Network TV Execs Discover What Pirates Always Knew: Making Stuff Available Online Is Good Marketing

from the wait,-what? dept

Want to understand just how tone deaf and clueless the legacy entertainment industry players are these days? It appears that network TV execs have just discovered the brilliant idea of using the internet to pre-release TV shows in an effort to build up buzz and an audience who will watch the full series. The stunning thing here is that these are the very same companies who go absolutely ballistic if their works get “leaked” early online — and insist that criminal penalties are needed to stop this kind of action. It’s really quite amazing how these execs are coming to the same conclusion that pretty much every internet user came to years ago: just make the damn stuff available. Instead, they’re acting like it’s some big revelation:

The networks have embraced the idea — originally hatched by cable networks — of introducing initial episodes of their shows through other distribution outlets like YouTube before they have their premiere on their own schedules.

Yes, the same YouTube that Viacom is still trying to sue out of existence. The same YouTube that supporters of PIPA and SOPA still insist is really a den of “piracy” from which Google unfairly profits.

So, here’s a simple question: How much are these networks paying YouTube/Google for the use of YouTube’s software, bandwidth and audience? Nothing? Damn those TV networks… just wanting all that stuff for free. But, more to the point, if laws like PIPA and SOPA were put in place a few years ago, the networks wouldn’t even have a YouTube to do this. This is what’s most stunning about all of this. They seem to think that they’ve come up with something brilliant and new here, when this is all that “pirates” were doing earlier: putting stuff online to make it accessible. When “pirates” do it, it’s theft? And when companies do it, it’s some brilliant marketing scheme? How’s that work?

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Comments on “Network TV Execs Discover What Pirates Always Knew: Making Stuff Available Online Is Good Marketing”

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Michael says:

What I'd do

If I were working professionally in the film or music industry, I’d want as many people to see/hear my work as possible with the knowledge that if it’s a quality product people enjoy, they will eventually purchase it. Furthermore, I’d add incentives such as a good economically sound price-point, additional content and other goodies to help seal the deal.

THAT’S called being competitive and relevant in today’s marketplace.

MrWilson says:

Re: What I'd do

“if it’s a quality product people enjoy”

This is the problem. They want a serious return on all investments regardless of quality. If you have an awesome trailer for a crappy movie and no one can pirate it, you can have a decent opening weekend before everyone pans it and then Hollywood accounting your way to hidden profit.

Yes, I used Hollywood accounting as a verb.

Loki says:

There argument is easy to predict. It’s their content, and therefore they should be the one who should be able to monetize it.

The point they don’t seem to grasp is that if they’d done this 10, or even 5 years, ago themselves, there wouldn’t BE any (or at least as many) “pirates” doing it for them.

Yet again proving it’s not a legislation of enforcement issues but a business model issue.

pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Legally speaking it is a distinct difference.

One group had legal permission to distribute the content and the other didn’t.

Now, the movie studios are humungous hypocrites of course, but the facts and laws are quite clear – and out of date with modern life, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still apply.

We need to change the copyright laws to allow personal consumption or at least get the owners of the material to not prosecute those who distribute their works.

I’m not taking over under odds on either thing happening πŸ™

Loki says:

Re: Re:

I have never met anyone who couldn’t live very luxurious lives on $4 million a year (and I do in fact know people who make that kind of bank), much less $84 million.

$80 million could employ 2,000 at $20K (granted not a great living but you can survive) a year for 2 years. CEO’s cost Americans jobs.

Yogi says:


You have to read the whole article to really get the feel of how out of touch these people are. They’re talking about using the internet for marketing their products like nobody has been doing it for the past ten years. They’re really really excited about the potential of the internet. And there’s also this thing called YouTube where you can put up videos and other people can see them. Seriously – check it out…

Do these executives all live in caves in the Hills of Columbia? Why would anyone want to hire such blissfully ignorant idiots? Come to think of it, how stupid and out of touch are the people that hired these executives?

F-ing unbelievable.

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

WRONG. Wolverine made $85MM at the box office opening weekend. It fits in the bell curve perfectly: X1 ($54MM), X2 ($85MM), X3 ($103MM), W ($85MM), X4 ($55MM). Wolverine has the lowest lifetime to opening weekend ratio of all those movies, which means people went opening weekend because of buzz and then realized it was crap.

I, for one, would not have seen it in theatres if I hadn’t seen the workprint. I didn’t see X2 or X3 in theatres because of the reviews. I was curious to see how the final effects turned out on Wolverine.

The damages for leaking that print are actually negative, so they owe that guy money. (Of course, he still might be guilty of actual physical theft, too, which should be punished.)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I didn’t see X2 or X3 in theatres because of the reviews.”

Weird. I was going to question you as I thought X2 had very good reviews at the time, but it looks like it really depends on who you talked to. Rotten Tomatoes has 88% fresh, while Metacritic only has a score of 68.

Still, I watched it on DVD (as I was lukewarm on the first film), and have since bought a trilogy DVD boxset. Had I watched a pirated copy, no sales would have been lost, but I might have gone to see it on the big screen if I’d seen it at that time.

umb231 (profile) says:

so… should we flag all their stuff on youtube as inappropriate as they’d never use a company they’re suing like that and thus this must be some dirty impersonating freetard pirate?
or… should we contact their layers to get them to take it down for us? Might as well get the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing to work for us at least this one time.

Violated (profile) says:


This is no surprise to me when TV series productions have been making use of the Internet for a decade. They are one group of people who have always kept in close contact with their fans and benefit from their feedback.

When a new series starts in many ways their fanbase is a partnership with both sides wanting success. What most counts are the viewer ratings and advertising revenue when that is the simple aspect of what shows live and die.

So to release pre-airs of the first one, two or even three episodes is a critical part of business through drumming up a sizeable fanbase even before the first episode is broadcast.

You may also care to notice that these TV productions are a Hollywood media area who do not punish their fans for simply being fans and wanting to “enjoy” via file-sharing. Again nothing counts more than ratings and advertising revenue and true fans are often only happy to catch official broadcasts as well.

So no fault to them for being enlightened but of course their network bosses and copyright protection agencies would not approve which is why it remains an unspoken truth.

The Luke Witnesser says:

Here lies the truth about SOPA/PIPA that even TechDirt has yet to report: what MPAA, RIAA, and Hollywood execs do not want you to see.

The truth behind why these big companies responsible for SOPA and PIPA are also responsible for piracy itself is far more insidious than even their outmoded business model.

Can you say, do as I say so I can crush you under heel?

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