Yesterday I admitted that I am addicted to downloading TV episodes from iTunes (despite the need for slightly higher quality downloads and the ability to share them between computer on the same iTunes account -- stupid DRM bugs..). So far, I've replicated a small scale cable subscription with my downloads (30 so far). I've watch nearly the entire seasons of LOST and Battlestar Galactica (an amazing series) via download. The time I have spent watching cable TV has dwindled to almost zero...I've mentioned earlier, series like Firefly and others could make a hell of a run via downloads alone:
This has immediate potential for shows like Firefly which have a devoted audience but can't get airtime on a major network. The new model for independents like Firefly would be to produce shows to sell on the download networks. The revenue potential is likely 2-5x the production costs. This could in turn self-fund movies like Serenity that would hit the theater, DVD, and download land simultaneously. To zoom an audience, offer the first two episodes for free to hook the audience (they had me after two episodes).