Paying for TV shows vs. Streaming for Free

I love my 30 Rock: so much that I chose, for the second year in a row, to purchase iTunes’ Season Pass for the show since I don’t have cable. This means every episode is available for me to download soon after it’s broadcast on TV… in theory.

There are a few reasons why I chose to pay for an episode on iTunes:

30 Rock

– I’m a good person and not keen on illegally downloading content

– much like those who pay to watch a movie at the cinema rather than wait to watch the film for free on TV later, this Season Pass gives me the privilege of watching a commercial-free episode before others get to watch it for free

The newest 30 Rock episode aired last Thursday. It is now Sunday and the episode is not yet available on iTunes.  And to add salt a $3.50 wound, I can go to my local broadcast channel website and watch this episode today for free.

When this happened earlier once before, I was annoyed, but shrugged it off… NBC  had changed 30 Rock‘s timeslot and in doing so perhaps affected its availability on iTunes. But for this to happen a second time just a few months later, without a means for me to get my money back or a gesture for a free download, shows a lack of respect for the consumer of legal content.

If companies create business models based on having consumers pay for content directly, these types of hiccups cannot happen – especially when the content being sold is already readily available elsewhere for free – first illegally and then legally by means of the broadcast website.

Now that this is the second time an episode I paid for is available for free, I shall:

– never purchase an iTunes Season Pass again

– collect horror stories by other good citizens who are willing to pay for content, but who venture to watch the content for free to avoid the hassle.