BBC tech correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones announced a while ago that he is
“too old to Twitter and too mature for Myspace. Some things are best left to the young”
Now he’s talking about the BBC+iTunes deal, saying that
once you’ve handed over your credit card details, buying a programme from iTunes is an awful lot easier and more reliable than hunting it down on the web and trying to suck it into your computer
which is similarly nonsense. The comment thread is pretty interesting, and gives a sense of how strongly people feel about content they rightly love, and want to consume in a way that makes sense to them. Here are snippets from just the first three responses:
- gillick says …if you buy a program from iTunes then you will only be able to watch it on Apple approved devices. Whereas you can buy the DVD, rip it and then watch it on any device…
- Daniel Delahoyde says …yet more evidence of the BBC’s commitment to and promotion of DRM and proprietary media players and formats. … Those who want access to the BBC’s content online should not have to pay Apple for the privilege or have to use a Microsoft operating system and media player to view the programmes they want to see.
- Ewan says …It’s strange that you refer to being “able to pay £1.89 to download and own a programme”, when ownership implies a degree of control that simply doesn’t exist here … This isn’t ownership, it a limited and controlling lend back of something we already paid for…
I can see why the BBC might want to investigate new revenue streams to support their work. They already sell DVDs, and nobody I know has a problem with that. I love the fact I can buy a DVD and watch it wherever and whenever I want. The reason this move is controversial is that, as outlined in the comments above, it’s providing people with less value, not more. I don’t mind if the BBC charges for alternatives to live broadcast. Give me the choice. Give me a way to buy content I love and I’ll take it, but make it easier, not harder, for me to put it on my choice of computer and device. The first stage will be to drop the fallacy that DRM is going to help.
If you’re new to this argument, you might want to go back to what was being said by Cory Doctorow last year (and be sure to read this amazing discussion which broke out on Euan Semple’s blog).