August 10, 2008 Jill

picture-1.pngNew TeeVee has the top bit torrent TV downloads for the week ending August 4, 2008. The data is collected by Big Champagne Online Measurement and based on:

global download volumes as measured by swarm sizes, swarm speeds and file sizes. These data reflect the collective global popularity of all available show content from all seasons current and past, not just the most recent broadcast.

Based on the list, I’m guessing a whole lot of you are downloading Mad Men rather than (or in addition to) watching it during the broadcast or on demand. Ditto for Generation Kill.

So what does this say about the impact of downloading on broadcast audiences? Is it diluting them or just mirroring what they do?

Comments (2)

  1. Keith

    I canceled my cable TV a few years ago and only have the internet. I went entirely Netflix, but now I watch a lot on the networks’ websites and I watched every episode of Lost in HD (on a 120″ projection screen) and loved it. The one problem is that some networks’ sites only have episodes available for a limited time and then they’re gone forever.

    This shows the advantages of downloading. You can find it and watch it whenever you want (even years later).

    Once the networks start keeping episodes online long term, people will not be downloading shows as much but will watch them on the networks’ websites, commercials and all. It’s just more convenient than searching for what you want via bittorrent.

    Convenience is the most important aspect to all this. I even watch shows on the networks’ websites that I never would have tuned into otherwise.

  2. It’s a real mixed bag for me. My overall television viewing is certainly down if only because I’m becoming increasingly selective over what kind of crap I pour through my eyes these days. I make up for that by finding online those programs I really want to see.

    A good example is Californication. I discovered it by accident but could never make the time to watch it as scheduled for broadcast. I dug a little and found it tucked into one of Rogers on-demand channels and was able to view it there at my leisure. When they removed the entire season completely I still wanted to see it and it as not yet for sale as DVDs. Pirate Bay to the rescue.

    There’s been a number of other shows that have been recommended by word of mouth – or discovered in a review or comment – that I initially sought out online just to sample. On the rare occasions I was smitten enough to see more I would usually seek it out via broadcast first.

    I don’t have a PVR – why, escapes me, perhaps I’m just too lay to set it up – so I’m not able to indulge or coment on how that affects my broadcast viewing habits.

    Certainly the broadcast market has been impacted by online viewing habits. The old broadcast mass viewer schedules no longer work as a business model – even for the most gargantuan of live events, as we are currently witnessing with the Olympics.

    None of this should come as a surprise to the broadcasters though as they pursued niche audiences and created the inevitable beast of a viewing public that was only interested in watching whatever “they” chose to watch. Add in the choices of time and place to the brew and you have the emerging world of not just content on demand but also context on demand – and that’s why the broadcasters and their clients (advertisers) are shitting bricks.

    Will the broadcasters be able to lure viewers back to their singular sites/portals to ensure consistent, measureable and saleable audience numbers? Doubtful. Like AOL attempting to be the metaphoric mall of the net, portals are doomed as the net becomes increasing vast, interwoven and more ubiquitously navigated by an increasingly diverse array of hardware and software options. They won’t be able to carve out a solid foothold as the information river washes past – in order to merely survive they’ll have to jump in with everyone else and swim with the rest of the fishes.

    Interesting times indeed.


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