When The Prisoner gets set free, what does that tell us about online media?
If you’re a fan of great TV and science fiction, you owe it to yourself to check out The Prisoner, a 1960s psychedelic sci fi thriller from the BBC, starring Patrick McGoohan.
Where can you check it out? Glad you asked, as AMC has made the entire series available online as a promotion for the miniseries remake, which will star Jim Caviezel and Sir Ian McKellan.
Here’s Episode 1 â€“ Arrival, to get you going.
And the entire series is available here.
Beyond the fact that this is simply a cool news story, it got me to thinking about how quickly the distribution and consumption of all forms of content is changing. There’s a story from my own life that I often think about, when I was at a huge Borders bookstore in New York several years ago. I listened to a CD at one of their listening stations, and I was intrigued enough to make a purchase. The problem was that the store was out of the album, even though their records indicated that there should have been several copies in the store ready for purchase.
It struck me then (and many times since) that this was a case in which brick-and-mortar stores fail us in major ways. As a customer, I made a trip from my home to a store, parked my car, browsed the selection, found something I wanted to purchase, had money in my pocket burning up to make said purchaseâ€¦ only to be left disappointed.
While obviously the online world is far from perfect in meeting consumer demands, it’s getting better all the time at delivering what people want, which can basically be boiled down to people-want-what-they-want-where-and-when-they-want-it!
Scott Karp explains the transformation that we’re going through like this:
Itâ€™s not that no one wants to pay for music or movies, itâ€™s that increasingly we want to pay for content when, where, and however we want. Weâ€™re willing to pay for the convenience of video on demand, but the service isnâ€™t always being offered. Digital technology has put content producers in the services business, but they donâ€™t yet fully understand that value exchange.
I’d argue that we’re seeing signs that they are understanding more and delivering. The availability of on demand content online, on set-top boxes, and even directly to home televisions is exactly what people want, and those content creators and distributors who best meet that need are going to be the big winners in the years ahead.
And in the meantime, make sure to catch up on the adventures of The Prisoner!