and regional restrictions
being the international sign for "PIRATE ME!" many content providers continue to throw artificial locks on their offerings. Their potential viewers soon discover that "2 weeks out" in TV network time means "3 hours or less" in TorrentTime. If the content providers truly believe that Piracy = Lost Sales, why aren't they doing more to eliminate the gap between the content's debut and its worldwide spread?
It's not as if it's impossible. Another case in point: New Zealand's TV3 is chopping away at the excessive (and arbitrary) delay
between Showtime's American debut of Homeland episodes and their availability locally.
TV3 is going to screen the new series of Homeland just four hours after episodes play in the US – with episodes posted to TV3.co.nz's on demand service at midnight on the day of broadcast.
The timing is actually even tighter than that. Here's the breakdown directly from TV3:
Homeland episodes will screen 3 hours 25 minutes after the Pacific Time debuts in the US. That US-NZ gap will be consistent until there's a daylight savings change. The broadcast time in each country won't change.
As someone in the comments points out
With ondemand, we can have each ep available from midnight the same night.
, that's roughly the same amount of time it takes for new episodes to show up at, um, "unlicensed" distributors:
4 hours would put it on schedule with me getting it off torrents, so quite viable to watch.
Beating free at its own game often simply means eliminating legacy remnants like exaggerated delays and other restrictions. Even though this move will likely trim down the number of fans looking elsewhere for new episodes, MediaWorks (TV3's parent company) refreshingly claims converting pirates is not the "primary motivation" for this move:
"TV viewing is increasingly a community event, and online communities are global rather than local," spokeswoman Rachel Lorimer told NBR.
"By screening international shows as close to their global premieres as practical, we ensure our audience is part of the global conversation around a big show and, of course, that keeps us relevant. Those are the main motivations.
How often do you hear a spokesperson for a large corporation (content or otherwise) talk about doing what's important for the fans
rather than, say, the quarterly financial statements? Many, many content providers refuse to acknowledge that the internet has made "country of origin" a non-factor while also providing an incredibly powerful platform for both distribution and "global conversation."
Lorimer also acknowledges the side benefits of catering to the customers:
"However, positive side effects may well be that our viewers save on their broadband data cap and are less likely to risk illegally downloading TV series. And a win for viewers is a win for us."
Giving viewers what they want when they want it. It's a plan so crazy it might be profitable.