“The Big Bang Theory”: MIA on the Web

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Am I the only one who’s noticed that CBS’ The Big Bang Theory is nowhere to be found on the Web, at least in full-episode mode.

It’s not available via web streaming, nor are episodes from this season available on iTunes. I discovered this the hard way the other day when I missed its regular Monday 8 p.m. airing. I went to CBS.com thinking I could easily catch up online. There were plenty of clips but no full episodes. Last season, full-length “Big Bang” adventures were readily available via CBS.com; I spent plenty of time watching them late at night when I should’ve been working on stories.

“Big Bang” studio Warner Bros. TV confirms the online rights are being held back to sweeten future syndication deals with local stations. Warner Bros. did the same thing with “Two and a Half Men” — local stations that paid big bucks for the off-net rights to the show also got the rights to stream segs on their station websites.

I understand the business logic of this approach, but in this era where viewers are accustomed to having on-demand access to top shows, it’s pennywise and pound foolish to not allow at least limited streaming or paid download access to a few recent segs — especially when so many other programs are so widely disbursed on the web.

When fans get the urge to hang with Sheldon and Leonard and the gang, you don’t want to make them hard to find.

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