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Slow TV networks driving viewers to piracy?

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 04 Apr 2005 7:55 User comments (13)

Slow TV networks driving viewers to piracy? According to a report by Alex Malik, a former general counsel for the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), TV networks that are slow to air new episodes of popular TV shows are forcing their viewers to turn to alternative methods like BitTorrent sites. Usually when a TV episode is aired in the U.S. for the first time, you could find it quite easy on BT sites and P2P networks within a few hours. Impatient TV viewers prefer to wait a few hours after the show is initially aired to view it rather than waiting a matter of months to see it on their local TV networks.
According to the report, on forums about popular TV shows, one in three conversations touches on where and how to pirate those TV shows. "It's difficult to put a number on it because not a lot of people talk about (online pirating) especially since it's illegal. It's similar to illegal music file sharing...Not a lot of people admit to it, but there is a substantial amount happening," he said. Malik's research showed that Australians have to wait an average of eight months to see first-run episodes of popular programs from overseas.

Some Australian networks also delay the shows until times where overall viewing becomes low. "These delays provide a window of opportunity for viewers to upload TV programs after their American broadcast date, thereby making them available to viewers outside of the U.S., and viewers within the U.S. who may have missed the program." Malik said. To download TV shows, all you really need is BitTorrent installed, a decent Internet connection and the address of a good torrent site. "While there are no accurate Australian BitTorrent usage figures, anecdotal evidence and reports from online forums suggest that Australians are downloading TV programs in large quantities," Malik said.

According to a past survey by Envisional, Australia is the second largest downloader of pirated TV programs (15.6%) behind the United Kingdom (18.5%) and just ahead of the United States (7.3%). The report said that increased bandwidth, technological advances and a high demand of U.S.-based TV shows are some of the reasons for the boom in online piracy. The report also said that around 70% of the piracy occurs through BitTorrent.


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13 user comments

14.4.2005 10:19

I still don't get it. Whats the big deal over TV shows. Ya record it with a VCR, So what. You saying I can't take the tape over to a friend to watch. Ya got to be kidding.

24.4.2005 10:34

Hey bkf, Nope...can't do any of that. It was debated years ago over using beta and vhs to make archival copies of stuff you wanted to view later. Well that was kindly thrown out. Now, we are in a much more advanced technical age. And, at this moment, well, I'll let you read this for yourself:,aid,119041,00.asp So, as you can see...the debate wages on! ;)

"From now on we are poison to you Spider-man...Thats why we call ourselves...VENOM"

34.4.2005 10:54

Now, they should come to the conclusion that show´s should be aired at the same time in 'all' countries. Or atleast a few days later to add subtitles :p But months? No, who can and wants to wait that long? I sure as hell don't.

44.4.2005 13:06

I don't pirate TV shows, unless it's something rare such as a missed episode. However, slow TV networks are very frustrating to me. I mean, when they show the 10th rerun of Smallville for no apparent reason other than that "It's Smallville time!", while the Smallville cliffhanger episode before left me drooling for the next episode, it's very annoying. And when they finally show what was supposed to be the next episode, they've pissed off enough viewers to let the ratings dropped. UK television channels are even worse than the Canadian counterparts, and you only get 5 channels compared to the "normal" 50 Cable channels I get. Therefore, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER TV SHOWS!

54.4.2005 14:00

Venom: Just read that link. Im just sitting here shaking my head.

64.4.2005 14:07

Hehe, yeah, I read about that a while ago...I was just as shocked as you are. ;)

74.4.2005 14:39

That is the only thing that I download. I say if you get the channal on your t.v it is ok.

84.4.2005 17:41

DL'ing a TV show isn't piracy! There is absolutely nothing anyone could say to convice me otherwise. This crap is going way too far!!

95.4.2005 2:16

"I still don't get it. Whats the big deal over TV shows" Hmm commercial free HDTV with 5.1 surround sound, and able to watch on my own accord as opposed to the networks primetime? Ohh and did you forget it's free as opposed to the 60$ cable bill? Yeah I just dont get it either :(.

105.4.2005 4:33

i can't really see anything wrong with this, especially when a t.v show isn't even shown in a certain country. (goes off to watch brand new dr.who episode [not shown in australia, and doubt it will be])

115.4.2005 9:23

Guys, Its all about the money and control. They want to sell you the content, yes even free TV shows. You all have seen the latest, selling TV show series on DVD. The MPAA and networks are looking at this as a source of revenue. If you can't record it they can sell it to you later. If you ask me this will just cause the demise (read reduced viewership) of TV and movies, much the same way the RIAA has impacted their business partners. Did you see the latest AL Gore capmpaign? He, along with others are trying to lure the younger demographic back to TV. This must mean the younger crowd likes gaming, the Internet and getting out and socializing better than watching TV, hence fewer are watching. Interesting isn't it? They are doing it to themselves if you ask me and they are trying to get the government to help them fix this instead of fixing it themselves by reworking their business models and strategies. Starcruiser

1211.4.2005 1:30

[quoteI say if you get the channal on your t.v it is ok.

I agree. I'm never home when Blind Justice airs at 10 pm on Tuesdays (USA time), and I never got to see the pilot episode until I downloaded it. And now that Jonny Zero got cancelled, the only way I can watch the rest of the season that is airing in Canada is to download it. I don't think downloading TV shows is piracy in my case, piracy in my situation is this: Because they have chosen to use the words Pirating, Piracy, and Pirated, we think of Pirates right? So to them, I basically attacked their ship, called it mine, and benefited from it, like selling it with everyrthing on it and recieving cash that should be theirs. Well, I actually don't have a term for what I did, but because I was working making my own money, I miss a TV show that aired on a channel I pay for at a time I was earning the money to pay for the channel in the first place. So in my situation, they can **** themselves for all I care (MPAA, FCC, whoever else has a stick up their arse about it) lol.

132.6.2005 13:35

When all of this MPAA crap started, it eas announced that they {MPAA} was not concerned about someone downloading TV or early movies. The quote went something like "We do not care if someone is downloading It's a Wonderfull Life or early episodes of Have Gun, Will Travel,...we are only interested in those supplying new movies..." I think they discovered two things. The lawyers found a new revinue source and the intertainment world saw dollar bills in all those old movies and TV shows. The argument that it puts people out of work does not fly. Everybody involved with a movie or TV show have alredy been paid when the thing was made. Unless they have started paying grips, painters, and the canteen truck residuals for each time there is a showing, the only people that can be effected is the studios and the producers. 99 percent of the actors are eather paid by the day or have a contract that pays so much per picture. According to the real facts and figures, the fat cats are making more money than they ever have had...They just want more. The MPAA figures their loss that each copy of a download should be paid for so there for that is money that they have lost. They figure that each person that downloads something would have paid to see their work. They do not account for people that download, like what they see and then go to a theatre or buy a DVD or tape. They also don't account for people that wouldn't have gone to see or buy anything in the first place. Inflated numbers are always used in law and politics. Remember, there were 42 homless people dying every minute in the US. If you run the numbers, every man, woman, and child in the US would be dead in 3 years, but the politicians claimed that this has been going on for decades........We are not supposed to think, just react....

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