The hit series "Dexter" is getting axed from Netflix's streaming service. So is "Californication" and every other current, original series. It's the agreement CBS's Showtime and Netflix came to when reworking an expiring streaming content deal, and quite frankly, losing popular shows like "Dexter" simply sucks. But it's not all bad news for Netflix.
Verizon and Showtime have teamed up to announce the launch of the first nationwide, HD interactive television application using EBIF (Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format). Verizon FiOS TV subscribers will get the first look at the new Showtime Sports Interactive, which will include voting, polling, and fighter profiles, during the live Strikeforce Challengers MMA telecast tonight at 11PM EST.
"Showtime has been leading the industry with digital enhancements and Interactive TV for over a decade. With the launch of Showtime Sports Interactive, we are excited to be joining Verizon at the forefront, bringing this state-of-the-art feature to Showtime HD," said Robert Hayes, senior VP and GM of digital media at Showtime Networks. "Showtime continues to innovate and provide value-added features to our subscribers and our sports programming provides the perfect setting for the 'lean forward' experience that is now possible with Interactive TV."
SSI subscribers will be able to access fighter stats, records, bios, and quotes, as well as vote in polls, participate in trivia games, and access fight calendars, all while watching Showtime, the companies said.
Suppliers of video content--movie makers and television production studios--are still struggling to devise an economic model for the Internet age. As time goes by some content providers are become less reticent about embracing the possibilities the Internet offers, in particular video on demand (VOD). In a possibly positive sign a few content providers have taken the step of providing films or TV shows in digital form prior to their DVD release.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Showtime is selling episodes of the hit series Weeds online, while the DVD release remains weeks away. Sony Pictures is also in the act, making available its animated movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, available for “owners of some Sony TVs and other devices”, with the DVD release scheduled for January 5.
Jacqui Cheng, at Ars Technica, would like to see more aggressive action, like AMC does with Mad Men, releasing episodes closer to the actual airing date. But, given the trepidation with which content providers appear to hold any Internet involvement, these baby steps toward better access are an encouraging sign.