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 @ 9:47am


    The margins-argument is not as relevant as rules, boundaries and limitations for the individual content producer.

    They see their customers as other companies who do the distribution through exclusive deals. Thus: They do not see the end-users as their customer and since they are responsible for honouring their exclusivity deals, they have to hire lawyers and companies to send DMCAs. The customers they achieve have to be good enough to shell out good sums of money so we are talking a relatively small base.

    As for profitability of lone company measures, it is pretty clear that we are not gonna get any useful numbers. Since most of the content providers rely on lobbying to a high degree, the rules of lobbying applies:
    Internal documents showing indications not in the interest of your strategy are trade secrets, while documents showing indications in your interest gets bassuned out to everybody. Since we haven't seen many such internal numbers on the different effects, the assumptions must be: They are too stupid to measure the effects, they are not interested enough in knowing them or the numbers they have indicate that the effects are against their interests. Either way, the result is a lack of deeper arguments from the lobbyists and therefore noisy drivel to be shot down if you look just a little under the surface...

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