Why internet TV is failing and torrents are winning

by Shane Perris on Wednesday, 11 June, 2008

in opinions

I understand that content owners have licensing agreements around the world and feel that they can’t open up television programs globally to protect the financial investment of various regional licensees.

However, content owners, you need to understand that if you deny people a way to legally access your product simply on the basis of geographic location, they will get it anyway without you.  Once people realise they can get the same content more easily and at a better quality than anything you provide, they may never return to you as a paying customer ever again.

There is a market out there absolutely begging to be serviced. Unclench the fist or it will squeeze out through your fingers and be gone forever.

The WB

Hulu

 

Adobe Media Player

 

The Office Season 4 on The Pirate Bay

 

The Colbert Report on The Pirate Bay

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bonez June 19, 2008 at 0:25

just one of the many perfect reasons why bittorent and its successors are here to stay no matter what the riaa, mpaa and other global government acronyms do

2 Website Design June 19, 2008 at 0:37

Yeah torrents are definitely superior. I admire what sites like Hulu are doing. Taking something that normally would be inaccessible and making it public / free without legal repercussions. Torrents however are still well into the area of questionable content depending on what you are downloading.

3 Xane June 19, 2008 at 1:23

Yeah, I love the TV show “Doctor Who” and I don’t get the channel here, and it’s website is UK only, and seeing as I live in the US my only option is to get a torrent, I’d love to support them by looking at their ads but they just won’t let me.

4 Jeff June 19, 2008 at 2:33

This is HUGE. I am in Canada and therefore there are very few ways to watch TV eps legally other than catching them when they air.

Currently I use Torrents for the most part, but have bought a few through iTunes, mind you this is VERY limited.

Studios have to start to thinking about the users that have the money (me) and opening everything up. Before long I am sure to be too frustrated and simply give up and go with the flow of the masses…..to torrents.

5 shane June 19, 2008 at 8:44

Thanks for your comments guys. By and large, I agree with what you are saying.

What really gets me is that people really do want to pay for the content. A lot of us understand that content costs money to create and it’s only fair that people receive compensation for their efforts, whether through ad-supported streaming or pay-per-download arrangements like iTunes.

The studios face the risk of an entire generation being raised to think that downloading for free is normal and won’t understand why they should pay. Anecdotally I see this with teenagers and music. TV content is next.

6 Ziggy June 19, 2008 at 13:20

Bonez, the RIAA and MPAA are neither governmental nor global. Also there are now global governmental agencies because there is no global government.

7 Ziggy June 19, 2008 at 13:22

I meant that there are no global governmental agencies because there is no global government.

8 shane June 19, 2008 at 15:37

@Ziggy

You are right but to an outsider the **AA do seem to have an amazing influence over a significant proportion of the US Government. This does have global knock-on effects.

For example, witness the number of times the period of copyright has been increased in the US since the 1970s (I’m all for copyright but death + 75 years?). Here in Australia our copyright laws were arguably degraded in order to match US laws following the Free Trade Agreement signed between the two nations.

You shouldn’t discount the power that the US Govt can bring to bear on UN umbrella agencies such as the World Intellectual Property Organization when it pushes its own **AA influenced agenda on a global stage.

While *AA aren’t government, and government isn’t ‘global’, the potential for power and influence is still there.

9 Andi June 19, 2008 at 16:31

@Xane:

SciFi channel shows Dr. Who, and is available on basic cable where I live. Perhaps it’s available to you.

10 Neopopulas June 19, 2008 at 16:56

And its not just TV either, though it mostly is. For example, in australia, we just don’t get some TV shows, ever. Some are delayed by an entire year. All my online friends are talking about a TV show i won’t get to see for a WHOLE YEAR. If i try and get it streaming from places like this, WHOOPS, apparently i’m not good enough for these shows. So what do i do? I get it on a torrent, sorry.

But it isn’t just TV shows. Movies are delayed, games are delayed (we STILL don’t have rock band here) and so on, and if there is no way you will let me have something YOUR way, then it’ll just have to go around you and get it some other way. Its called globalization, its not that hard to ship things here, its certainly not that hard if its DIGITAL (I’m looking at you TV/online game sales.) I’m sick of seeing “We’re sorry, this server is only available to American and Canadian locations”

Jesus christ..

11 Neopopulas June 19, 2008 at 17:05

PS: Not to mention its sort of offensive “You gotta be in the USA to roll with us” obviously we’re not down to roll with you, you have to be American.

Its not just streaming video – as i said above – another one that REALLY miffs me is http://www.wowio.com/ Completely free downloading of comics, support the artists, they get commissions. OH WAIT, you aren’t in the US? Well screw off then.

So what do i do? I find other, less legal ways of getting the same things…

12 shane June 19, 2008 at 21:17

@Neopopulas

PS: Not to mention its sort of offensive “You gotta be in the USA to roll with us” obviously we’re not down to roll with you, you have to be American.

That really annoyed the hell out of me. When TheWB had a pre-launch beta signup, I looked all through the site very carefully. There was no point signing up if it was just going to be another Hulu. NOWHERE did it say it was geo-filtered, and at no stage during the signup process was I asked what country I lived in.

Sure, I can use a proxy like Hotspot Shield but why should I have to?

Duncan Riley calls this “geo-retarded”. I used to think it was kind of childish but as each day passes, I agree with it more and more.

13 2pants June 23, 2009 at 11:27

If you live in some countries like Canada then it’s not an issue of whether or not companies would like to provide you with content. Our government prevents legitimate businesses from providing content unless the can follow our Canadian content laws.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_content
Unfortunately at least %90 of Canadian content sucks donkey balls.

14 dexter June 23, 2009 at 15:27

well guess living in the US is good for something.

15 Andreas` June 23, 2009 at 18:19

I live in Holland and I thought I could view sort of everything.. but no, damn topgear:
url

16 Def June 25, 2009 at 6:41

I want to get rid my cable company ! I have vonage now – Why can’t we see something like vonage Net TV in the future ? These cable companies are a joke ! 80% Of the TV shows are garbage and im paying for it ! EDIT

17 Tina June 26, 2009 at 13:57

They treat a lot of paying people like pirate as well and they block us from so many thing we want, So we skip over all that pay in the ass work to get whats free and easy.

18 Iain July 3, 2009 at 23:55

Xane: Because the BBC are funded through people in the UK paying TV licences. Because of this, the BBC runs without adverts, which is brilliant: none of this turning a 40 minute programme into an hour long one. This means that the BBC iplayer follows this practice too, which means 2 things:
1. People living in the UK who own a TV have payed the licence fees, and therefore have the right to use iPlayer.
2. The BBC can barely afford the bandwidth costs as it is, never mind the bandwidth usage if it were opened up to the the entire world.

That said, it would be nice if there were no restrictions on stuff like this. I’d like to be able to use Hulu, but its US only.

19 Disson July 7, 2009 at 15:02

Also some apps from the iTunes store for iphone cannot be bought unless your in the US.

witch sucks coz there is some pretty cool apps :(

20 Anonymous July 14, 2009 at 8:18

> just one of the many perfect reasons why bittorent and its successors are here to stay no matter what the riaa, mpaa and other global government acronyms

Thankfully, they’re not related to the government in any way, or we’d be screwed.

21 John July 24, 2009 at 8:03

Anyone who still uses torrents is WAAYY behind the times. I can watch multiple shows online in the time it takes to download one torrent.
The problem with this article, is their bases for comparison is wrong, SO wrong. Using Hulu and the WB as benchmarks is ridiculous, when there are sites like SurftheChannel.com, and Tvshack.com that contain THOUSANDS of TV episodes, new and old, from multiple sources. And many of them are available as soon as they air on TV.

22 40f's July 26, 2009 at 23:27

Read the article before posting. He is not complaining about lack of content, he is complaining about the content not being available in other countries.

23 Pete April 15, 2014 at 22:48

And I’m here from the future!

Here it is in 2014, and Game Of Thrones is the most pirated programme in Australia because of this very problem.

Those who want it can’t get it on iTunes, can’t stream it, can’t do shit.

They have to wait until the delayed series has finished on cable (not worth their minimum sub just to get it) and then they can legally pay for it by download.

Dumbasses. (Cable companies)

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