Once Again, Convenience Trumps Free, As Few People Pirate Arrested Development

from the over-and-over-and-over-again dept

We've pointed out over and over and over again for years that for many people (certainly not all, but enough to make a huge difference) convenience trumps free when it comes to getting content. The latest example of this in action is the fact that way fewer people downloaded the new Arrested Development from unauthorized sources than other similarly hyped TV shows. As you probably know, the new Arrested Development was released via Netflix, rather than TV, and all episodes were immediately available. Unlike other TV shows that are tied to cable and hardly available online at all, Arrested Development was easy to watch online for those who had a Netflix account (which also doesn't require additional fees to watch the show if you already have a subscription).

So: it was available online, easy to watch, no marginal cost (if you had the subscription) and available on multiple platforms without limitation (i.e. no "you must watch within 24 hours").

The bizarre thing is that so many of the efforts by the entertainment industry seem to be designed to make things less convenient. They don't make it available online. They require you to have a cable account. They have added costs per episode or show. There are requirements about how long you have to watch it. And then they wonder why there's so much infringement?

If you offer a good product, that focuses on access and convenience, people are clearly willing to pay. This has been the lesson for well over a decade. It's amazing that it still needs to be repeated.

Filed Under: access, arrested development, convenience, copyright, infringement
Companies: netflix

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  1. icon
    Leigh Beadon (profile), 5 Jun 2013 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But....the numbers

    I do see your point, but on digging further into the numbers, it seems to me that the premise still holds. We don't have netflix ratings for the show unfortunately, but lets compare it to some other shows using TV ratings and piracy numbers, plus AD's ratings from when it was on Fox:

    - Arrested Development ratings on fox: 6.2-million average in first season, lower by the end with 3.43-million watching the finale -- source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrested_Development_(TV_series)#Television_ratings

    - Some selections from the top pirated shows of 2012 (when GoT was #1), with both piracy & tv numbers (all based on a single popular episode):

    Hit shows on broadcast networks:

    Big Bang Theory - 3.2-mil DL, 15.8-mil TV
    How I Met Your Mother - 2.9-mil DL, 10.1-mil TV
    House - 2.3-mil DL, 9.7-mil TV

    Hit shows on specialty cable networks:

    Game of Thrones - 4.2-mil downloaders, 4.2-mil TV viewers
    Breaking Bad - 2.5-mil DL, 2.9-mil TV
    Homeland - 2.4-mil DL, 2.3-mil TV
    Dexter - 3.8-mil DL, 2.7-mil TV

    So the pattern is fairly clear: broadcast networks still have far more TV viewers than downloaders, whereas cable networks have number that are close, or sometimes even fewer viewers than downloaders.

    Now, we don't know how many people watched AD on Netflix... but we do know that Netflix has almost 30-million subscribers, which is about the same as HBO's audience in the U.S. -- HBO's global audience is about 115-million.

    Obviously, we are lacking some of the key data points that would let us draw a *solid* conclusion about piracy rates -- but when you look at the audience size numbers and compare it to some other shows, it still seems highly likely that

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