If you don’t already know, I have a Usenet/Sickbeard setup that works like a dream. I can set up Sickbeard to watch for new shows for pretty much any series old and new, and it will find and auto-download (and auto-rename and put in a user specified folder tree). Great stuff, I’ve pretty much abandoned torrents for any video content for how well this works. So then I got to thinking, why don’t “actual” companies start delivering content this way. Usenet has been around well before Torrents existed, and transfers aren’t based on a P2P concept. I understand that companies don’t want to use torrents or P2P methods, but why don’t companies release a commercial version of Sickbeard and deliver their content through their own Usenet server? Here are 5 reasons why I think this could work.

1. Subscriptions

TV Stations can have only have a few shows that I actually want to watch. If I only want to watch “How I Met Your Mother” on CBS, I don’t want to watch “I Get That a Lot”. It would allow customers to get the content they actually want watch, not shoving content down their throats. Customers could be notified when their favorite show is downloaded and ready to watch, instead of waiting around till the show comes on. It would auto download regardless if you hit record on your PVR (or Tivo or whatever people use now).

2. Easy to track user habits

I never really got the point of Neilsen Ratings now, if you have a global wide service that reaches almost everyone (ie. The Internet), why not take advantage of it. You could know exactly how many people are subscribed to any show, how many people are watching a certain genre, etc. You can have EVERYONE as data, not just who has a Neilson box. And on top of that, integrate social media features while they are watching an episode with something like Trakt and get even more data. Data that could be used to create even better content to fit your users.

3. Easy Money

I pay about $12/month for my current Usenet setup. It’s totally worth it for what I get out of it, but this money could be going to the actual content creators. If CBS or NBC offer a similar deal like $10/month for unlimited access to their entire catalog, who WOULDN’T do that. I shouldn’t be limited to going out and buying a DVD set or going to iTunes to get the content that I want to watch that YOU created. Make it easier for customers. There are (limited) mobile apps like the NBC app for iDevices, but make this global to anyone with an internet connection and a computer. I don’t care who I’m paying, as long as I’m getting the content I want.

Netflix KIND OF does some of this already with its streaming service, but what about when the network is down or you’re in a spot with no internet connection?

Take Steam for example. Steam offers downloading (NOT streaming) of games from their servers which are playable both online and offline (when it works). People buy games on Steam because it’s easy and they have great deals. If there was something like this for video content, which automatically downloads content as it’s available, and be able to watch any of their downloaded content offline, all for a small subscription fee, I think it would be a hit.

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  1. Decent article, however it doesn’t seem very intelligent to brag about piracy so blatantly.