Downloading US TV Shows abroad

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Spanky Deluxe, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    Ok, I normally try to stay out of this particular forum because of stress reasons but this has bothered me for a while.

    Apparently there's a big problem of people living outside of the US, particularly in the UK, of downloading US shows before they've been aired in the UK. Personally I believe this is a problem caused not by the viewers and downloaders but by the networks on which the shows are run.

    If they were to broadcast these shows in the UK in the same week as in the US then I don't think the problem would be nearly as evident. Its quite ridiculous to think that people in the UK have to wait several months to watch the episodes of their hit shows for no reason other than network politics. If you're really into a show you'll quite often want to post on forums online about it and you can quite often ruin your watching experience because of having read spoilers while discussing your show online.
    I'm guessing that the reason for these delays is that the US networks that pay for the shows want to be the first ones to run them, which is fair enough. However, would a showing on a different network in a different country really affect their viewing ratings or exclusivity? I think not.

    If US networks released their shows to their worldwide syndicates on the day after airing and then also made their shows available on iTunes worldwide (with the worldwide syndicates getting a slice of the profits in their relevant territories) then I believe piracy would see a sharp drop.

    Consider a hypothetical person that loves his/her US TV shows. Suppose that person loves to talk with people online about his/her favourite shows and wants to stay up to date. That person is then 'forced' to download the shows illegally in order to stay up with the US since he/her has no alternative method of keeping up apart from waiting months and months.
    Now if that person had the option of watching these episodes in the same week as his/her American brethren then would he/she bother to download the shows illegally? I think not. Would that person be bothered by adverts so much as to keep downloading illegally? I think not.

    Personally, if DVD quality episodes of my favourite US shows were available for download on season passes of about £20 each then I would seriously consider cancelling my Sky subscription and subscribe on iTunes instead. If Sky as the holder for the first 'dibs' on the shows in the UK got a share of the iTunes pie from the US networks (in UK sales only) then Sky wouldn't really lose out.

    Sorry for the rant, it started because of the Mini Survey on the BBC News technology website where there's a questions saying "What is your view of TV content via the net?" with the options being "It doesn't interest me", "I download TV shows via BitTorrent" and "I buy content from TV studios and iTunes". This is on the UK BBC Technology website and obviously the third option only has 6.27% - considering we don't have the option to download episodes from iTunes this isn't exactly surprising. It made me wonder how many of those 45.92% of people that have voted that they download TV shows via BitTorrent would still do that if they had the options to watch shows legally at the same time as the states, either watching adverts or paying per episode, surely this would make more financial sense for the networks.

    /Smacks head against wall.
  2. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    This is the only thing I that use BT for - episodes of House. And yes, if there was a legal way to get an episode just after it aired in the US rather than 6 months later, I'd pay for it. But I don't think it's a big enough market yet; there are a lot of viewers who don't know that things are available and possibly aren't even aware that most US shows run Sept through to May - rather than Jan to May as they do in the UK.

    You'd also face the problem that Brits just aren't used to having repeats in the middle of a series - they expect a new show each week in that timeslot - which is the reason the broadcasters give for waiting until January.

    I used to have a pal in San Diego who would record shows and mail them over on tape in the 90s ;) So it's not a new things... just that technology makes it easier.
  3. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040


    Nov 5, 2002

    Yeah shows that run from Sept to May have big breaks in there almost always because a standard season is still 22-24 eps. Shows like 24 run from Jan to May here, fox does this and so do a few other networks with certain shows ... for fox is a marketing thing, a production schedule thing, and now its habit.
  4. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    You didn't have to put this in the Political Forum. ;) It's all about those greedy Hollywood bastards. And this coming from someone who lives there.

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