If you have a “smartphone” (I realize that the term is probably now part of the official lexicon, but I still can’t resist putting it in quotes), you probably already know that Turner Classic Movies has launched a keen new app called Watch TCM, an extension of the “Watch TCM” streaming feature on their Web site. In conjunction with your own cable or satellite provider, you can now access the live West Coast and East Coast feeds for the Turner Classic Movies network, play up hundreds of movies currently on the TCM schedule on demand, and access a keen interactive schedule for planning your obsessive classic movie binges, among many other features.
As far as I can tell, DirectTV is not participating in the app as yet—each time I attempt to sign in I’m given a list of providers that are taking part and the satellite giant, which brings TCM into my home, is not listed as one of my options. (I have heard from a couple of other people who have said they do use Watch TCM with DirectTV, so maybe it’s just me that’s being frozen out.) TCM suggests that if your provider is not among those listed and you want to use Watch TCM on your phone to the full extent of its capabilities, it may just be a matter of time before they show up on the list, so you (and I) should just keep checking.
The knowledge of one other thing that got me pretty excited about Watch TCM this morning came courtesy of film critic and virtual pal Tony Dayoub, who sent a note out on Facebook this morning to me and fellow film writers David Cairns (Shadowplay), Glenn Kenny (Some Came Running) and Ivan G. Shreve (Thrilling Days of Yesteryear) asking us if we knew that the app was “syndicating” our blogs as part of an post aggregation feature called the TCM Blog Reader.
Well, it turns out that David, Glenn and Ivan had all been contacted by TCM earlier this year with the news, so it came as something less than a shock to them than it did to me-- I heard nothing about it until this morning. According to the official release for the TCM mobile app, The TCM Blog Reader “explore(s) great blog writing from across the Web featuring the latest news and great writing on classic film, personally selected from TCM staff writers.” Since none of us four are TCM staff writers, I guess what that sentence means is that the TCM staff writers have deemed our sites worthy of being featured in the reader, which publishes the first paragraph of the latest post, followed by a direct link to the blog in question for further reading. Even better, if you click on the icon for each specific blog rather than a specific story link, you will then be directed to a cleanly formatted, easy-to-navigate directory of recent posts for easy back-tracking—the one for SLIFR stretches back to June 2013.
Needless to say, this is not the sort of naked content grab many of us in the doin’-it-for-free blogosphere have witnessed (or been victimized by) in the past. TCM is not snatching our words and passing them off as their own; full credit is being given, as well as a nice avenue for potential further exposure of our writing sanctioned by a reputable and distinguished voice in the world of classic film and film preservation. There’s no reason not to be honored, and for me surprised, by our inclusion here. I am thrilled to be in the company of fine writers like Glenn, Ivan and David (for whom I will be returning to the world of the blog-a-thon next month at Shadowplay). I hope and full expect that we will help make watching TCM on Watch TCM even more exciting and entertaining and useful through the work that we do to convey our love of film from our own unique perspectives. Thanks, TCM, for inviting us to the party.