Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Canadian Woman Who Couldn’t Wait

The boys are back on PBS:


I confess to already seeing it.  I knew someone who downloaded the episodes for me.  It is not unique to me.  As soon as the shows broadcast in England, people hit their favourite torrent sites to get the episodes.  People usually discuss the show with a spoiler warning out of consideration to others patiently waiting for last Sunday’s  broadcast on PBS in North America.

I don’t want to berate PBS for waiting until January.  Unlike Space, the station usually showing Dr. Who episodes at the same time as the UK broadcasts, PBS does not have the resources to do the same. Remember Bell Media owns Space while PBS relies on donations hence why we get the pledge drives on some stations.  (I stayed up until 2 am to watch Peter Davison’s début as the new Doctor way back in the day.)  In that respect, I cut PBS a bit of slack.  The viewers usually watching PBS do not have the resources, or the know how, to get the downloaded versions.  I am not characterizing public television viewers as greying Luddites.  (Let’s face it I am pretty much middle-aged here.) Some people want to wait, and PBS made the smart decision to broadcast just after the UK, and not months after.

Netflix and Torrents have changed the rules of television, and the old boys want to tighten the noose.  HBO offers HBO GO, but still do not understand people just want the ‘Go’ service rather than commit to a cumbersome package.  In my case, to get HBO I need to get Movie Central.  It does offer programming from Showtime, Starz, and even USA.  However, it is a case of who buys what in Canada.  Movie Central had Dexter, a Showtime series, but it does not mean they have their sister show Homeland.  Homeland belongs to Superchannel.  Those guys have four channels, depending on their carrier, and even then it is $16.99.  Even then that’s the new seasons.  Head over Showcase, owned by Shaw media, and it’s a waiting game between a slightly newer season on the channel, or a DVD release.

This whole thing reminds me of prohibition with television taking the place of booze. (Although what is the difference between the Dionysian ‘Cumbercollective’ and whiskey anyway?)  Perhaps the best illustration comes from a Vice President of Content for Rogers, David Purdy who said:

*“If the customer isn’t given a simple, easy, legitimate alternative they’re going to find illegal ways to get access to the content.  As long as rights holders withhold content from customers, you’re going to encourage this type of behaviour.”

Believe it or not, people will get the DVD of whatever show they happen to pirate.  What goes on now with television happened with the music industry.  Guess what happened there?  Of course networks will claim people take money out of the grips, camera crew, actors, etc. while ignoring the rather huge, top-heavy sums made by those in the entertainment industry.  The business model has gone topsy-turvy and it is time to get real, or alienate the very people you’re trying to court.

It doesn’t take Sherlockian deduction to know that.

Works Cited:

*Bolen, M.  (2013, 12 13). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

3 thoughts on “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Canadian Woman Who Couldn’t Wait

  1. I’ve bought everything I cared enough to pirate eventually — the wait is not only excruciating if you’re part of a particular fandom, it seems arbitrary. Provide it quickly at a reasonable price and I’m there with my money.


    1. That’s why people said to HBO, “Look, we will pay for HBO Go, but not go on the hook for a cable package.” People do want to pay for services, and support the people behind the content.


      1. I haven’t had tv at home since 2006, but my issue with cable was always that something like 50% of the cost of the cable package was sports programming which I *never* watch. There have been some indications in Canada, I guess, that the government might force the networks to unbundle sports from cable packages in which case I might get back on board … or maybe I’ve just permanently switched to streaming and haven’t noticed.


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