The Daily Show on iTunes and saving money over cable
So this past week The Daily Show has had an amazing update schedule. Usually TV shows on iTunes are supposed to show up the day after they air on broadcast TV, but unfortunately this isn't always true. In the past The Daily Show has been updated anywhere from the promised time to several days behind schedule. The TV show Stargate (both of them) had a period of three weeks once where the TV show had not been updated, which was extremely disappointing. However it appears that Apple has taken steps to make that not the case with Stargate anyway. This week though, The Daily Show has been updated the same day that the episode airs -- the e-mail notifications I get show sometime between 10 and 10:30 PM, which happens to be about 30 minutes before the show airs in California, and two hours (I think) after the show has aired on the east coast. This is pretty great, since obviously people subscribing to the TV show on iTunes aren't going to be watching it on broadcast TV anyway. I imagine that since the network both produces and sells the show on iTunes there aren't any issues with taking away anyone else's revenue stream. The interesting thing is that by doing this, they can effectively compete with sources like youTube and bittorrent feeds, neither of which make Comedy Central any money at all. The iTunes shows are 640x480 now, which is the quality I would expect (the previously low res quality was annoyingly insufficient), and being able to watch with the commercials stripped out is nice as well -- an improvement over what I had done before using a DVR (which is obviously bad for Comedy Central). But I imagine now Comedy Central is making more money off of me than they did for my one person watch a commercial ($9.99/16 episodes = about 62 cents an episode).
The nice thing is that I'm actually saving money over cable TV charges. This is because even though I am paying quite a lot per episode, I don't pay any money at all when these channels air reruns and such. I imagine if you watch a whole lot of TV, then cable might be cheaper, but my combination of the two Stargates ($37.99 each), Battlestar Galactica ($38.99) and The Daily Show(119.88/year assuming Jon Stewart broadcasts for 48 weeks) only cost me $234.85/year... this works out to $19.57/month (cable is $30 or so).
The only thing Comedy Central really loses out on is my occasionally watching The Colbert Report afterwards. Now I only watch it if for some reason it sounds like it might be interesting or I hear that there was some interesting segment on -- whereas before it would just get automatically recorded and then I might watch it if I was bored. Comedy Central is still making more money off of me, although I imagine I would probably pay for something like a combined Daily Show/Colbert Report for a discounted price (say, $1.25 or $1.50 for the two), even if I didn't watch The Colbert Report all of the time.