Mark Pesce has a pair articles in Mindjack that are recommended reading. Thanks for the tip to Monty Solomon. --Dennis
From Part One: Hyperdistribution (How Battlestar Glactica Killed Broadcast TV) ... The British aficionados of the series provided torrents for each episode within a few hours of each broadcast. Many fans in the US picked them up and watched them; so did many people in Australia. ¶ While you might assume the SciFi Channel saw a significant drop-off in viewership as a result of this piracy, it appears to have had the reverse effect: the series is so good that the few tens of thousands of people who watched downloaded versions told their friends to tune in on January 14th, and see for themselves. From its premiere, Battlestar Galactica has been the most popular program ever to air on the SciFi Channel, and its audiences have only grown throughout the first series. Piracy made it possible for "word-of-mouth" to spread about Battlestar Galactica. ..."
From Part Two: The New Laws of Television. "There are two principle components of the new value chain of television hyperdistribution: the producer and the advertiser. An advertising agency is likely acting as an intermediary between these two, connecting producers to advertisers, working out the demographic appeal of particular programs, and selling ad payload into those programs; this is a role they already fulfill - although at present they work with the broadcast networks rather than the producers. There is no role for a broadcaster in this value chain; the audience has abandoned the broadcaster in favor of a direct relationship with the program provider. That said, the broadcasters are uniquely qualified to transform themselves into highly specialized advertising agencies, connecting advertisers to producers; this is something they already excel at. ¶ This is clearly a viable economic model: the producer gets paid at least as much for their programming as they would have received from a broadcaster, and probably more; the advertiser gets a cheaper ad buy; and the audience continues to receive free television programs. This is a win-win-win scenario, unless you're a broadcaster. ..."
Also in Mindjack, Pesce has an article called Redefining Television which reviews developments in production, consumer electronics and distribution and ends with, "... All of this can be summed up in a very neat phrase: as broadband succeeds, broadcasting will fail. And nothing, short of the economic collapse of Western civilization, is going to impede the uptake of broadband. It will continue to transform our culture, and the delivery of our cultural products. That's very good news, because it opens up a world of possibilities which have nothing to do with the politics and economics of broadcast licenses, and everything to do with creativity."