2024-06-17 00:13:51
File Sharing Is Hard Habit to Break market data/theory/tv

Epicenter from Wired.com

Less than 24 hours after the season premiere of Prison Break aired on Fox on Monday, it was downloaded close to one million times, according to TorrentFreak.

Prison Break fans didn’t have to download the show illegally. The show is readily available to stream legitimately on both Hulu and Fox.com, where viewers have to sit through a few commercial breaks, but they can still watch the entire episode legally.

[Hulu won’t disclose how many people viewed Prison Break on the site on Monday, but the show is one of the top 5 most-popular shows on Hulu today, and it was the most-popular show yesterday. There’s no way of knowing, though, whether the program was watched more on Hulu than it was downloaded illegally.]

The fact that one million people downloaded the show within 24 hours — a little less than one-sixth of the 6.5 million people who watched Prison Break on TV on Monday night — proves, though, that P2P isn’t going away just because there are legal alternatives now.

“This is a group of people who define themselves in part by the technology they use and the application of that technology,” says Robert Rosenberg, president of Insight Research. “Chances are that this is only happening in a defined age group. You’d be hard-pressed to find 60 year-old guys passing this stuff off to their buddies.”

Even if file sharers make up a small slice of the population, the impact is not insignificant. Could networks win these viewers back? The most common complaint about big media companies over the last decade is that they’ve been slow to provide legal alternatives. In this case, however, Fox has gone to great lengths to give viewers an option to watch programs legally online, but die-hard file sharers still aren’t biting.

“I think a lot of the problem is that the content providers have typically been using business models that extend backwards in time. They have not been able to adapt their intellectual property and business processes to the new reality — essentially that all types of information and media are going to find their way on to a network and will be widely distributed,” says Rosenberg. “Look at the music industry. They simply didn’t have a formula for preventing file sharing until Apple taught them how to do it.”

Many legal alternatives could be improved, too, says Eric Garland, CEO of Big Champagne, an online media measurement company. Content providers have been slow to offer legal streaming options in many international markets, and there still aren’t many networks that let users actually download files, which is a bummer for collectors, says Garland.

Also, the networks haven’t necessarily improved upon the experience on pirated sites, so users don’t have much incentive to leave those sites.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” says Garland. “Sites like Mininova or Pirate Bay have been around long before there was Hulu, and why should they stop using a familiar option that works well?”

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.