A rough and dirty* timeline of TV shows online:
- 1998 – 2003: good luck finding any TV shows online
- 2004: you can now find some TV shows online, but you better be prepared to open up the wallet, and don’t expect to have a chance to see it until well after the show first airs on regular TV
- 2005: thanks to YouTube, you can now views TV shows online for free, but the video quality is poor and grainy, and you have to watch the shows broken down into 10 minute segments
- 2006 – 2007: TV shows finally available in high quality video directly from the networks (with advertising of course), but only if you have the patience to wait days (and sometimes weeks) after the original airing on TV
- 2008: NBC airs the premiere of 30 Rock on Hulu a full week in advance of the airing on regular TV!!!
* For you historians out there, I might be a bit off on my dates but you get my drift.
Bottom line, this is awesome. NBC finally understands that airing TV shows online first drives awareness (and ultimately ratings). Sure, 30 Rock’s ratings will be up this week since Tina Fey has been the hardest working woman in Hollywood doing her Sarah Palin impressions, but getting the show out there online first will also add fuel to the fire.
For the one of you out there reading this right now I know what you are saying…a post on this blog won’t add fuel to any fire. To which I say you are right of course. But I have a feeling that Gawker and The New York Observer will more than pick up my slack!
On a related note, the premiere is brilliant. And anyone that still thinks long-form video doesn’t have a place online really needs to watch Hulu in full screen on a 15 inch MacBook Pro.
Anyways, check the premiere out for yourself below: