Cartoon Network was the original home for the vast library of Hanna-Barbera and MGM cartoons that Ted Turner had at his disposal. It soon outgrew that purpose as original content began to be broadcast on the channel and eventually banishing them altogether to a new network: Boomerang. To say they languished there is an understatement, but Turner’s attempt to make amends comes too little, too late.
Although this was posted on r/AdventureTime today, I had to go and check it out for myself just to be sure. Here’s my actual screenshot (click to embiggen):
Nice isn’t it? Instead of a full episode of Adventure Time (or any other series), I’m greeted with a nice reminder that I don’t, in fact, have cable or satellite.
While I heartily laugh at the subtle suggestion that I start forking out and arm and/or leg for channels with more commercials than content, this screenshot nonetheless represents Cartoon Network shooting themselves in the foot and taking aim at Adventure Time fans too.
Why? The answer is simple. By restricting online streaming of full episodes, guess what that does? It not only inconveniences fans who want to catch up on the latest episode, it also directly prevents new fans of the series from increasing their enjoyment of the show. Surely the whole point of entertainment is to get as many eyeballs on it as you can, right?
Turner Broadcasting seems to think differently however, and would rather cut off fans both old and new from their favourite show, by extension reducing the audience and the market for any merchandise.
Now that is not to say that the show will disappear, even the post on reddit is called “This is why I torrent” alluding to the fact that the show really is that good. The downside for Turner and Cartoon Network is that any fan who moseys on over the torrents is a lost fan, one whose interest (and potentially money) is directed away from their operations.
If I were studio chief, I would have serious misgivings about seeing fans go elsewhere for the sake of ensuring that only paid-up subscribers see the legitimate stream.