The Sopranos finale on Sunday was a huge ratings hit, and my fellow fans were in a tizzy over the mysterious ending — including those who don’t have HBO, cable or even a television. Like a lot of people, they downloaded it. Because seriously, with something this culturally significant, who’s going to wait for the DVDs to be released?
I understand that HBO has all sorts of long-term contracts keeping it from offering its content as paid downloads, and that its business model is based on subscriptions. In the meantime, why not offer something to people who love the content but don’t want to have to pay for all the crap on basic cable as well?
In other words, I’m proposing I’ll send HBO a check every month in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
For starters, HBO wouldn’t have to actually manage the technology for distributing the show online. Fans around the world are taking care of that already, thank you very much.
HBO makes great shows, and while I don’t particularly want to pay for all the schlocky Hollywood movies that they license, I would pay the monthly subscription just to be able to watch their original programming in a timely way without ethical qualms or fear of retribution.
Think of it as paying for protection under the table, no questions asked. Now that’s something Tony Soprano would understand.