Fox TV Finally Realizes The Internet Is Global: Launches Show Around The Globe Simultaneously

from the well,-look-at-that dept

We’ve talked, at length about the ridiculousness of regional restrictions when it comes to content on the internet. So, to some extent, it’s nice to see that News Corp./Fox is actually more or less admitting that such restrictions are silly and has released a new TV show simultaneously around the globe:

But this week, News Corporation is staging a worldwide premiere of “Touch,” a new drama starring Kiefer Sutherland that celebrates the very kind of interconnectivity that will allow the show to start almost simultaneously in 100 countries and territories. In the United States it will appear on the Fox network on Thursday night; in Canada, on Global Television; in Germany, on ProSieben; in Russia, on Channel One.

The worldwide rollout will allow American viewers to react to “Touch” in almost real time with viewers on other continents and in other languages, presuming, of course, that they are motivated enough to do so.

Of course, part of what made that happen was they were able to find a global advertiser (Unilever) to agree to put its ads everywhere. What’s still amazing to me, however, is that in 2012 this is still considered a “big thing.” This should have been done a decade ago, at least. Because while the networks are finally waking up to this, internet users had routed around them ages ago anyway.

To Tim Kring, the show’s creator, the shift is stark. In spring 2007, six months after his show “Heroes” started in the United States, he watched hundreds of “Heroes” fans line up for an event in Paris, even though the show had yet to be seen on television in France.

“Every single person there had seen every episode. They had all gotten it illegally off the Internet,” he said in an interview. It was then, he said, that he realized, “Audiences will find these shows no matter where they are.”

And yet, here we are in 2012 and it’s still “big news” that a show and TV network realize this. Progress certainly seems to come slowly to some industries…

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Companies: fox, news corp

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Comments on “Fox TV Finally Realizes The Internet Is Global: Launches Show Around The Globe Simultaneously”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: french freetards

This is OBVIOUSLY just a ploy by Big Piracy and Big Google (or big search or whatever) to try to make themselves look good.

The only way business can be done is to keep doing it the same way, regardless of how this succeeds or fails (and the show looks kinda awful, so probably fails). That story of freetards paying for something is OBVIOUSLY fake.

(seeing if I can help add onto yours ๐Ÿ™‚

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Say what?

“And it took 5 years to sink in?”

While I think he was foolish not to have realised the facts before, let’s be fair to the guy. This is the first project he’s produced following Heroes, and he probably wouldn’t have been able to change Fox’s strategy on that show partway through its run. This is probably the first chance he’s had to do this since the facts sunk in.


Re: Say what?

And the only thing he can say is that they got the shows “illegaly”! Not “Oh! Wow! We got fans we didn’t know about”. Didn’t it seem funny there would be an “event” for a show that technically didn’t exist in that country? Maybe their Pres can get such activity deemed “hate speech” and problem solved.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (profile) says:

Re: Say what?

This is how it’s gone every single time for decades:
1. Non-music/movie people tell music and movie industries good idea.
2. Music and movie industries ridicule the idea and try to outlaw it.
3. 5-10 years later, music and movie industries realize idea actually was good, implement it, and make tons of money.

The only true innovation either industry has done in many decades – something that they weren’t mandated to do by external parties – has been coming up with new ways to 1. give paying customers less for their money (DRM), 2. sell the same thing to each customer more times (windows, pay per view, charging for format-shifting, etc.).

Perhaps we should start patenting these ideas and make the music and movie industries pay something for using these ideas they make their fortunes off of. Naaah, history has just shown they’ll go somewhere where patent enforcement is weak. That was the entire reason Hollywood was created, after all.

PaulT (profile) says:

While I can’t help but shake my head at the fact that American producers are still completely blind to worldwide marketplace realities, kudos to him for making this change. They’re still at least a decade behind the things people like myself have been saying all along, but nice of them to catch up.

Now, if only Fox tries applying the same thing to their other properties, especially some of the sillier licencing they have (e.g. Family Guy not being available for iPlayer playback in the UK despite being on BBC3 every single day)…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s definitely a step in the right direction. The only show I remember doing something like this recently was the Lost Finale, which I had to get up at ~5am to watch “live”.

American TV shows are pretty much the only thing I still regularly pirate, because even waiting a few days for some of the most popular shows to air in the UK is way too long; never mind the ones which take weeks or months to make their way over here, if they get here at all!

Are the Americans finally waking up to the idea that media consumption and the internet are both global and instant?

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Are the Americans finally waking up to the idea that media consumption and the internet are both global and instant?

What, you mean like how Dr. Who airs the same day on the left side of the pond as it does on the right? Oh, wait…

Stupidity is global. We yanks don’t have a monopoly on it or even a majority share of the market.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“What, you mean like how Dr. Who airs the same day on the left side of the pond as it does on the right? Oh, wait…”

Hit a nerve there did I? Sorry.

The BBC have an outdated business model, too. It just happens to be a business model that’s legally enforced upon them, so the situation is rather different. I’ll happily criticise their lack of global ability too, but it’s hardly the same situation, and they are at least making visible attempts to change despite the legal and licencing restrictions forced upon them by their history. There’s no real reason that the American commercial stations have their current policy other than “this is how it’s always worked” and “change is hard and we’re scared of losing a cash cow”.

“Stupidity is global. We yanks don’t have a monopoly on it or even a majority share of the market.”

But, it is your corporations who are leading the way in this area. I’ll criticise Canadian, Australian and Japanese networks in the same way, but most shows that have truly global appeal do come from the US.

The Mighty Buzzard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Hit a nerve there did I? Sorry.

It does tend to grate on the nerves after a while, hearing how we badly we suck from every other nation all the time.

…but most shows that have truly global appeal do come from the US.

Fuck knows why. Most of the shows turned out here lately blow chunks. There’s not a single one that can stack up against Dr. Who or even Misfits airing this year.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I’ve spent fairly good lengths of time in both the UK and US. I can assure you that the content on both sides of the pond tends to suck equally across the board.

The good stuff tends to get filtered out either by its nature or its quality, and would do anyway. For every Dr Who, there’s a crappy rip-off or pale imitation that never gets sold abroad, just as there is for every The Wire or even Jersey Shore. Sadly, crappy soaps, half-baked “factual” shows and reality shows are as common both sides of the pond. The only thing that tends to be better in the UK is the news media, at least IMHO.

If it seems like there’s more crap over there, it just means you’re exposed to more homegrown turds than foreign ones. All the more reason to demand access to the good stuff when it’s still relevant.

Manfred Manfriend says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

>>But, it is your corporations who are leading the way in this area. I’ll criticise Canadian, Australian and Japanese networks in the same way, but most shows that have truly global appeal do come from the US.

Not the guy you were talking with, but I’d like to address this due to the sheer fatigue I get over seeing it all the time…

Basically I question the degree to which those corporations you refer to can be called “our” country’s corporations. They may have started in the USA, but most of them have long since abandoned any pretense at being an American company over the years. They don’t pay taxes here, they don’t hire here, nor do they manufacture their products here…at what point despite having a physical presence (legacy presence?) here do they stop being an American company? Bear in mind that almost any one you could name also has multiple offices in other countries as well…

I would argue that Globalism has altered the equation enough that it is foolishness to blame the people of the country in which they live for actions of their continent spanning corporate masters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

American TV shows are pretty much the only thing I still regularly pirate, because even waiting a few days for some of the most popular shows to air in the UK is way too long

Are you kidding me? That sounds like you have a problem. If your life can’t go on because, god forbid, a TV show is airing somewhere in the world and you can’t see it, I have some advice: grow the fuck up.

Seriously. Are these jealousy issues?

People can’t possibly be this terrible. I know way too many awesome human specimens and this obsession with TV does not jibe with the reality I find. Where are all of you TV junkies hiding? Oh, wait, I answered my own question. Life must have become so much more efficient for you ever since you’ve been able to watch TV on your computer. That heavy shuffle across a valley of Fritos bags from the computer desk to your couch was quite an arduous trek, right? Thank the gods you don’t have to do that anymore. Progress!!!

What the fuck is wrong with the rest of the world? American TV is terrible. No… ALL TV is terrible. Even the shows I like are mostly piles of garbage. I’ve never lost a wink of sleep because I was worried about not knowing what happened on Breaking Bad last night. How can your lives be so devoid of substance that you actually rearrange your schedule and morals around, and I hope you hear this, A FUCKING TELEVISION SHOW?!?!

You all talk such big game, but it seems the truth of the matter is that you’re all couch-potato’d zombies suckling at the teet of the MPAA and American television studios. Isn’t online user-generated content supposed to be the best thing “EVAARRR!” ? Watch that instead.

Aren’t we all “content creators” now? Why are you watching TV? Create something! It’s “so damn easy” and “cheap,” right?

Pathetic. If you’re not willing to create the world you want, then you deserve the shitty one that’s handed to you for free.

Digital Consumer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sorry to tell you, but as Americans, we don’t speak other languages, so we have an anti-translation technology to stop other countries from translating our pirated shows. For those in the UK, we try to spell out color and armor as many times as we can until they shut the show off in disgust.

-Enraged Brit, “WHERE IS THE FRICKIN “U” WANK?!?!!

Anonymous Coward says:

I have no idea as to what this show is, and I’ll still watch it. If this show can be a success, one can only hope that more networks would realize how silly their regional restrictions are.

For me here in finland, even if I wanted to do all of my tv watching legally itd be I possible since most tv shows are never licensed here and thus never air.

kamjam (profile) says:

A real annoyance of mine and no doubt countless other users is when I follow a show or person or something on Facebook and they post a message saying so and so did an internet, check out this clip of the show, remember this scene etc etc. I click on it and boom “sorry, this video has been disabled for your geographical region”. What a bunch on douches, seriously, you have users all over the world, cater for it, not difficult!

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually, it is a huge thing – very expensive, more or less it’s like playing $10 blackjack and betting your entire stack of chips on every hand for no reason.

If the show fails, you have all the time and expense and effort of the various language versions to deal with, the costs of promotion in each country, and so on. Instead of facing just one or two markets worth of risk, you face risks in all the markets at once.

If the show fails, they go down in flames big time.

Most mitigate their risks by not debuting the same show in all markets at the same time, and instead running for a while in a single market to see if it works. When it does (and they don’t all work, the numbers don’t lie), then they expand it out to many markets.

It sounds so nice to premiere it everywhere, but damn, that’s a huge financial gamble.

Jake (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I can not really buy that. The cost of actually broadcasting it in more markets is not that much and there is nothing requiring all the marketing in all markets. They could just as easily broadcast it in all markets, but only market it in a few test markets, using those to judge the success of the show and then deciding to spend the extra marketing/advertising dollars in the other markets. That way you get the best of both worlds!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think that what he means is that if the show doesn’t do as well as hoped, they lose the chance to rape as much money from other broadcasters, especially if they were to start bidding against each other for the rights. Plus, readjusting your business model so that advertisers in other countries pay them instead of just selling off rights piecemeal is *hard*.

I can’t think of any other reason why you’d only offer your product to a single country rather than the entire world, when the actual costs of doing so online are relatively trivial. Or, is this another situation where we’re meant to believe that P2P/torrents are simultaneously highly profitable for the illegal suppliers but not profitable enough for the legit players?

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Um, reading fail, much?

Firstly, he was trying to explain the earlier poster’s possibly wrong comments.

Secondly, he said “raping broadcasters” not necessarily you/the public. And yes, Free/OTA TV is raping my poor abused brain cells. Do I really need more “My Big Fat Dancing American Gypsy Top Model does Celebrity House Swap Idol”?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Paul, don’t bother trying to explain my comments, because you are always an arrogant pisser about it and totally wrong.

My point is that taking the show, getting it voice-overed for various markets, getting it out there, and then running it is actually pretty expensive.

It has nothing to do with advertisers or anything like that (no idea where you get that crap from), but rather that it’s just an expensive proposition to roll it out in all places at the same time.

Stop being a dick, will ya? (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

My point is that taking the show, getting it voice-overed for various markets, getting it out there, and then running it is actually pretty expensive.

And he said he doesn’t buy it (what in your eyes naturally makes him an arrogant pisser) and neither do I. Cause what translation money do they have to spend for other English speaking countries?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Paul, don’t bother trying to explain my comments, because you are always an arrogant pisser about it and totally wrong.”

Yet, you never really explain yourself, only attack those with differing opinions. Did you bother checking out the evidence you demanded about me not being a pirate in the thread you disappeared from earlier in the week, or are you just hoping it will be forgotten how stupid your personal attacks tend to be?

You deliberately ignore real positions and make up strawmen. You ignore every major point, and go off on your own tangents all the time. For example:

“My point is that taking the show, getting it voice-overed for various markets, getting it out there, and then running it is actually pretty expensive. “

Yes, in the OLD way of doing things, where you try to dictate how and where people consume their content. This is what’s being criticised, and not the way things need to be. It’s a business model issue, which everybody outside the industry has recognised for over a decade.

Yes, if you insist on having a specifically targeted marketing campaign for a specific region, localised dubbing, etc. for each market it’s slow and expansive. But, most people who download are downloading the ENGLISH version. Sometimes with fan subs, admittedly, but most downloads are the original format. On top of that, online discussions about a hot show often market the show better than the networks do themselves. Sure, they still need to market a localised version if and when it arrives, but why block people from accessing (and paying for) the original? It made sense pre-internet, now it’s just stupid.

It doesn’t cost a whole lot to actually allow people to access or from Germany instead of blocking them and forcing them to wait 6 months for the German dub. Don’t whine when people who want that version torrent it instead of waiting for a potentially inferior product. You often make random assertions that local laws prevent this, but you’re yet to cite a single example. Even then, if Germany blocks access to Hulu, that doesn’t explain why you refuse to offer it to Sweden…

“It has nothing to do with advertisers or anything like that (no idea where you get that crap from),”

Because that’s usually the excuse the TV industry gives for sticking to the regional model.

” rather that it’s just an expensive proposition to roll it out in all places at the same time”

If you do it your way, yes. The way people are suggesting, not so much.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not if, finally in this day and age, people would care to try and learn ONE OF THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT LANGUAGES on the planet.

They’d also get to really experience the actor’s performance that they claim to be fans of.

Female:’OOOOOH, that Brad Pitt looks so sexy, he’s such a great actor…’
Me: ‘Yeah, and have you actually ever heard him say any of his lines? He doesn’t only look good, he can really act!’
Female:’Oh, no, I just like to look at his lips flopping about. But the guy who dubs him sounds sooooo sexy…’

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well, Mr. Cleverpants ๐Ÿ˜‰ I said ‘one of’ not the most important. Other languages surely are equally important and the be-all-end-all importance of english has declined in post colonial days while the importance of others has sharply increased…

But to the following extent my point still stands: Most of the popular contemporary media that all the rest of the world is eager to translate to their native tongue and gobble up is produced in english speaking nations. And your throwing away a big deal of the performance by stripping the charactors of their actors’ voices and dubbing them, not to mention all the stuff that is lost in translation.

You could easily call me a hippocrite, as I don’t speak French well enough, to watch one of their movies and understand it. But who’d want to do so anyhow? ๐Ÿ˜‰ just kidding…

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that subtitled films are far superior to dubbed, but sadly most people (including English speakers) would rather watch the dub. I just think you’re being a little arrogant telling people to learn English because it’s soooo important, just so that they can hear Brad Pitt’s real voice…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Well, mixing up trashy humour with the actual point I’m trying to make is a mistake I make repeatedly.

I’m not a fan of Mr.Pitt’s (Neither Brad or Rt. Hon. William) and used him purely as an example of mainstream Hollywood. I used him to make a point about the ‘audience’, represented by ‘female’, who are clamoring to soak up the acting-prowess of their favourite actor du jour, even if they have never really experienced said prowess to the full extent.

Now, don’t you get me wrong either, but you make it sound as if my example had been perfectly alright (or at least more acceptable) if I had chosen a higher caliber or ‘artsy’ actor. Also, this article is set in the realm of popular media in general and a TV show in particular. So I kind of took it for granted that my statement about the importance of the english language, while made in general terms, would be understood to more strongly apply to the context of the article.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Aww.. now why do you have to resort to name calling, when you could’ve just pointed out the bits that you think I’m wrong/arrogant about?

And while I do realize on re-reading that I may come off as being arrogant, it was not my intention. I’m just a bit grumpy today, which usually tends to narrow my view a bit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

More than a little arrogant to imply that people are lazy because they want to watch TV in the national language of their country instead of your language. Congratulations English speakers have a long history at being really good at conquer other cultures and forcing themselves upon them, you should be really proud of yourself for happening to be born in one of the resulting countries!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“The internet” isn’t everywhere. Try going to China and looking up a Wikipedia article on Tianamen Square. People in different countries experience the internet differently. Look at the 10 most popular websites accessed by different countries and you will find out that while Google and Facebook are at the top of their game, the rest of the list varies. Here’s a fun game you can play to find out how much you didn’t know.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And also runs into the problem of the show not being “popular” in the single market you aired it in, but it being fantastically popular elsewhere on the globe.
The sad thing is that popularity only hits 6 months after the shows been cancelled and you just alienated that fanbase by delaying it and then cancelling it… because you just slapped them across the face telling them what they like isn’t good enough.

The numbers lie constantly… Nielson doesn’t make boxes for people who format shift, how do they track the fans who watch the show on their morning commute?
Just because your fans don’t sit at home and ignore the rest of the world to be there at 8pm when it airs does not mean they hate the show. This is not the 1950s, despite the game of pretend they keep playing, the world does not stop because ZOMG Uncle Milty is on the 5 inch screen.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is a smoke screen.

They haven’t changed a bit about the actual regional licensing stuff, they just launch it all at the same time.

If I’m not mistaken, Fox streams episodes of their shows on their website. Correct me if I’m wrong and they ceased doing that. The last time I tried to watch an episode of a show (forgot what that was, though)on Fox’s site, the regional restrictions kicked in and I wasn’t allowed to watch. Even though the show was currently airing in Germany as well.

So if I were interested in this show, I’d have to wait for it to be on TV and throw more than half of the actors’ performances away because they’re being dubbed in german. If I want it in english I’ll either have to wait for the DVD/BR or… well, use your imagination. Of course Fox isn’t entirely to blame. The technology to transmit multiple ausio streams has long been in place, since I was a child even, but somehow almost nobody (in the audience, that is) really cared. So they almost entirely stopped doing so.

I’m willing to bet that if I were to go to Fox’s site on launch day, maybe even during the actual airing of the show in question, and try to watch the show in english, it’d say ‘Sorry, this content is not available in your region’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Sorry, forgot something.

That is actually the way Comedy Central does it with South Park. You can watch any and all episodes online. Even in Germany. But don’t you dare to visit the US site! NO ENGLISH SP FOR YOU! Go back to your KrautSite and be happy you get that at all!

Heck, I want to listen to Matt and Trey doing most of the voices, not to mention the other voice actors I grew fond of.
The german version is badly translated and just plain sucks.

Sorry for going slightly off topic at the end. But DAMN!

charliebrown (profile) says:

Re: We (Don't) Have The Technology

I would like to agree with you on the 2001/BTTF part. The thing is, those were technological advances that were imagined COULD happen. We simply don’t have the technology yet. Yes, they could do manned space travel but the time involved would be too great for the average human to deal with. We still don’t have proper suspended animation (a la Lost In Space) or stasis (a la Red Dwarf).

Meanwhile, the technology to doworldwide distribution of TV shows transmitted in multiple languages simultaneously (sp?) has been available since at least 2001.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: We (Don't) Have The Technology

1) You are right

2) … and more generally, this is the internet, if you aren’t sure of the spelling, especially to the extent that you actually take the time to write (sp?); please, please, please just check the f***ing spelling before you carry on, instead of typing a query for us to read.
I don’t mean this to be offensive, I love you dearly on both an emotional and spiritual but just why would anyone write simultaneously (sp?) – and yes, you did spell it correctly.

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