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Digital Hollywood: Sci-Fi Gets Podcasting

ScifiYesterday's panel with Craig Engler of NBC/Universal produced one of the more intriguing ways to use podcasting: provide an alternate audio track featuring the producer's comments every week for Battlestar Galactica. (The show is also different in that the producer also aggressively runs his own blog, with a no-holds-barred approach to answering fanboy questions.) 

Consumers have been trained to expect such commentary on DVDs. Features like the second audio track make it easier for studios to recoup their production costs through new types of distribution. It also gets viewers to watch the same episode more than once.

This isn't the first time it's been done. There's an illegal re-envisioning of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and I suppose Mystery Science Theatre 3000 counts as well.

Studios that fail to nail down all of the necessary rights run the risk of repeating the experience of WKRP in Cincinnati and losing out on revenues from new products. I think legal usually focuses on distribution (i.e., MSO carriage) to the potential neglect of many possible new media licensing capabilities. While I have no doubt all of the requisite video-on-demand rights have been cleared, I somehow doubt we've negotiated all of the issues that a remix culture is likely to raise. 

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