The whole pirated video/music controversy has been getting on my nerves lately. Let me say upfront that I think the people who make the crap should get paid by the people who watch/listen/use it. But I am really getting sick and tired of Hollywood and the music industry making me WANT to go down load an illegal copy of something. I’m sure I am not pointing out anything that hasn’t already been said before when I say that the industry is sitting there in stagnation, afraid to move forward because they are scared of messing with the overly profitable system they have in place. Afraid that the actual people making the product are going to realize there are a awful lot of people in-between them and the customer who aren’t really needed and who are taking more than their fair share of the profit.
According to various sources the United Kingdom is the largest downloader of pirated television shows followed by Australia and then the United States. Living here in Australia now it is so easy to see why. I am sick and tired of hearing about a cool new show and then having to wait 8 months to see it. We just finally saw the season 1 finale of Lost just a few weeks ago. The U.S. premere of season 2 starts the 22nd while we have to wait till sometime NEXT YEAR! I can rent the entire new season of Dr. Who at Blockbuster down the street and it hasn’t even finished airing here yet. And it isn’t just that we are getting the shows late, the television companies here just don’t seem to get that people are really sick of them moving the damn shows around and having them pre-empted every 3rd week for some other show. I accidentally learned who won last season’s Survivor, American Idol, and The Amazing Race before they were finished airing here. (Yes, we started watching Survivor but in my defense it’s become a social thing where a bunch of us take turns going to each other’s places for dinner and to watch the show. As for the other two shows all I can say is that the TV is on while I play game on my computer. Please don’t think any less of me.)
Anyway, the last straw was when I noticed a link on Yahoo’s front page saying “Watch the entire first episode of ‘Supernatural’ now”. So I clicked on it. I like the supernatural thriller type stuff so I figured I’d give it a shot. I clicked the link to watch the show and got: “We’re sorry, this content is restricted to users in a predetermined viewing area.” Well you know what? That just makes me want to go out and download an illegal copy. And then download the entire series with the commercials edited out! Assuming it doesn’t suck, this is the WB we are talking about.
I read that Season one of the new Battlestar Galactica was the most downloaded show ever so far. Easy to see why, it was aired in the UK first and there are a lot more people in the U.S. A lot more people who didn’t want to wait for them to get around to airing so they could watch it.
The solution has been talked for as long as I can remember. It’s the 21st century and I am over us not having the flying cars I was promised in my science fiction, but I am really pissed that the technology isn’t in place for TV on demand. I should be able to turn on my TV by now, sort through a menu, and watch any previously broadcast TV show. All the existing networks just add their content to the overall library for a fee. They pay for that fee with commercials. I tell my TV receiver the relevant information about me and whomever else is living in my house and it shows me relevant commercials. I don’t have to tell them who I am exactly just my information. The networks just know that there a household containing two people one male and one female that spent watched season 1 and half of season 2 of Futurama this weekend. That’s one lesson the marketing demons really need to learn, we would be less reluctant to tell them all of our demographic information if we didn’t have to actually identify ourselves.