America Online Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. are planning to put thousands of episodes of once-popular television shows like "Welcome Back Kotter" and "Chico and the Man" on the AOL.com Web site
Television is evolving in front of our eyes. If these are given to us for free, they'll figure out a way to get advertising into them. Ads will be quick and frequent, perhaps, but it's a great cheap way for AOL to experiment with a new delivery mechanism. And, right now they're getting a lot of free press.
For more info, there's this New York Times article summarizing the recent news. Those experiments are closed to the likes of me. I'm more open to try AOL's service. I'd even subscribe to AOL, for instance, if it also gave me access to certain shows that I watch on a regular basis. Three of the programs I like are on at the same time on Thursday nights. That's just absurd, unless the first viewing is treated like opening weekend, measuring popularity. In a digital world where all content is available for sale to anyone who desires to consume it, the long tail ensures that everything makes a decent profit.