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
    PaulT (profile), 4 Jun 2013 @ 2:04am

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

    But, Netflix has built the model so that this doesn't matter. They are not looking to get X amount of viewers to get advertisers paying and supposedly losing money if people download instead. They are looking to get X number of additional regular subscribers, who can download as well for all they care.

    In this sense, even comparing the download figures is misleading if trying to work out any negative effect. Someone downloading this show isn't really taking any more money from Netflix than if they signed up for a free trial (and in fact are taking less, since they don't cost them anything in bandwidth).

    I understand where you're coming from, but at best all these figures do is prove that some people will download regardless - and thus should not be considered lost revenue. The real question is how many subscribers Netflix have gained or retained as a result of this - and the outlook so far looks very good:

    "It's not an apples-to-apples comparison with Netflix's "House of Cards," but Cullen said that "from our perspective, 'Arrested Development' had about three times the subscriber viewing that we saw from 'House of Cards.' ""(from http://www.cnbc.com/id/100770605)

    "A few days ago, Netflix announced that, in large measure a result of House of Cards, they brought in two million more subscribers." (from http://collider.com/house-of-cards-kevin-spacey-beau-willimon-interview/)

    We'll see, but if Netflix can get millions of subscribers while accepting a thousands of downloads will happen, I don't see the problem.

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