Aussies TV pirates

Obvious… And no wonder, the delays experienced are unreasonable, particularly given the small number of inroads being made by networks on shows such as Jericho, which screens here less than 24 hours after US broadcast. This proves that there is no justification for the unreasonable delays that Australian viewers are constantly put through. On top of the broadcast delays, the scheduling unpredictability disasters that Australian viewers are regularly subject to (over time, I’ve seen shows such as Buffy, The West Wing, Angel, Babylon 5 and just about anything else you’d care to name suffer at least once) prove the networks care little for their audiences.

Frankly, Australian television networks, their owners, scheulders and marketers are largely stuck in the dark ages of the 1980s (and earlier). The free-to-air networks are heavily invested in lowest common denominator “reality” shows that fulfil their local content quotas with execrable pap. There are few programs of value shown on any network other than the two national broadcasters – and I’m not talking about intellectual stuff here, I enjoy a decent comedy or soapie as much as the next guy. News and current affairs has generally descended into tabloid magazine fare.

This includes the (effectively) sole pay TV provider, who more than 10 years after launch barely has anything approximating interactive television/value-add television such as that which can be seen in the UK and US. That and the high pricing are the reason pay TV has only 30 per cent penetration here as opposed to numbers closer to 80 per cent in comparable markets.

But I digress, this is about the downloading of shows soon after source market broadcast. I absolutely don’t blame Australian viewers for downloading shows from the US and UK using BitTorrent. Hey, if I have the opportunity to view the latest episode of Heroes and then be an active part of the discussion around it, rather than waiting who knows how long for an AUstralian network to show it, I’m likely to be tempted.

And I would love to see a definitive opinion on the legality of downloading shows once they have been broadcast. While IANAL, to me a downloaded show is no different to receiving a videotape or CD of the show recorded by a workmate and handed to you. This timeshifting practice has been conducted for years.

3 Replies to “Aussies TV pirates”

  1. Hear, hear! Or should that be [piratespeak] “Har, Har!” [/piratespeak] ?

    Things are improving (not the quality of that which is broadcast, but smaller delays in hopping continents), however it is talking a long time… Might this pirate activity become a bit of an incentive to our broadcasters to get a move on and keep us up to date?

    After all – we are already a day ahead of the US and such, surely that is enough leeway ;)

    Brendan

  2. The message will eventually sink in – that the television viewing public does expect more of television broadcasters – but how long will we have to wait here in Australia is of concern to me.

    Nielsen is already collecting timeshifting statistics alongside live television watching behaviour.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/12112006/tv/not_now__dear__says_nielsen_tv_.htm

    The statistics to date show the better quality television is being recorded and watched later with the “inbetween-shows-they-slot-in-because-they know-we’ll-just-sit-there-and-watch-them-and-wait-for-the-next-good-show” being ignored.

    http://www.lostremote.com/2006/12/21/nielsens-top-10-lists-for-2006/

    The difference in viewing habits reported is very interesting.

    I will continue to download television shows I like to watch until the Australian broadcasters realise that you need quality programming.

    I hear the ABC is planning on a download model. From memory, the BBC was also (maybe they have already done it). I know for certain you can get shows from iTunes, but not yet in Australia **grumble**

    And you need it without ads. When they do it I might return to Australian commercial broadcasting stations, but they shouldn’t hold their breaths.

    M

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