The current media environment is a mishmash of old and new business ideas that don't mix together at all well. Consider Hulu, the massively popular online TV service. I've started using it to watch older seasons of shows that I like, and to catch up on things I've let fall off my DVR - but that doesn't mesh well with the older business models in place. Wired explains in the context of a niche TV show:
Instead of carrying every episode of Sunny, a way off-center Danny DeVito comedy that languished on FX until Hulu users made it one of the site's most popular programs, Hulu limited its offering to the five most recent shows. User reaction to the move was swift and predictable. "Well, off to the torrent sites," one wrote on Hulu's Sunny forum. "Hulu blows!" declared another. "Whose retarded idea was that?"
That problem wasn't something created by Hulu though; it's a legacy of the way things have "always" worked in the TV business:
In theory, at least, the availability of such shows on Hulu threatens two of the key financial underpinnings of cable TV: DVD sales and carriage fees. Comcast and its brethren pay the cable networks to carry their programming, and the idea that Internet users can watch the same shows online for free is not popular in places like, well, Philadelphia
The DVD and carriage fee model is, IMHO, not long for the world. Unlike music, most people don't want to watch a show more than once - there are a handful of movies that I really want persistent copies of, and even fewer TV shows. I don't think I'm alone in that, either - which means that the iTunes buying model doesn't translate over to video all that well. However, the free streaming model doesn't really pay anyone's bills, either. Ideally, you could subscribe to content based on some kind of criteria - "anything Joss Whedon or JJ Abrams does", for instance. That's a huge change from how things work now though: the entire model is based on mass viewership, even as we move down to micro-audiences. Ultimately, I think things are going to change more for TV and movies than they have for music, and that change is still wrenching its way through the system...