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October 13, 2015

Half of all BitTorrent downloads are TV shows

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 15th 2008 9:23AM
Masi OkaWe all know that how people watch TV has been changing dramatically in the last few years, but now comes this news from TorrentFreak.com: 50% of all people using BitTorrent at any given point in time are downloading a TV series. More than anything else, it's TV content they want.

What this means is that TV fans aren't just watching TV shows live or using DVRs and TiVos alone. They're just as apt to download a show to view on a laptop, desktop or iPod. According to the article, "over a billion TV shows are downloaded every year and this number continues to rise."

Some of the most popular TV downloads are water-cooler shows like Lost, Heroes and Desperate Housewives. An episode of Heroes, for example, was downloaded 2.5 million times on one site alone. And that was just one site! And how interesting is it that more than movies, music and other media, it's TV series that are being downloaded. Speaking of Heroes, Masi Oka, who plays Hiro, was in France to promote the show -- before it was shown there -- and learned that many fans had already watched episodes via illegal downloads. He hoped fans would still want to buy the DVD despite the "freebies" online.

While the recording business and film companies are freaking out about illegal downloading and how it's crushing their bottom lines, the TV industry seems to be trying to figure out how to make this technology work for them. Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC TV, is sited as one executive whose eyes were opened to the efficacy of downloading as a convenience to consumers when she saw a pirate, pristine copy of her network's Desperate Housewives. It prompted her advocate the Disney/Itunes deal, with the hope that viewers will choose to pay a nominal fee for an episode rather than ripping it off via an illegal download.

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well, and... There are lots of non-american fans who can't wait local networks to catch up with american shows. I guess lot of americans download UK shows too...

February 20 2008 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Right now I download every single tv show I watch, and why? Because in Brazil paid tv is a not very funny joke. Some shows only air a year after its release in US, sometimes dubbed or with poor subtitles. And don't even start to look at free tv, because there you would probably wait something between 2 and 4 years to see your favorite tv shows. Thank God I don't even need subtitles, but for those who need, the brazilian subtitles community is very active and very famous shows like Lost have portuguese subtitles ready, just a few hours after the torrent is released. So I keep wondering why people still pay for tv in Brazil when paying for broadband internet is so much cheaper.

And dvds, well I would loe to have tons of them but the prices here are really abusive. How about a $75 dollars dvd box? I would buy a lot more dvds is they were cheaper.

February 16 2008 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

while my family has satellite tv with every premium channel, I have not watched tv in 5 years. I also pay for broadband internet so I download all the tv shows I want to watch.
the real issue is that I look for more obscure shows that were canceled in their first year and are no longer available on tv or dvd. I may have to download a tvcap from europe, thats been french, german, or spanish dubbed, not my preference but its that or nothing. or I am looking for one episode of a tv series broadcasted 5 years ago to see a favorite actor do a small cameo appearence.

February 15 2008 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Mc

Best for me/worst for networks: no commercials.

February 15 2008 at 6:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have two words for you, REGIONAL RELEASES. That's the only reason why I download TV shows. Because it takes so bloody long for the shows to appear where I live or not appear at all. I'm sick and tired of the studios and networks trying to control the release date of TV shows and movies. I want to see it when it's first released and not a year after! When my friends in the US talk about a new episode, I want to be able to discuss it with them that same day and not a year later.

I'd be happy to pay for a download but well, Apple, where's my damn TV and movie downloads?! International iTunes stores are still waiting and waiting and waiting. And not just some but the same ones the US store has!!!!!

I'm so sick of waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. It's SO easy to just go and get it when it's right there. I know it's illegal but honestly, I don't care. If they made these thing available in a paid system AT THE SAME TIME EVERYWHERE then I'd have no problem paying for it. Until then, they're losing money, and I'm watching television shows the way I want to. And honestly, I buy my favorite movies and TV shows on DVD eventually anyway, so I'm thinking they're getting paid and I get to watch these things when I want to.

If they weren't so busy being so scared and trying to control absolutely everything, they wouldn't have this problem. I say, just give people what they want. Make all shows and movies available for download everywhere for everyone at the same time for reasonable prices. Amazon UK, US, iTunes US and International... everywhere. And stop suing people for wanting to see your programs and movies. And try to think of better ways to get paid without attacking your customers. How? For example, oh I don't know, MAKING IT AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE! And not make people wait.

The old style of TV is dying. People don't want to no longer pay for any packages where you get a million channels full of shows you don't want to watch for that one show you do want to watch. They want ala carte, pick and choose ... they want it when they have time to watch it.

Sorry for the rant but this subject just gets my blood boiling. I'm so sick of the TV networks and movie studios trying too hard to control everything that they're losing the viewers by the buckets because of it. Don't sue your customers. Make better services so they'll stay!

February 15 2008 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can safely say from my own experience that Bittorrenting is not going awaydespite legal alternatives. Itunes makes you pay for a video of inferior quality that also has DRM all over it and Unbox makes you keep paying to keep the videos that you already bought. Until these companies realize that people want QUALITY video (wake up Itunes!) and want to be able to have complete ownership over it (looking at you Unbox) people will continue to download illegally. For those who do not want to worry about the legality of downloading, I recommend renting the DVDs when they come out and using a program like dvd4free to disable the security on the discs. It's not illegal, and it's just like recording the show off the tv or saving it off the DVR. There are also other programs that you can buy legally that strip the security off DVDs.

I have no problem with these programs morally either since I actually buy the DVDs and still like to have the video file to put on my Zen player.

February 15 2008 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I download all the television shows that I watch. I won't allow networks to tell me when I can watch a show and I'm too busy to do so even if I was willing. I already pay way too much for cable that I don't use along with overpriced broadband internet service, so as far as I'm concerned I pay for the TV I download. I've had a dedicated PC connected to my TV for about 4 years and it beats the pants off the DVR I own.

I have to agree with earlier posters that $2 an episode is definitely not a nominal fee. For myself, I'm not willing to pay more than $0.50 for an hour of commercial-free, DRM-free, high-resolution video. Anything more than that and I'll never spend a cent. Sure, I buy DVDs of many shows I'm a fan of, but even those are overpriced so I usually don't invest until a long time after the sets have been out and the prices have dropped dramatically.

I think the heart of this entire issue is the greed of the studios and their insistence that they gouge their customers. They scream about illegalities and piracy only to try and insure a continuation of their obscenely bloated income streams.

February 15 2008 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm in the UK, so I watch Heroes and Scrubs streamed. TV producers on both sides of the Atlantic need to realise that we're not gonna wait a year or sometimes even 2 to see a show that we know has been shown in our language in its own country. Like another poster said, we want to participate in online discussion, and we want to see the show!

February 15 2008 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I used to use bittorrent to get TV shows, but once I got my DVR, I realized that the only reason to keep downloading was for instant gratification and to get shows that I didn't have access to, like Entourage and Weeds. Now what I do is I buy the shows on DVD that I like and will actually watch again, and rent shows on DVD that I like and burn them.

February 15 2008 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have no moral issue downloading shows nor streaming them. I pay for cable, and If I like a show enough I'll buy the DVD anyway for the quality, portability, and extra features. I got started on the Office because of torrenting, as well as many other shows. I don't have HBO, but when In-Treatment hits DVD I'll definitely buy it because I find the show advertising. An Industry Canada study showed that music piracy ends up with an increase in sales rather than a decrease, I imagine it would be the same for TV.

February 15 2008 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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