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November 6, 2012 11:45 AM   Subscribe

How do cable shows that offer free video podcasts on iTunes make money off of my watching them if no ads are inserted?

In a follow-up and slight divergence from this question posted earlier today, I was wondering:

How do shows (I'm specifically thinking about The Rachel Maddow Show for my question) that offer free video podcasts on iTunes make money off of my watching them?

I don't have a cable subscription and therefore, have started watching the day-after video podcasts from TRMS that are available for free on iTunes. The videos don't have ads in them and the only apparent banner ads on the videos are for MSNBC-related activity.

Why does the show offer this video to me for free? It's not like I'm watching the show via my cable company (and presumably watching commercials) and then going online later to rewatch the episode, but I'm curious. Is it that they're hoping I'll buy RM merchandise...?

posted by lea724 to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
Best answer: // day-after video podcasts//

Old news has very little commercial value. It may have promotional value though - so they throw it up on iTunes.
posted by COD at 11:59 AM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a friend who does this for a corporate cousin of TRMS.

Long story short, it's brand-building. It keeps regular viewers happy and has the off-chance of attracting new viewers, and, on preview, COD is right: there's no syndication or dvd market for news/opinion shows, so using it for promotion is better than just having it take up hard drive space somewhere.
posted by Oktober at 12:01 PM on November 6, 2012

Ay this is all just about the long tail, they could insert ads if they wanted to, but the traffic is likely so low no advertiser is going to buy the slot nor is it worth it to have someone actively selling it (this cost might exceed the actual revenues brought in.

The value of these comes completely from a marketing perspective. You're not the typical case I think the idea is that most people use this media to catch up on shows they missed, or you might talk about it to your friends and get someone who's got cable to watch the show.

If they ever thought this kind of free content was affecting their bottom line (and for many shows it could) this content would go away quickly.
posted by bitdamaged at 12:11 PM on November 6, 2012

If an advertising supported media company does something that doesn't have ads, then it itself is the ad.
posted by inturnaround at 12:42 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

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