Exactly as we predicted
, when the Fox Network hid its TV shows online behind various paywalls and delays, the rate of infringement on those shows shot way up
. Eriq Gardner, over at THResq spoke to a Communications VP at Fox to get his response about all those people going to unauthorized means to get their content, and in true "Communications VP" fashion, Scott Grogin deftly ignores the key question and focuses on a secondary claim from the original TorrentFreak article
, the suggestion that these delays were about getting people to watch TV live:
The TorrentFreak blog post is a little over the top. The story indicates that we 'took this drastic step in the hope of getting more people to watch shows live and thus make more revenue.' Nothing could be further from the truth.
Authenticating viewers is not about making sure they only watch live...in fact, quite the opposite—we support a 'TV Everywhere' proposition and are working with our distribution partners to benefit our businesses. It's about receiving fair value so we can continue to produce this expensive and high quality programming. We are pursuing a strategy where the 90+ million households who pay to watch our programming via cable/satellite/telco will ultimately receive maximum benefit. They can watch live, via DVR, on VOD, online, or through one of the various tablet apps that allow in-home viewing.
We are actively in negotiations with all cable/satellite/telco providers regarding authentication of their customers. We hope to announce several more agreements before the start of the new television season in mid-September.
The issue of watching "live" or not is really a side matter, and was perhaps a bit of hyperbole from TorrentFreak. What those guys clearly meant was that this is a weak effort by Fox to keep people watching via TV or via a big cable/satellite provider. And, I'm sorry, but this line is pure bull:
We are pursuing a strategy where the 90+ million households who pay to watch our programming via cable/satellite/telco will ultimately receive maximum benefit.
Anyone who claims that to offer maximum benefit to one set of people, you have to take away features from others isn't being particularly honest. To offer maximum benefit, you offer maximum benefit. Could Fox offer new additional features to such subscribers? Sure. That would be interesting and perhaps a good strategy. But taking the content away, when it's so readily available via unauthorized means doesn't help provide maximum benefit to subscribers at all. It drives more people to unauthorized means of access (where Fox gets no money at all), and actually takes away value
from those subscribers. That's because one reason why people watch hit shows right away is so they can discuss them with friends. Fox has now made it more difficult to discuss with friends because it's that much harder to watch its shows.