have it.... that is just how rabid a fan I am. That is how far I am willing to go to make my emotional connections to these characters & my fellow fans stronger. I am willing to ask you to fairly make a sinister episode of Doctor Who happen... without getting eaten by the way. There will be no eating of the TV customers in real life.
I have a strange way of getting what I want from the Universe when it does not involve winning large sums of money. You will see things my way eventually. But please, don't let it be after you've taunted your fans passed the point of a healthy frustration.
And for effect:
Hey you NSA guys laughing your ass off with that last paragraph. If you're laughing you haven't been paying attention. I got what I wanted from Spotify & German TV and I will get what I want from BBC.