Culture

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
authorized, convenience, free, piracy



Convenience Matters: People Will Still 'Pirate' Content That Is Available For Free In Less Convenient Packages

from the stating-the-obvious dept

About a year ago, some commentators were positively shocked that tons of folks still got the latest Radiohead album via BitTorrent rather than the band's own pay-what-you-want site, which allowed people to get the music for free. However, the real point (which many seemed to miss) is that the reason people will often access the content via unauthorized sources isn't just because it's free, but because it's more convenient and doesn't require leaping over annoying hurdles. Plus, for many, it's a single interface and a single source for all the content they want.

So, it should come as no surprise at all that plenty of folks are still downloading unauthorized versions of TV shows that are available in authorized streams for free. First off, downloading the content lets users watch the content when and where they want -- and allows them to archive it or watch it on other devices. Second, it's just a lot more convenient for many users to get the content that way.

Once again, it looks like the entertainment industry got hung up on that whole "free" bit, when that's hardly all there is to the equation. Just because they put something up for free doesn't mean they've effectively competed with the alternatives. When the alternatives offer more and better "features" and much greater convenience, the "free" part is only one of multiple selling points. Simply putting content up for free without matching those other features means that plenty of folks are still going to get the content elsewhere. Rather than fighting it, it's about time companies learned ways to use this to their own advantage.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2008 @ 8:57am

    Re:

    A lot of US shows take far too long to make it over the Atlantic, if indeed they make it at all. Venture brothers is a great example; everyone I know loves it yet everyone watches pirate copies. I didn't know it was even broadcast in the UK.

    National boundaries make less and less sense in this age of global media; why not let people outside the US stream US networks? Why not let people outside the UK stream the BBC iPlayer?

    I heard three of the big UK networks were coming together to make a combined download/streaming service. Although a nod in the right direction its not going far enough; what we really need is a legit international downloading service.

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