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. icon
    JB (profile), 8 Sep 2008 @ 10:49am

    Re: Not just free, but enhanced?

    LostSailor,

    I understand fully that the content, of which you speak, is relatively expensive to create. What you don't seem to understand is that by creating the goods, they have already spent money and are simply recouping the loss.

    There are many ways to recover what was spent that also allow that content to be 'sold' to a customer. Most of these companies feel they have overall rights to the creation even after it has been 'sold,' or in their mind 'leased,' to the customer.

    Once something is created, it can be copied and sold as a replica. These replicas can be infinite and therefore the value of them drops. What must be done to bring value back to the replica? You could add more works to it, but then you are pouring more lost money into it. You could place ads in the content, but then consumers could be come annoyed. You could reduce the number of units produced, but that means only collectors will buy. You could even charge a rental for the content, but even then the customer would be angry.

    So, what is a creator to do? Make content that their audience wants, while keeping the cost of creation low. Remove hindrances to the customer and allow them to place their own specific value on your content.

    For those that made it all the way through, thank you for reading, and I expect nothing in return.

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