- Um, Bravo?
I have to shake my head in utter bewilderment when it comes to how the networks are fighting to come to grips with distribution in the digital age.
While sites like Hulu and apps like Boxee are great steps, they still make it impossible to watch shows outside of a stable WiFi hotspot. What is this great fear of portability all about? Why can I watch the show on my computer but not my iPhone. Why can I watch it in my apartment but not on the subway.
Obviously, there is a pretty simple way for me to solve this problem: if I want to take a show with me I download it from a BitTorrent site like PirateBay. There I can get the complete episode in an open format that I can covert easily and move to my iPhone. I also get the episode completely commercial-free.
What leaves me baffled is why the networks don’t simply offer a downloadable version with embedded ads. Sure, I like ad-free but I’d rather get my entertainment through approved channels if possible. Just like I, and many others, are happy to put up with ads on Hulu in exchange for free content, the same would go for content I download.
Instead, in some vain attempt to, um, protect their DVD sales(?) they force me to go get content from a “pirate” site and lose the potential ad revenue, too.
Probably due to my own prejudices, I have always assumed that men were more likely than women to be downloading pirated materal.
However, according to TorrentFreak, the top two TV shows downloaded last week were “Desperate Housewives” and “Gossip Girl.” Now it is completely possible that these numbers are due to men who don’t want to admit they watch these shows but I don’t think so.
Instead, I think this indicates that women are quickly becoming just as active in pirating video as men. More and more, I believe that the generation growing up right now will be the first to demonstrate little gender difference when it comes to the use of technology.
None of this explains why “Prison Break” remains one of the top pirated shows every single week…
I am just tickled pink by this Firefox add-on that gives you a “free” option while shopping at Amazon:
“The timing of the ‘Pirates of the Amazon‘ launch could not have been more (un)fortunate. At the busiest time of the year for on- and offline retailers, this Firefox browser add-on offers users a download link to pirated copies of products that can normally be found in the Amazon online store.” (via)
In other words, if you look up “Pirates of the Caribbean” this is what you see:
Clicking on “Download for Free” takes you to The Pirate Bay, a Swedish BitTorrent site, where you can, should you wish to take the legal risk, in fact download a copy of the movie for free.
What does this really all mean? Well, it certainly isn’t a legitimate threat to Amazon’s bottomline – yet. It is, however, a warning to all producers of things that can be freely copied and distributed that they had better make sure the paid version is worth the price.
According to the MPAA, movie piracy is a huge problem that could jeopordize the entire industry. The problem with this theory is that they simply can’t back up the claims with any legitimate data.
Here’s a great example of why they’re full of hot air. The Dark Knight has already made over $1,000,000,000 worldwide and stands to make a hell of a lot more in ancillary markets (DVD, VOD, etc). Yet, the film is also the number one pirated movie on BitTorrent:
“This week, in another round of leaks, DVD-rips of ‘The Dark Knight’ found their way to BitTorrent. Unsurprisingly, given the commercial success of the movie, these were downloaded well over a million times in just a few days.”
So, potentially the number one grossing film of all-time may also be the most pirated of all-time. Explain to me again how this is hurting your core business…
Nine Inch Nails, and Trent Reznor in particular, has been a pretty outspoken advocate of ditching the “major labels” and embracing digital distribution and all of its opportunities and challenges.
TechDirt has a great update of the some the band’s schemes, including hiding tickets around LA and posting coordinates on their website. Of this, TechDirt says:
“While it may be a little silly, it is yet another way for Reznor to build up a really loyal fanbase. He’s making being a fan fun.”
I think that’s a brilliant observation. They’re making being a fan fun. Think about that. How often are things about being a fan not fun? Standing in line in the rain is not fun. Having to deal with TicketMaster is definitely NOT fun. By making “fun” a key part of being a fan, Nine Inch Nails is showing just how they’ve remained relevant for so long in such a volatile market.
My favorite source for all things torrent, TorrentFreak, has word on the CBC’s (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) plans for a torrent-based release:
“CBC, Canada’s public television broadcaster has plans to release the upcoming TV-show “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister” for free via BitTorrent. This makes CBC the first North-American broadcaster to embrace the popular filesharing protocol.”
This is a pretty big step, even when you consider, according to some comments on the TF site, that the show in question is not considered a big draw.
TechCrunch has a look at the attempts of Yahoo to block folks who are searching for the infamous bittorent site, PirateBay.
When I tried to search for it myself I received NO direct links to the site on Yahoo.
However, when I did the same search on Google, the Pirate Bay was the top hit.
Not sure what Yahoo is hoping to accomplish from this effort aside from confirming that they are not really competing with Google in terms of comprehensive search. It is certainly not illegal to search for the site, nor is it illegal for Yahoo to provide the link.
This is a very scary prelude to what might come as more sites we consider trustworthy turn out to be making a lot of censoring decisions without your input.