What would you do with unlimited bandwidth?

If you’re Time Warner/AOL, you’d use it to clean out your attic and broadcast re-runs. Actually, that’s not quite accurate as they’re going to ask folks to participate in a peer-to-peer network to access the video files. AOL and peer-to-peer, that’s not a union I would have imagined but a new dawn is upon us.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this move. It’s great that they’re serving up all this old stuff (much to the chagrin of established actors and actresses who’d rather we forget their early appearences on Kung Fu) but it all seems tentative to me.

The company will offer a changing selection of several hundred episodes each month, rather than providing continuous access to all the episodes in a series, Mr. Frankel said, so as not to cannibalize potential DVD sales of old TV shows.

This breaks a cardinal rule in my book. If you’re going to take advantage of the amplification effects of the internet (you know, the Long Tail stuff), you need provide a permalink to this content. If you keep changing the lineup, that’s never going to happen.

Why not even go a step further and free this stuff up as source material for mashups as the BBC has done? I would gladly watch an episode of Welcome Back Kotter if someone dubbed in muppet voices and a Shakesperian plot line. Yes, I’ll even watch the advertisements.

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