In what was an entirely predictable result of a stupid decision, the number of people illegally downloading Fox TV shows has increased over the past week. Rupert Murdoch and his out-of-date cronies really don’t get it, do they.
Fox’s Eight-Day Delay
Fox recently instituted an eight-day delay between a show airing on television and being available to view online on Fox.com or on Hulu. The idea was to ensure only those who pay for the privilege get to watch these shows the day after transmission.
In reality, thanks to Fox only signing up one distributor before launch, the vast majority of people are being made to wait more than a week to catch up on the Web. Which most people who are very into their favorite shows just aren’t going to be able to do. Cue the obvious result of this doomed plan.
Viewers Respond… With Piracy
According to TorrentFreak, in the five days after the new authentication system was introduced, the number of downloads of both Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef more than doubled.
Sure, this isn’t the most scientific study ever conducted, but it’s clear evidence that people will very quickly turn to alternative sources when their first choice for viewing online is taken away. And the legality or otherwise of these sources isn’t a major concern for most individuals. After all, doesn’t everyone do it?
Who is the head honcho of Fox? One Rupert Murdoch, of course. And he really doesn’t like the impact the Internet has had on how we consume content. He’s already placed most of his newspapers behind paywalls, even though we can read the same news elsewhere for free, and now he’s trying to do the same with television.
It won’t work. It really is as simple as that. There will always be a way around the system, and this kind of move only serves to harm the networks.
I’m not saying piracy or file-sharing is correct or a good thing, necessarily. But it is what most people will do when they’re prevented from watching their favorite TV shows by legitimate means. The sooner Fox and others realize this the sooner they and their viewers will meet in the middle.
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