Jan 28, 2008

The Disappearance of Reruns

Whatever happened to reruns?

It’s like we have to be bombarded by new episodes on television every week, and if we don’t get repeats, we don’t see our favorite shows.

Yes, I know shows are instantly repurposed on cable because that’s where the old media feels the money is. Of course, as the old media migrates to the new media, they’re placing reruns at your fingertips, either “on-demand” or on broadband channels. If you don’t have access to “on-demand” services or broadband access (myself included), you’re scat out of luck. The old media once proclaimed that content is king, which is why they went on a buying spree purchasing smaller and, in rare cases, larger libraries and studios.

Instead of Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., New Line, and Castle Rock, there is Time Warner. Instead of Greengrass, Disney, Capital Cities/ABC, Miramax, Saban, and PIXAR, there’s The Walt Disney Company. Instead of Jay Ward, Filmation, Rankin-Bass, Big Ideas, and UPA, there is Entertainment Rights. MGM is owned by Sony and a bunch of other investors. NBC Universal owns a lot of smaller studios and outlets as does CBS Paramount, Viacom, and News Corp. They own the content. They own the networks. They own the outlets where reruns could be aired. Since they control the property’s destinies, they also have the power to keep shows off the air.

They can decide when and if a particular show would be reran. Some shows will. A lot won’t. Those shows you’re likely going to have to pay for, whether it’s a DVD purchase, a download fee, or subscription fees to cable and broadband services. Even next year, if you want to watch regular non-cable television and don’t have access to cable or a digital television, you’re going to have to buy a digital converter box for every set in your house. However you want to watch your favorite shows, it’s going to cost you in the end, which is kind of sad.

The media is changing, but certain attitudes don’t have to change because of it. People actually like certain shows and would gladly watch them, even during off periods. “Out of sight, out of mind” is an adage that comes in handy this way. People might actually forget about those shows networks tried to get people to watch in the first place.

By the way, LOST returns this week. Remember that show?

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