My Own Special Take on “TV on Strike”

Television recently should be very uptight because for once they have competition. Cynthia Littleton in her book, TV on Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War Over the Internet, talks about how “in the new media paradigm, television programming that was once exclusive to a single licencor is slowly but surely becoming a commodity…” (Littleton, 1). Basically they are many alternatives to obtaining what seems exclusive to television programming but also available through other outlets (Littleton, 1).  Whether these alternatives are legal or illegal doesn’t seem to matter. The fact that they are so many other outlets you can watch what comes on television shows the growth in media technology. Things such as live broadcast, shows, movies and all kind of other programs that typically appear on cable television are just accessible through the internet or on other applications that can appear on something as small as a cell phone are just remarkable. Digital media opens up many gateways for businesses as well as for illegal activities involving piracy of exclusive video content.



Littleton talks about how watching an episode of Family Guy can be done in multiple ways as an example of the new media paradigm. Littleton gives specific examples of how this can be done by explaining how a person has the option set up a digital video recorder (DVR) to record the latest airing or that they can go to iTunes and download an episode for $1.99 or an entire season for $45 (Littleton, 1). He also doesn’t forget to bring up or remind his readers that there are many illegal file-sharing services that provide unauthorized download of the show with no charge (Littleton, 1-2). Littleton says “you can log on to the Web to watch a free video stream, with commercials, of a recent episode at or Hulu or Netflix or Amazon Prime” (1-2, Littleton). What I can add to this from my experience with watching video content on the internet which is typically aired on cable television is that live footage or broadcast can also be provided on the internet. Many people today are still surprised by this fact because they are typically used to believing live video footage is only watchable though cable television. However, this is not true because whenever the presidential debates were happening during the 2012 elections between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, people were able to watch it on YouTube while it was live. It was the same as watching it on live television like on CNN or FOX or any channel showing the presidential debates live.


The “exponential growth of video distribution options” described by Littleton are truly real and they are affecting many television interests that people have (Littleton, 1). Many people I know wonder why video content is still harder to obtain freely, or illegally, than music or audio files despite all the video distribution options available through the internet. Littleton said that “music was the first form of content widely traded through illegal online sources because audio files were relatively small, compared to the bandwidth and storage space required for video content” (Littleton, 11). Audio content related stuff will always have more chances of having illegal distributing cases because audio content is significantly smaller than video content. This is why video content piracy is taken more serious. Littleton talks about web streaming and how ABC makes good use of it by promoting users to watch their favorite shows with web streaming (Littleton, 15).  Some sports channels do this as well such as ESPN or NBC Sports and the quality on the web stream is excellent. There has also been illegal streaming of sports online like for NFL Football, NBA Basketball, Soccer and maybe more. When I have been watching sports with my friends over the years with all the multiple viewing outlets we have I noticed that people web stream illegally. Normally the only way a user can web stream a basketball game is with NBA league pass or for an NFL game they would need to be subscribed to the NFL network. The one cleaver thing the NBA does with its league pass is it only gives web stream access to the live games that are not on national television like ABC, TNT or ESPN. So if anyone wanted to watch a nationally televised game live they would have to watch it either on television still and will not be able to stream it legally. Of course people can still web stream nationally televised games illegally, but the quality may not always be the best. As long as a broadcasting business is aware of how video distribution is evolving and they anticipate what can be done it will help sustain their business. Audio files are much easier to expose online so it’s more challenging in the music business to take some kind of action to make profit better unless the artist themselves make some kind of public message to their fans.

Works Cited

Littleton, Cynthia. TV on Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War over the Internet. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 2013. Print.

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