There is a very interesting post over on TorrentFreak about the incredibly high number of TV shows illegally (though I have yet to hear of any prosecution for this in the vein of what RIAA has been doing in the music industry) being downloaded and viewed via BitTorrent.
“It is safe to say that BitTorrent is slowly replacing Tivo. Some episodes of popular TV-shows such as “Lost”, “Prison Break” and “Heroes” get up to 10 million downloads per episode, spread over hundreds of sites. This number is getting awfully close to the average number of viewers on TV in the US. However, the major difference is that the BitTorrent “viewers” come from all over the world.”
While Neilsen’s numbers I posted yesterday are interesting, they simply don’t account for the massive amount of TV that is being watched in this manner. Aside from confirming that far more people are watching extensive amounts of content from the web than is being generally reported, it is also serving as a wake-up call to some of the more established players:
“Anne Sweeney -the president of the Disney-ABC television group- admitted that she was “inspired” after seeing a pirated copy of the hit-show “Desperate Housewives”. The pirated copy of this popular TV show was the main reason (besides the money) for Disney to sell their shows online. “Coming ‘face to face’ with the high-quality, commercial-free pirated version (of Desperate Housewives) told Disney that it was not just competing with other broadcasters, but with digital pirates and as such was an experience that prompted us to do the iTunes deal with Apple.” Sweeney said at the time.”
This is something Mason talks about in The Pirate’s Dilemma – the fact that legitimate players MUST find a way to compete with Pirates if they want to remain in business. The only way to do that is to change their practices to better serve the consumer. All the Pirates are doing is giving people what they want – a completely open copy of the show they can watch on any device.