No Shit: Groundbreaking Study Shows That Giving People 12% Of The Video Content They Want Doesn't Magically Stop Piracy

from the you-don't-say dept

When it comes to offering good legal alternatives to piracy in the entertainment industry, there are two types of arguments people make. One is that these alternatives, if properly done, will reduce the rate of piracy within a population set. The other is that these streaming options are great revenue sources regardless of the impact on piracy within the population and that increased revenues are all that really matter. What virtually nobody has argued is that if a streaming service barely gives people anything they want, even if that service is free, that piracy will cease to be.

And, yet, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Universidade Catolica Portuguesa sought to disprove this non-claim anyway in a recent study.

The researchers used a piracy-tracking firm to get a sample of thousands of BitTorrent pirates at the associated ISP. Half of them were offered a free 45-day subscription to a premium TV and movies package, allowing them to watch popular content on demand.

To measure the effects of video-on-demand access on piracy, the researchers then monitored the legal viewing activity and BitTorrent transfers of the people who received the free offer, comparing it to a control group. The results show that piracy is harder to beat than some would expect.

Subscribers who received the free subscription watched more TV, but overall their torrenting habits didn’t change significantly.

This summary sounds quite damning, particularly for those that would argue that good legal alternatives can reduce piracy. In this case, a free temporary subscription to a streaming service barely had an impact at all. The researchers found that overall TV consumption went up a few points and reduced torrenting practices by a few points. Neither change was a significant one. So what gives?

The video-on-demand service in the study had an average “fit” of just 12% with people’s viewing preferences, which means that they were missing a lot of content. But even Netflix, which has a library of thousands of titles, only has a fit of roughly 50%.

Right, except 50% is a fairly big jump from 12%. Even accounting for the gifted streaming service being free and Netflix carrying a cost, a streaming service that has 12% of what a consumer wants is only barely discernible from useless. The power of Netflix is in how much content it has and, by virtue of its quantity, how much the average person will find on the service that matches their tastes. What this is actually showing is how much damage is done by content providers cutting exclusive deals with streaming services and fragmenting what could otherwise be one-stop streaming services. The real question is what happens when a streaming service actually has the content people want. It's a question this same study actually answers.

“Households with preferences aligned with the gifted content reduced their probability of using BitTorrent during the experiment by 18% and decreased their amount of upload traffic by 45%,” the paper reads.

A nearly 20% reduction in torrent behavior over this short a sample period is really good. It's so good, in fact, that it should be the feature outcome of this study. A streaming platform that is strong on the content people want can cut piracy by a fifth in forty-five days. How is that not the headline?

The rest of the study makes much of how little the pirate households said they'd be willing to pay for a streaming service like Netflix, something like $3/month. This is presented as evidence again in refuting a claim that nobody made: piracy won't magically go away just because there's a good streaming service. But all this result really shows is that these people were never going to be reasonable targets for customership to begin with. Netflix has had a huge adoption rate where available and its been another pure revenue stream for content creators. Who cares what the habits of a bunch of people who can't even manage to pay $3/month for Netflix are? They aren't important. Or, at least, they can't be nearly as important as all of the people who are paying their Netflix subscriptions, resulting in revenue for content creators.

So, will good legal alternatives pop up to reduce piracy? Probably, if they're done well. Will they ever stamp out piracy completely? Nope. Does that matter? Not if the only focus is on making content creators more money, because the focus in that regard should be on making streaming options as successful as possible, which is not what the content companies are doing.

Why they aren't is the real mystery here.


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  • identicon
    any mouse cow word, 30 Nov 2017 @ 4:17am

    As usual, it's about control. Scattering and shifting content prevents any one service from getting too big for them to strong-arm and even challenge their control over the market--like Apple and Amazon did in other markets. Of course, there's better ways to go about it that would address piracy and even generate profit, but as usual they're more concerned with maintaining control and their legacy revenue streams.

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  • icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 4:35am

    Missed

    A 20% drop in torrent activity could be just as easily attributed to Kodi boxes and streaming sites as much as anything else. There is no provable cause and effect in play here.

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:17am

      Re: Missed

      I found it missing from the research as well (at least from what I could grasp from the article). However some streaming pirate apps also use bittorrent protocol (popcorn time comes to mind if memory serves) so there's that as well. There are studies into the streaming part of piracy too and they mostly conclude that streaming spikes when there's no availability. Go figure.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:34am

      Re: Missed

      ...and there's no evidence that it's not. Plus, the fact you keep deliberately ignoring is that nobody claimed there was a direct proportional relationship apart from that strawman you keep beating on. Only that this disproves the crap coming form the industry back when they were trying to block legal services.

      s ever, you have to keep attacking the things nobody is saying, because you can't read and article here and agree with it for some pathological reason.

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      • icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:00pm

        Re: Re: Missed

        Paul, I think even Ninja got the point, that since there are many methods by which content is currently available "without right", that using torrent traffic or use as the only metric is sort of silly.

        It would be akin to using only OTA TV as the only method by which people can legally enjoy stuff.

        The availability of legal alternatives doesn't have a direct correlation to reductions in piracy. The whole thing from Brazil in regards to netflix showed that.

        So no shit, there is no correlation so there is no correlation.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 2:04am

          Re: Re: Re: Missed

          "The whole thing from Brazil in regards to netflix showed that."

          You mean the one where you valiantly debunked the claim of direct proportional correlation that nobody was making, while ignoring the arguments that people were stating?

          You never did address the argument that people were making in reality, as I recall. Funny, that.

          "So no shit, there is no correlation so there is no correlation."

          There is a correlation, but no evidence of causation. Learn the meaning a of the words you use to lie with, please.

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        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 3:00am

          Re: Re: Re: Missed

          Oh but Brazil is a tad different to the point it's not a good example. What happened in Brazil with the advent of Netflix and audio streaming services is that PHYSICAL piracy took a big hit as far as the media has shown. But this is only because more internet availability coupled with relatively cheap streaming services or even free stuff offered with zero-rating (while I disagree with such practice as it can come to bite you in the ass in the future it is working here but if they try to lock down people in the future there's file sharing). And file sharing will basically not stop because it's not a crime here.

          So I agreed that they could have took streaming into account for research accuracy but I still disagree with your views on pretty much all the rest.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 6:53am

      Re: Missed

      But when HADOPI and six strikes are in place you'll bend over backwards to insist they have an effect against piracy... then rescind those comments when no demonstrable effect has been proven. Now why is that?

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  • identicon
    dadtaxi, 30 Nov 2017 @ 4:42am

    Once I realised how (comparatively) cheap Netflix was I bit the bullet and joined. One year later I've taken stock and realised the only torrenting that I now do is for audio books, and only because I cant find an streaming service in my country

    Give people what they want at a reasonable cost and pirating will go away

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:17am

      Re:

      I have a very similar story, I started using Netflix a few years ago. At the time I downloaded pretty much everything I watched from torrent sites.

      I can't actually remember when I last downloaded something, it must have been a couple of years ago. Now basically if it's not on Netflix or the BBC I don't watch it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:19am

        Re: Re:

        "I can't actually remember when I last downloaded something, it must have been a couple of years ago. Now basically if it's not on Netflix or the BBC I don't watch it."

        That. If the MAFIAA keeps trying to fracture the streaming market as they are they'll be in for a rude awakening. Also, they'll be leaving money on the table (which they have been doing for decades now).

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 7:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's fucking hollywood, its NOT as much about the money as much as it is about the CONTROL!

          The sexual harassment charges bubbling up everyone is proof. why would a big time director need to resort to sexually harassing and assaulting people when they have enough money for people throw themselves at them? no, they have to go the controlling route because that is how they get their rocks off... they are fucked up humans!

          If they just wanted money the problem would resolve itself... they want more than just money... they want CONTROL!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 8:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The only videos I watch these days come from YouTube or Vidme, and so Hollywood and the TV services have already lost me as a potential customer. Also it is now several years since I even bought a DVD, and then they were either second hand, or from Poundland.

          The threat to the MAFIAA is not piracy, but rather all the self publishers using platform like YouTube, and gaining enough patronage to keep on producing content.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 7:56am

        Re: Re:

        I subscribe to a couple of streaming service, and would subscribe to a couple more if it weren't for idiotic regional restrictions. Those make up the majority of my viewing, along with buying the occasional physical disc from high quality boutique labels. I don't watch a lot of new releases any more, but that doesn't bother me, cinema history is over a century old, it doesn't revolve around which merchandising commercial opened in cinemas last week.

        But the moron brigade will still call me a pirate because their fantasies don't include paying customers who don't bow down to what the major studios want.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:39am

      Re:

      The thing that sold most people I know on Netflix to begin with was showing them how much better it was than pirating. The general reaction from studios seems to have been to make legal services less appealing and more expensive so that other methods are become preferable again. It's bizarre, but typical.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:32am

    Heres an overlooked idea...
    nothing will ever please everyone, because they've wasted more money on snake oil pirate repelling rocks than making content available.

    Well older content is to expensive for us to release b/c we have to get all the music clearances... so we released it with cheap music we found... wait why isn't this flying off the shelves!!! You all demanded we release it and we did!!!

    They have driven the idea that a snippet of anything is worth billions & are shocked that others feel they should get billions for their snippets.

    WKRP in Cincinnati had tons of music, the finally released it... except they cut out all of the music we remembered, b/c the music guys demanded tons of money so it was just cut out.... Some fan somewhere took rips of the DVDs and put the original music back in place... IIRC its a very popular torrent.

    It's 2017, we have all sorts of tech but I can't show my kids a cartoon series I liked when I was a kid b/c they can't figure out who owns the rights, who needs to be paid for snippets, or how to not try and crunch it down to save a few more cents on each one.

    There is no good reason for there not to be access to all of the worlds content. If you make it available it will earn you much more than keeping it locked up & complaining that people found their own way to get it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 6:15am

      Re:

      That is exactly what was supposed to happen with copywrite from the very beginning. They had exclusive right to sell it for 17 years and then the public got to have it for the rest of time. Now it seems to be reversed and the public is supposed to get the last 17 years of time, whenever that rolls around.

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      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re:

        "Copyright" is the act of Mickey Mouse's hand reaching forward through time to scrawl Disney's name under the heat death of the universe. - Avery Edison @aedison on the twitters.

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 3:01am

      Re:

      Entitlement. OUR music is worth BEEELLIONS! You pay us for this crappy service we are offering!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:33am

    "Who cares what the habits of a bunch of people who can't even manage to pay $3/month for Netflix are?"

    Well, it's useful data, at least in the sense that it confirms what many have actually said before - talking about full retail price as lost revenue is ridiculous when working out what the losses through piracy are. The actual losses will always be FAR lower than full retail, because most of those people simply won't pay regardless of the deal.

    It also therefore reinforces what most of us have actually been saying here for many years - you're wasting your time trying to get people who insist on piracy to pay full price. You're better off making a better product that people who do wish to pay will pay a premium for.

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  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 5:40am

    Seriously?

    "The researchers used a piracy-tracking firm to get a sample of thousands of BitTorrent pirates at the associated ISP. Half of them were offered a free 45-day subscription to a premium TV and movies package"

    I've got to wonder. Was the sample they halved multiple thousands, or did they grab thousands of IP addresses and used a sample size of six?

    HOW did they offer these people the package? Email? How did they get the addresses? Even if they did somehow magically get the email addresses of "thousands" of "Bittorrent pirates" and offer them FREE PREMIUM TV SUBSCRIPTION!!!, what kind of idiot would think such an offer was NOT spam along the lines of "penis enlargement, GUARANTEED!!!"?

    Who was the "associated ISP"? They released contact info on "thousands" of customers? Without a Warrant or Subpoena?

    Something about this smells. Badly.

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 7:09am

    There's NO mystery: pirates won't pay, ever.

    Since the $3 figure found -- not imagined as Geigner's argument -- is so low, literally one slice of "pizza" and bottle of pop at a US convenience store, then it's clear that "price" can never be low enough for pirates.

    Netflix last I saw was $8 a month, ridiculously low for unlimited. But of course you pirates have already seen its vast back catalog and only crave NEW.

    By the way, KEY fact always left out by Techdirt is that Netflix is losing money, about $20 billion in debt, worse every day. And Netflix itself now sees piracy of its new content as major problem, JUST LIKE the "dinosaur" studios.

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    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 7:09am

      Re: There's NO mystery: pirates won't pay, ever.

      Clearly this study shows that the piracy which Geigner now promotes can only be countered with force, ranging from throttling and fines for bittorrents to jail for Dotcom.

      Yes, I know what you pirates believe: this study is flawed and that mindless entertainments being kept from you is the REAL crime. But your notions don't matter. You are just black holes of time-wasting. No one's going to get a dime out of you. EVERY method has now been tried, including FREE as in this study, and your thefts just don't stop.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 7:31am

      Re: There's NO mystery: pirates won't pay, ever.

      Netflix last I saw was $8 a month, ridiculously low for unlimited. But of course you pirates have already seen its vast back catalog and only crave NEW.

      Gee, I wonder if that is why Netflix continually adds new original content on top of movies that, in a perfect world, would have been on Netflix months ago if not for the ridiculous six-months-or-so release window bullshit.

      And hey, imagine that—a lack of legal access to a given movie, especially a popular one that did well in theatres, drives up piracy rates while that lack of legal access remains a thing.

      It is almost as if affordable legal access in a timely manner reduces piracy rates. Huh. Who could have seen that one coming?

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 7:52am

        Re: Re: There's NO mystery: pirates won't pay, ever.

        "Gee, I wonder if that is why Netflix continually adds new original content on top of movies"

        That's another amusing thing about him - he's attacking "pirates" for wanting something when the evidence is that the paying customers want the same, and are paying for it.

        Forget his obsessive lies ab out the paying customers he argues with here, he's unable to realise he's identified the very thing that gets people to pay then rants about it as if it doesn't exist, when Netflix's success is built upon supplying the very demand he recognises.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 7:32am

      Not just wrong, demonstrably wrong

      I find it entertaining that so eager were you to go on another of your rants about those fiendish pirates that you clearly glossed right over the pair of comments(as of this one) just a bit above yours where two such fiends admitted that they will and have paid because the service was cheap and it offered them what they wanted.

      This is not a rare occasion either, there have been many such comments over the years where people admitted to going from pirating to paying because a service was offered that had what they wanted at an acceptable price.

      Maybe next time spend a few minutes reading before making a fool of yourself saying something so obviously wrong?

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 7:49am

        Re: Not just wrong, demonstrably wrong

        He also leaves out the simple fact that most people have never paid for most of the content they have consumed, ever. Before streaming, more people got their content from free, ad-supported avenues than from paid outlets, and many more of the directly paying customers paid for packages than they did for individual titles. Not to mention the huge debt that most of the corporations he defends have swallowed while he pretends it's somehow unique to Netflix.

        The amusing thing about him is that even when he stumbles across a fact in his rants, he's still wrong with his overall comments.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 7:46am

      Re: There's NO mystery: pirates won't pay, ever.

      "it's clear that "price" can never be low enough for pirates."

      That's the point - and the point that's been said all along. You will NEVER get those kinds of people to pay, so why do you insist on managing the industry about trying to get them rather than servicing the people who will never pay you a penny? Why waste money trying to get people who won't even pay 1/3 of the normal subscription price rather than, say offering premium services to people who would pay 2-3x more fore a widely expanded catalogue, for example (I'm personally in this category)?

      Oh yeah, it's easier for you to lie about everyone you're talking to and attack them than adjust to reality.

      "By the way, KEY fact always left out by Techdirt is that Netflix is losing money, about $20 billion in debt, worse every day."

      Key because you heard a scary big number that wasn't mentioned in an article that didn't cover that subject.

      How much of that debt is being used to create the content that people are swarming there to see, and how does it compare to the debt some of the traditional studios are finding themselves in? I don't recall you being in here whining about how the movie industry is not viable when MGM and others found themselves with massive debt problems and some went under.

      Debt isn't a problem if it's there for viable investments, even if a poorly paid troll finds it to be a large number, and even those corporations with massive cash reserves (e.g. Apple) only got there after long periods of debt.

      Your lies and misdirections won't fool anyone here. Try verifiable evidence, for once.

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  • identicon
    hegemon13, 30 Nov 2017 @ 7:14am

    Another major omission....

    ..from the study is the time required to change habits. These are people used to getting their content in a particular way. It's a routine habit that feels comfortable to them, the way cable or Netflix feels like a familiar, comfortable content starting point for others. 45 days is not nearly enough to break that habit unless the alternative is ridiculously, impossibly compelling.

    The results of a long-term study, however, may well reveal different results, especially if they could provide a higher-quality alternative.

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  • icon
    DB (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 8:44am

    Major flaw in the study

    If I'm offer a 45 day 'Free Subscription', I don't go any further. I've been throughly educated that I'll be locked into an expensive subscription that is nearly impossible to cancel.

    I try to avoid such 'free subscriptions', but some are really difficult. Recently I had to deal with OnStar, which makes it trivial to subscribe, renew or increase your service online. But if you want to cancel or reduce your service you have to call, wait on hold for a long time, and be subject to a sales pitch before they will cancel the service.

    This is a nearly universal experience, and most people learn to treat 'free' offers with justified suspicion. The researchers must have a strong bias to ignore the effect.

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  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 30 Nov 2017 @ 8:48am

    I just thought I would throw this into the mix because I never see it mentioned. There are hoarders of physical objects and then there are I.T. hoarders of digital objects. (Do I really need that iso of Windows 98 anymore?)There are some that download for the sake of the download. For the sake of saying I have blahrabytes of movies, music, etc. I worked with a guy like that. Had every movie you could want. He has more content than he could watch in a lifetime. Seriously. Most of the people I know now pay for some streaming service or another nowadays. So how many downloaders fall into that category? How many are addicted to downloading? I think IMHO that number is high. I am also curious as to how many downloaders also subscribe to streaming services. He did, Netflix. Piracy will never go away. Just like speeding will never go away. It's the thrill of it all.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 9:27am

      Re:

      Indeed, that's part of the reason why the "one download = one less sale" was always comical hogwash to me.

      I also used to work with a guy on night shift. He had a script set up to automatically download every binary music album from certain newsgroups. He regularly cleared out his drives both for duplicates and stuff he would never listen to a million years. 90% of his tracks were probably never played, he just liked to have the best possible collection

      He did this partly to hoard, partly to help make the long night shifts more entertaining and partly because as a recent parent with a new mortgage, he couldn't possibly have bought any of it if he had to.

      The other factor worth mentioning here is that his pirate downloads were listened to in the office among anything from 2 to 6 people, and I can vouch for the fact that some of us were exposed to bands who we then went to pay for, both albums and gigs, as a direct result of that late night listening.

      While that's about audio content, I think that same applies to video. Reduced downloading may be explained by illegal streams making it unnecessary, but there's always something. Myself, I rarely pirate, but when I do it's something that's literally impossible to get any other way (being a fan of obscure horror and foreign language movies does that). I'm always very conscientious about buying a copy when they do get a release, which with quality labels like Arrow Video, Vinegar Syndrome and 88 Films is happening surprisingly regularly and I love to support their great work. But, there are films they can probably never release for various reasons so the torrents exist to ensure they don't disappear from history.

      "I am also curious as to how many downloaders also subscribe to streaming services"

      In my experience, most of them. I'm in an area that's relatively poorly served with relevant legal services, but I'd say that the vast majority of people I know who pirate also have a Netflix account (though, admittedly, some of them are shared).

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 1 Dec 2017 @ 3:06am

        Re: Re:

        Add me to this kind of experience. I only got to buy tons of stuff from some artists because some dude downloaded and shared with me physically or virtually.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 10:29am

      Response to: I.T. Guy on Nov 30th, 2017 @ 8:48am

      I'll claim to be similar, but I don't have or want more than I can watch.

      My preferred viewing habits are to collect (preferably through legal means) a relatively small collection of known good movies, whilst discovering new ones through their trailers.

      As such streaming services poorly serve someone like me in their quest to "protect" their movies. That said I generally am more than willing to pay, and I don't redistribute movies unless I'm confident that helps the artist make more money.

      So please movie makers, serve the hoarders just as well as you once did with DVDs & cassettes!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 30 Nov 2017 @ 11:06am

      Pay to own instead of pay to rent.

      This isn't even about piracy. If you spend an amount comparable to cable on physical media, you will eventually end up with quite a big pile of stuff.

      That just goes to show how expensive cable really is these days.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 30 Nov 2017 @ 8:54am

    Hey, can we get rid of the Hot Latin Ladies Online ad, it's not exactly SFW.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    r_rolo1 (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 9:50am

    Let put some holes in this study ....

    Well, I'm not much of a commenter, but as i think I can drop something in this one, let me chime in ...

    First of all, let me drop some assumptions. Given the nationality of most of the researchers and of one of the institutions involved, I'll make a leap of faith and assume that the country where the study was made was Portugal and that the multinational that oh so kindly helped them was Altice ( that bought the ex-state telecom operator a couple of years ago and is strong arming the governement to allow them to buy one of the biggest media conglemerates in here, but that is besides the point ;) )

    If ( and it is a somewhat big if ) my assumptions above are true, the service they offered is most likely this one here or something on the same vein ... and if you compare this with Netflix USA ( not Netflix Portugal, mind that :P ), it is not hard to see from where the 12% figure came out.

    What you can't see from the link above, OFC is the clunkiness of the service offered in the TV ( most likely where most of the people involved in the study tried to use the service ), that is miles behind anything resembling the convenience Netflix or even your straight out of the net torrent search engine ( mandatory on screen keyboard to be used with a remote and a rather iffy search function are some of the "features" offered ). Pretending that people don't factor convenience in their economical decisions is ... well, stupid. This not mentioning that, while not directly stated in the Abstract, the wording used strongly suggests that the people studied also had a TV bundle ( aka, the people studied already had a TV + Net service ), that is NOT directly comparable with Netflix only...

    Other thing to consider, and again assuming the study was made in Portugal, is that: 1) there are few ISP in here ( in reality, after all smoke and mirrors are removed, there should be 4 or 5 real providers) and 2) they pretty much remote control the governemental entity that, among other things, controls the very UK-like blacklist of sites that ISP should not give access to ( BTW techdirt should someday make ( if there isn't one in the archives already ) a article about the Portuguese site blacklist situation, that nowadays is not public ... after the publication of it increased the interest and traffic to the blacklisted sites ... ). As you can imagine, torrent search engines are high in the blacklist ( and in fact the above mentioned Altice goes above and beyond in the case of Pirate Bay and simply delivers a 404 error if you try to go there using their services, instead of the legalese warning they put in other blocked sites ). In other words, people that use torrent services in Portugal ( not necessarily ilegally, mind that ... P2P is not illegal here per se ,other glaring flaw of the study, if the lack of distinction on types of P2P traffic was not made as the Abstract suggests ) are people that atleast know how to use a proxy server or a VPN to fetch the torrent files from torrent search engines ... definitely not your average consumer that just wants to see [insert blockbuster of the week].

    In other words ( again assuming the study was made in Portugal to Altice costumers. Caveat emptor ):

    1) The study uses a population that, while fit for the study itself, is NOT representative of the general consumer anywhere, and , because of that, very inapt for comparisons with a hipotetical Netflix service ( that, let me point again, the Netflix they talk about in the abstract is Netflix USA most likely, that is not a legal option in Portugal ... Netflix Portugal is heavily gutted down due to copyright hoarding from TV providers :/ ).

    2) The service provided was, in the study own admission, 24% ( 12% divided by 50% is 0,24 ) of the value of Netflix USA to the population in study. ( as a side note, and without any add ons, that puts the " value" of the service for this population at 24% of 8€ ( basic package fee of Netflix in Portugal ), a little less than 2€ ... ))

    3) If the service is the one I posted above, the TV interface is clunky and dificult to use and is somewhat hard to search into. Less value then.

    ... and even then, the study shows a increase of TV usage. Like the author says, this is a story of success : even in the baseline case ( hardened torrenting population, bad option provided, iffy baseline ) reducing the barriers to movie acess increases TV viewing time. The fact that the headlines say otherwise is ... well, let's not call names to our esteemed reporters :/

    P.S I'm somewhat confused of where the 3.25$ ( roughly 2.75€ ) number comes from, but again , only read the Abstract. That said, like I pointed above, if we use their population valuing of the service, their offer was worth at most 2€ if we compare with the price Netflix uses, most likely even less ...

    Also, the torrenting volume tracking is meaningless for this study subject, because ( unless they did scan what was being torrented, something that is very illegal without explicit consent of all parts involved or judicial mandate ( in Portugal , atleast ) ) there isn't any indication that the material torrented at any point was copyrighted audiovisual content or, even worse , that there should be a inverse correlation between VOD usage and torrenting volume ... as far as the authors know without breaking laws, the population in study could be torrenting high quality scans of the Gutenberg Bible ( as non copyright as copyright can be ) and they reduced their torrenting volume because they were watching more movies and had no time to read :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Robert Barat (volt4ire) (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 11:01am

    Look who's funding it

    It's worth noting that the group behind the study is partially funded by the MPAA (see the last paragraph here)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:13pm

    This is why I love Steam and don't even bother with games that are exclusively on Origin or Battle.net or any of that other garbage. They don't cut exclusivity deals, not even when it comes to what operating system the client software runs on. So long as they don't change, there won't be much worry about them going under. I just hope Gaben has chosen a good heir (or a sturdy robot to upload his consciousness into) before he chokes on one too many cheeseburgers.

    Anyone who cuts exclusivity deals deserves to be stolen from. Why the hell are you getting into the arts if you don't want as many people to enjoy them as possible? Sure, get your due compensation, but get it from the people who genuinely enjoy your work, not from some big publisher who paid you to betray and isolate your audience, yet couldn't give two shits about what you poured your heart into if it wasn't making money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 1:52pm

      Re:

      Not that I've pirated games before, but thanks to Steam I've become the opposite of a pirate.

      Instead of never buying the games I play, I buy tge games I never play.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      trollificus (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 2:38pm

      Re:

      "...get it from the people who genuinely enjoy your work and who have money"

      Po' folks gonna pirate, or do without. Using DRM to ensure they have to "do without" drive an equal or greater number of people to seek out and pirate 'cracked' product without the DRM. SEEMS pretty simple, but a lot of highly-paid people don't seem to understand it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      trollificus (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 3:20pm

      Re:

      And as to the question "Why the hell are you getting into the arts if you don't want as many people to enjoy them as possible?"

      The answer is that most media product is not created by "an artist" as you apparently envision, but by a corporation. Or a team of artists collectively owned by a corporation. Or artists who have sold their IP to a corporation.

      When you find art created by individuals (jewelry, small venue musical performances, visual arts, etc), you seldom find exclusivity, DRM or paywalls, and their attitude frequently is "I'd LOVE for people to see my art!".

      The trick, and it may be difficult for some, is to decline to participate in the parts of the culture the corporations own. Give them nothing. You may find some water cooler talk uninteresting but this action makes economic sense, can be intellectually stimulating and is morally sound.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Barabaz (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 12:34pm

    Satisfactory but still

    I really don't have an issue with giving $10 to Netflix for the good content they're offering. The reason I only recently joined though is their insistence on controlling every aspect of the stream by employing the atrocity called DRM. This and them taking content down after it has been published keeps rendering their service worse than it could be. So I go back to the venerable El Dorado of pirate streams for the occasional unavailable movie. DRM meanwhile just leaves a sour after taste. While it obviously shackles me, it has yet to really annoy me, but I'm sure it will happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    trollificus (profile), 30 Nov 2017 @ 2:28pm

    Agree w/ the above. Bless Netflix for pricing their streaming realistically. They "competed with free", and in many, but not cases, won.

    BUT. I am hoarding a lifetimes' worth of reading material against the day they manage to get 50 separate streaming services asking $10/mo each. Ain't. Happenin'.

    And I'm hoarding because I expect they'll go after the free lending libraries next. And also because our local librarians have decided that the lovely main library downtown serves THEIR need to be virtuous better as a homeless shelter than as a library. B'bye.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    stine, 30 Nov 2017 @ 4:11pm

    fragmentation

    Can you compare the effects on piracy rates when Netflix has everything vs netflix/hulu/youtube/vimeo/hbo/xfinity/spectrum/etc.

    It seems to me that the major content providers are trying to get as much as they can regardless of the fact that they're re-creating the same environment...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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