Earlier this football season I was frustrated at rarely being able to see my Pittsburgh Steelers on TV. Every NFL game is filmed and broadcast somewhere, and no more than 7 games take place at any one time. My cable system has hundreds of channels. So why can't I watch any NFL game I want to? The national broadcast networks and cable sports channels alone could broadcast every NFL game. Dozens of national cable channels would also jump at the chance to get such highly-rated programming. It's already being filmed, so why not distribute it? It would generate more revenue and more fans.
I'm similarly frustrated by poker on TV. Every day, all over the world, people go to great lengths to find poker programming from sources other than the shows' owners... because the owners don't make the shows available to them. People go to the trouble of recording shows, converting them, and uploading them to sites like YouTube, PokerTube, or The Poker Bay for others to watch or download. All that work is unpaid, but people do it anyway. Most potential viewers will still never know that they could find a show in those places. So why aren't shows' owners making them more widely available in the first place?
I'm a big fan of the the ad-supported television model, which has given us all these free shows. I think the shows' owners should be the ones hosting ad-supported streaming videos and torrents in places where viewers can easily find them (e.g. the shows' sites, network sites, and YouTube). Some shows are starting to do this: old High Stakes Poker episodes are available ad free on YouTube and new Poker After Dark episodes are available with ads on NBC's web site.
The few broadcasters that used to produce DVDs of poker shows seem to have stopped. Perhaps they can't make a profit with their high cost structures, but there are thousands of entrepreneurs out there that could produce DVDs cheaply and would love to pay a royalty to sell them. Remember, many people are already creating torrents or streams of these shows for free.
If I want to watch a European poker show I download a torrent. If a European wants to watch an American show they probably have to download a torrent or find a stream as well. Even in America I regularly hear complaints from people who can't watch High Stakes Poker because they don't get GSN. Why not just make every episode of every show freely available as ad-supported streams and torrents and paid DVDs?
See also our advice on downloading and streaming poker TV shows.