So, I chose the other path – hacking the system:)
Part One – Breaking The System
I am using iTunes a lot. Though I can’t use my credit card to purchase content, I found a simple way to use iTunes:
a. Find an American address (could be a hotel or any other establishment) and use its address for your iTunes account.
b. Buy iTunes gift cards in Amazon or an Apple store if you are visiting the US.
c. Redeem the card in iTunes – and you are on!
Part Two – Enjoying The Experience (While Spending Money…)
Now, this is cool. A true VOD experience on my computer, with class A content that I love to watch. And the biggest plus – no uncertainties.
You see, one of the things I hate most in downloading P2P content is that I don’t really know what I am getting at the end of day – is it really the movie I wanted to see? Is it in high quality? And when will I be able to see it? With iTunes I know exactly what I am getting. Episodes are downloaded fairly quickly, so I can decide that I want to watch a specific show, and half an hour later start watching it. Not perfect, but better than P2P experience. Also, I easily find shows iTunes store, so I am not wasting time. I bought $50 worth content in two months. Not bad isn’t it? The only annoying point is that rented movies are viewable for 24hrs – which is very lame. I am working long hours, so is my significant other, and we tend to watch films at night, sometimes falling asleep in-front of the computer. Therefore, we sometimes see movies over several days. This limitation is extremely annoying – and I hope Apple will change it soon.
Part Three – The Moral Dilemma
Then I fell in-love with Californication. After downloading the pilot and couple of season 1’s episodes fI became a fan. When I told my friend about it, he looked at me as if I am a loony – ” Why don’t you download it for free?” well, I said, I like the speed and simplicity of iTunes. “Ok, so I would download for you, and you could watch it whenever you want”.
So, this is the essence of the whole story isn’t it? iTunes’ value proposition is providing legal content, ease of use, and certainty in content quality. Would I pay for this service, when a free alternative exist?
I can speak only for myself – and say that yes, iTunes service is worthwhile paying for, even if I can download content illegally with almost no chance of legal action against me. It is a fact that in two months I paid iTunes more than I paid to my cable or satellite provider in two years. This is because iTunes is providing me the content i want to see in lower rate, and smarter business model, than my local VOD provider.
TV networks are shooting themselves in the leg by not allowing me to buy their content in a simpler way. They are losing money because of that. I can understand why they are doing that – but I can’t agree with their views.
Guys – let me pay you – at the end of the day you will make more money and happier customers.
And for the cable operators and VOD providers, here is a tip – price your service in comparison to iTunes, and not other VOD packages. This is the future – and if you won’t wake up – you would not be a part of it.