US shows being shown earlier here

November 16th, 2008 at 9:58 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

An explosion in online piracy has forced New Zealand’s free-to-air TV networks to fast-track the screening of top international shows.

Superhero drama Heroes and British car series Top Gear topped the list of the most illegally downloaded TV shows in New Zealand last year, with millions of copies hitting cyberspace as soon as they were made available overseas.

As a result, those shows and others including House, Private Practice and Survivor are aired within days of their international release.

And that is the logical response. We live in a borderless world and if people can read online the latest Heroes episode is out, they want to see it now – now in six months. If NZ is only a few days behind few will pirate it, but if it is a choice of waiting for months or downloading a copy of something that will be free to air  anyway, people download.

As a matter of principle I will not download movies, as they are distributed in NZ within days of overseas release, and you have to pay to see them.

I have occassionally downloaded a TV show if it either does not show in NZ at all, or the wait to see it will be too long. I always watch it again on the TV once they do show here also. At present I haven’t downloaded a TV show for months – partly too busy, but partly because TV networks here are screening them faster.

Tony Eaton, the executive director of the Federation Against Copyright Theft, says that the authorities in New Zealand had yet to conduct extensive research into illegal downloads.

“Our primary focus has been the film industry but in saying that we have turned our attention to more,” he said.

“It makes sense for networks to make shows available as soon as possible on television here.”

Good to see agreeing.

The trend may explain why the big two free-to-air networks offer legal downloads of top shows for a limited period after they screen on TV.

“It may be that online availability of programming is actually having the effect of boosting television viewing – that is certainly the case with `catch up’ television,” said Richards.

I have no doubt this is the case.

10 Responses to “US shows being shown earlier here”

  1. fragbait (13 comments) says:

    Every New Zealander a criminal.
    If I have read the new copyright laws correct every New Zealander is a criminal, for who of us does not have a video tape with a TV program on it that is over 7 days old?

    What gets me the most is the pathetic knee jerky reactions of the copyrightists who as on the back foot due to their inability to appreciate emerging technology, and take advantage of it. Cases in the States are currently before the courts when Joe music listener is being sued for copying his CD to his iPod!

    I don’t want to watch ads. Watch an hour show and have to endure 15-20 minutes of mindless marketing. Even on Sky I abhor having to watch sky ads of how good they are or what is coming. Jees that is what the Sky Guide is for. I’m not hassled by product placement, and I have seen a few acts of flash ads.

    Copyrightists need to wake up to the fact the we are doing more and more things to avoid ads. Role on TiVo and MySky and netTV.

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  2. davidp (3,864 comments) says:

    The other aspect of a significant delay in scheduling is that it excludes locals from any participation in international fan activity. It’s a globalised world… people don’t want to be restricted to pursuing their “hobby” with the residents of just one country.

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  3. Zippy Gonzales (470 comments) says:

    Looking forward to film distributors catching on too.

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  4. dime (12,984 comments) says:

    i have started to notice this.. i thought it might have been because of the writers strike.. good move by TV.. although ill still be downloading like a mofo – it looks better and there are no ads

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  5. Regan Cunliffe (21 comments) says:

    The only problem is that nothing is actually being fast-tracked. Check out our response:

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  6. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    I don’t think anyone who wrote that article actually knows anything about top gear, yes its being shown slightly quicker here than it has previously, but the whole season is over in the UK before it is shown here, when Its online to watch (as long as your in the UK), hours after its screened, and on file sharing sites about the same time.

    And TV3 axed The Unit earlier this year, half way through a season, due to poor viewer numbers, only for me to find we were 2 seasons behind the US, and the season being shown here was already out on DVD. So no wonder it had poor ratings TV3, if people hadn’t downloaded it, they would of brought/hired it on DVD, if they’d been into it.

    I don’t mind the ads too much, its the slow releases, or odd screening times that I hate

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  7. labrator (2,452 comments) says:

    It’s just a natural market response to a demand. I don’t know how many billions the RIAA in the US wasted trying to subvert human nature and become a pseudo governmental organisation that got to dictate how and when things were stored and watched. The advent of huge broadband capacity has shattered the traditional distribution dictated monopoly that content creators used to have and now we’re seeing how they’re having to change to match the new non-physical model. It’s certainly interesting watching the changes.

    Something I’d often wondered is: Has there been a drop in overall profits on content being produced and if so how is this impacting the creation cycle of new content? eg Before you could make X amount of money on DVDs after the movie was released. Now you probably can’t make so much, so are movies being made cheaper or do they make the money up some other way through more product placement or something else entirely?

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  8. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    Basic laws of supply and demand.

    Lets say i was somewhat internet savy and had a good idea on how to spoof my IP, use one use one time email accounts and love software like P2P guardian, Tor and Privoxy but i don’t like piracy and prefer to support company’s who make such wonderful T.V shows like Heroes and Lost.

    I find out new episodes of Heroes and lost is being shown in the U.S , i go to see when it is being screened here in N.Z and find out we are almost a year behind in screenings.

    15 minutes later i am watching the new series and TVNZ are looking like the pack of useless idiots they are, not that i would ever do this for real of course 😉

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  9. petal (707 comments) says:

    Doesn’t stop me. I prefer to watch 3-5 eps back to back without ads. I guess I could get mysky or whatever, but the torrents work well and our dvd recorder plays avis. Other series I simply wait until they’re complete, then get the whole season and watch it all in 3-5 nights. Loverly. I haven’t watched TV for entertainment purposes for some years.

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  10. paradigm (507 comments) says:

    I agree with the comments here on supply and demand. In general the presence of a black market is indicative of a failing legitimate market: in this case the “cost” of illegal downloads (in terms of getting caught by authorities, getting a virus/trojan, wasting your time downloading a broken/fake file etc) is thought to be less than legitimately buying the video/software or waiting for it to come out on tv (being inconvenienced by having to wait is, of course, a cost as well).

    Obviously there are two ways this could be combated: raise the cost of illegal downloads or decrease the cost of legitimate aquisition. Mostly everyone seems to focus on the former: tougher piracy laws, drm, etc… There has been very little focus on dropping the cost (or equivalently, increasing the legitimate supply) to the market. Indeed one notes that some of the measures designed to make it more difficult to pirate (such as drm and other copy protection) actually inconvenience the legitimate owners, hence making it more likely for them to illegally source the program/video instead. Moreover we repeatedly hear comments about how the price of programs/videos has had to be raised to counter the manufacturer’s losses as a result of piracy. Ironically if the prices were dropped, it would most likely reduce the extent of piracy occuring.

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