PIRACY, SWARMING AND THE PARADIGM SHIFT OF BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
Producer Ted Hope emailed me about this essential three-part series by Mark Pesce entitled “Piracy is Good? How Battlestar Galactica Killed Broadcast TV.” It’s from May, 2005, but it’s still an utterly relevant essay on how television producers can successfully adapt to a BitTorrent world in which audiences are in control of the process of distribution. Pesce’s predictions are provocative — he believes, for example, that the broadcast networks are soon to morph into high-powered ad agencies as opposed to content distributors — and I’m not sure I agree with all of his advice to producers regarding the content of their programs, but he sketches out the implications of P2P networks on the current economic models of television production and distribution compellingly. Below is an excerpt from his conclusion, but click above to read the entire piece.
“If you ignore the coming era of hyperdistribution, we can write you off right now. You’re in the same boat as a producer of radio plays in the 1950s; the most successful of those individuals established careers in television, but others ended up bitter and unemployed. We have to deal with the world as it is, not as we’d like it to be. The clock can’t be turned back on BitTorrent. In the new, ‘flat world,’ where any program produced anywhere in the world is immediately available everywhere in the world, the only sustainable edge comes from entrepreneurship and innovation. Yet broadcast television has become a self-contained world, inside a comfy plastic bubble, breathing its own air, which – after half a century – has gone noticeably stale. It’s ready to be shaken up.”