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
    Techdirt Lurker, 3 Jun 2013 @ 9:42am

    But....the numbers

    I'm a daily reader here and I usually am right on board with the articles that are posted, but I can't agree with Mike's take on this story.

    I find it surprising that no numbers were provided. Giving Mike the benefit of the doubt, maybe he didn't check the popular torrent sites until just recently. The numbers are certainly low now, but the first two days that the show was out, they were definitely showing better than average numbers for a tv show when sorting by seeds/leechers, at peak closing in on 200k.

    The article on torrent freak was more accurate, I feel.

    Over the past two days more than 175,000 people have pirated episodes of the revived cult series Arrested Development. While the numbers donít come close to those of hit series Game of Thrones, itís remarkable to see how many of the downloaders come from regions where the entire season is available on Netflix. Full article


    I think TF was on target with their opinion that if the show had been released on cable, without the widespread availability netflix gives, the download count would have been much higher, but to say "few people download arrested development" seems intentionally misleading given the facts.

    I hope I don't get downvoted into oblivion because I really do respect and agree with 99% of what is posted here at techdirt, but I can't let this go by without comment.

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