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. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2013 @ 9:23am

    Re: STOP the world! Mike sez: "convenience trumps free"!

    "That there is exactly the problem with your piratey notions: you claim that content should be free and revenue from elsewhere (T-shirt sales), and THAT just won't work."

    You have a point there. What you gotta do is sell hats.

    Hey, stop snickering. I'm serious here.

    I just recently started playing Team Fortress 2 (peer pressure made me do it). The game was originally paid for but it became Free To Play recently (more like friggin years ago). The F2P version retains the same functionality of the paid version, except that you have to work harder to unlock stuff (as far as I know).

    As far as I can tell, the business model for that game is selling hats for your in-game avatar. And judging by the fact that there are a ton of people with hats out there, I'd say that Valve isn't exactly becoming poor thanks to the game. In fact, I seem to remember that they are making insane amounts of cash from a free game...by essentially selling hats.

    I know this doesn't sit well with you, but yes, you can make money by giving stuff away. You can make very stupidly large amounts of money.

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