Why haven’t most TV networks posted full episodes of their shows online?

so here is something that is curious to me…

One of my favorite TV shows is ‘The Mentalist‘ and it is broadcast by CBS, and, unlike NBC, CBS does not offer the ability to watch full episodes of their TV shows online.

It would be so great if I could watch full episodes of The Mentalist online, and as much as I hate to admit it, I think it makes a lot of sense from a marketing and advertisers point of view as well.   And here’s why:

As much as I hate commercials, I would actually watch them if I was watching my favorite show online–especially if the network eliminates the automatic increase to the volume of commercials (but that is a different blog entry).    What I don’t understand is why other TV are not following NBC’s lead.   I see it as an easy sell for the network’s Chief Marketing Officer…

Tell advertisers that you’ll be able better target advertisements to viewers because you’ll know who they are after they log into the website.  Then continue by telling them that you be better able to target advertisements to us as a result.   Then close with, “and if you don’t believe me, proof that the online viewer will see your advertisement is the fact that he is there in the first place.  That is, a person does not accidentally find himself watching a full episode of a TV show.  An online viewer deliberately goes online, browses to the TV show homepage, and finds the episode–so you know they are watching.   How do you know if I’m even watching a show on TV?  …couldn’t I have left the room/house and the TV powered on and tuned to that channel?”

This makes so much sense that I wonder why CBS and other networks have not put their episodes online.  Did TV manufacturers tell them that if they do so, that they are no longer going to be friends?  What is it?

If there is a Chief Marketing Officer for a major TV network reading this right now, please correct me by leaving me a comment below.

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