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UK Leads in TV Show Downloading 355

Posted by timothy
from the they-beamed-it-through-me dept.
dirutz writes "Britain has emerged as the world's biggest market for downloading pirated TV, with Australia being the second and the U.S. sitting at third. Among the top pirated TV shows, '24' ranks the first. 'The Simpsons,' 'Enterprise,' 'Stargate SG-1' and 'Battlestar Galactica' are also among the top hitters." 'Pirated' seems a strong word, at least for watching those programs which have been beamed (unencrypted) through my body. Where can I pay a quarter per show for moderate-quality, sanctioned torrent files?
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UK Leads in TV Show Downloading

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 20, 2005 @04:03AM (#11727458)
    ... that they're now beating out the UK [slashdot.org] as well!
  • I'm sure... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Michael Hunt (585391) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @04:05AM (#11727462) Homepage
    ...that this show is a repeat.

    Lousy cheap networks.
  • A quarter a show? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rm999 (775449) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @04:06AM (#11727471)
    I don't think they will ever sell shows for that cheap because DVD sales are becoming very popular for TV. Why would you pay 30 dollars for season 2 of family guy when you could download the whole season for 5 bucks?

    • Because the DVD boxset has EVERY episode as well as commentary and other extras. I happen to have it sitting in front of me, and damn if I don't enjoy it - enough so to pay for it.
      • by miyako (632510)
        I'm going to second this, I have a number of shows on DVD (Buffy seasons 1-7, Angel seasons 1-5, M*A*S*H Seasons 1-8, Charmed season 1), and it is really nice to have an entire season there in one boxed set. A standard season of a TV show seems to run between $40 and $60 for 22 episodes, so that works out to between $1.82 and $2.73 per episode. Even if they were offering the shows for download at say $0.50 or $1 per episode it would probably be encumbered with DRM, which would probably mean that it could
    • We could probably assume that downloaded shows would be both of a lower quality and have advertising built in. Paying a quarter might be a bit of wishful thinking, so let's rephrase the sentiment, shall we? Why can't I download an episode for $1? Or $2? For some shows that might never make it to DVD, this might be a great way to see past episodes (the only example coming to mind would be cooking shows), and the networks can add a bit to their ledgers in both advertising and download fees, and, as another po
    • But then you have to ask yourself, why not just download it for free? It is pretty pathetic that the free way (no DRM, way faster downloads, no bullshit, just good-quality encoding) is better than the paid way.

      Just like iTunes and stores like that. Why should I PAY to get 128kpbs quality music? I called bullshit and went back to WinMX.

    • Re:A quarter a show? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by slavemowgli (585321) * on Sunday February 20, 2005 @06:39AM (#11727873) Homepage
      That's the wrong question to ask, though. The correct ones would be:

      1) Are you willing to pay 30 bucks for watching season 2 of "family guy" (on DVD)?
      2) Are you willing to pay 5 bucks for watching season 2 of "family guy" (downloading it)?

      I'm pretty sure there are many people who would say "Yes" to 2) but "No" to 1), and although it may seem tempting to try and force these people to pay 30 bucks instead of 5 after all, it won't work. Sometimes, lowering your prices is the best way to make more money...

  • by gobbo (567674) <wrewrite@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday February 20, 2005 @04:06AM (#11727473) Journal
    OK, I'm just going to start submitting whatever story I see on the front page. A delay of a couple of hours for a duplicate story seems to be the going rate.
    • by SamSim (630795) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @08:08AM (#11728042) Homepage Journal

      On the plus side, instead of thinking, we can just copy/paste all the +5 comments from the [slashdot.org] other story and get huge amounts of karma.

      For example, here's a comment by Xner [slashdot.org]: "Thre real reason for rampant TV piracy on this side of the pond is that shows are released a lot later around here, sometimes even YEARS. This does encourage people to take their viewing habits into their own hands." Insightful, eh? I'd mod me up if I were you.

  • Not Suprising (Score:3, Informative)

    by dasheiff (261577) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @04:07AM (#11727480) Homepage
    This is really not suprising because many of these TV shows don't make it over the pond till a few years after their orginal air date. But of course internet discussion is always my the american dates so if people want to see these shows and not wait years, they need to download them.
    • sort-of agreed. But how come the permeation is unidirectional?

      are USAians downloading british shows (The Office?) pre-US release, or not?

      • Do you _have_ any shows worth downloading?

        Okay, yes, that was a joke, sorry, my bad. For coming up with Monty Python, the British have nothing left to prove.

        I've certainly enjoyed being able to watch the entire season of BSG already, and Stargate SG-1, as well. Only one more episode till the season's over, woe is me! WTF am I gonna do with no more BSG or SG-1 for _months_?! *sigh*

        Movies at the cinema, I suppose.
        • "Do you _have_ any shows worth downloading?"

          How about: The Office, Coupling, Dead ringers, 2DTV, Bremner Bird and Fortune, Peep Show, Little Britain, Green Wing, Have I got news for you, and a hell of a lot of documentries (the power of nightmares I seem to see mentioned fairly often with torrents linked to). As always, YMMV.
      • Spooks is - it's aired later here in the US as MI-5 on A&E, but with 18 minutes cut out for commercials... The 60-minute UK versions are downloadable well before they air here.

        I just wish you made more than ten episodes a year!
    • Re:Not Suprising (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Znork (31774) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @06:17AM (#11727807)
      Isnt it odd how almost the entire top-list is sci-fi which lacks distribution in a lot of places, while there is pretty much no downloading of reality soaps?

      Maybe the programming execs should get repeatedly fired for so completely and utterly failing to satisfy demand...
      • Re:Not Suprising (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sinclair44 (728189)
        If you're downloading TV shows, you've got to at least be somewhat tech-savvy... but John Windows-User Joe, who doesn't even know the difference between "upload" and "download" (GRAHH!) probably likes the reality shows much better.

        So they are catering to demand, just not yours (or that of the part of the population downloading TV).
      • Re:Not Suprising (Score:3, Interesting)

        by henni16 (586412)
        It is not that surprising from an economical point of view:
        Reality soaps are really cheap to produce compared to most sci-fi (special effects, space scenes etc),
        but sadly still get a lot of viewers.
        So you have a cheap show that can sell more or less expensive advertisement blocks.
        Compared to that a sci-fi show would have to draw a _huge_ audience to generate the same profit per dollar spent to create it.

        At least that's one reason I read why some sci-fi show was canceled despite somewhat decent ratings
    • Battlestar Galactica was apparently aired on sky (in the uk) as the entire seasons episodes is locatable it (*unusually*) aired over the pond first
  • We get series weeks and weeks after they first air in the US, and then only on sky TV. Downloading the shows from torrents is the only way you can see them while they're still a current topic of conversation. Also, the UK get gouged on DVD prices (just like everying else!), hey DVD makers, £1!=$1 damn you!
  • Lousy dupe... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fremen (33537)
    This is a dupe, but I'll put in my thoughts anyway:

    Most of the television torrents I've seen have been free of advertisements. I know those ads are obnoxious, but they're the bread and butter of whatever network you (the show ripper) took that show from. The least you can do is leave them in the file and let the downloader decide what to do with them.

    End of thought. Back to my regularly scheduled dupe righteous indignation.
    • Many shows I've taped on my VCR have had the commercials going past at a blazing-fast speed with no sound. Seems to happen every time I push some little button on the remote, with two arrows pointing forward.

      People have been able to pull commercials out of TV for years. Repeat after me: YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ACT IN THE BENEFIT OF A CORPORATION. You are not required to pay for something when it is available for free to prop up a corporation. You are not required to leave commercials in which people do no

      • Maybe you're one who thinks copyright law should be abolished, but what the grandparent post was talking about is this: If you're going to violate copyright laws (put up a torrent for a show that you grabbed off of TV) then at the very least you could leave the commercials in.

        It's not about helping a corporation. Given that ripping the show and putting it up for downloads is a violation of that corporation's copyright as it is, why not balance the bad with a bit of good? Or do you figure that if you're
    • Re:Lousy dupe... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by boingyzain (739759)
      Doesn't really make sense, and the reason for that is two fold.

      One, the networks would make no money off of ads posted in those rips online. If anything, the ad providers would be annoyed at the fact that their ad is in pirated works.

      Plus, those ads are targetted at a specific location. Each local channel of CBS/FOX/ABC/ETC has different ads for the exact same show. The advertisers in New York don't want their ads to be seen all over the US, so including commercials in online rips could potentially tur
    • least you can do is leave them in the file and let the downloader decide what to do with them.

      1) Then you're violating the copyrights of the advertisers too
      2) There are no Nielson ratings for bittorrent. So you won't help the network
      3) Unless you actually buy something, you don't help the advertisers
      4) The ads are likely to be localised, and completely irrelevant to viewers in other states, let alone other countries.

    • Why leave the adverts in? I'm in the UK, and if I were to download a tv torrent of a show that aired in the US (which is by far the most common for us), then I'm certainly not a pair of eyeballs the broadcaster or advertiser expected; at least not for a year or two. Some good shows never air in the UK at all, so I'm hardly part of their target demographic.

      So for them, they don't even lose something they expected to get by me seeing it. In fact, I'm more likely to see the show when it does finally hit our s
  • It's true!

    I read it on another site... Except THEY ONLY POSTED THIS FACT ONCE!

  • 'Pirated' seems a strong word, at least for watching those programs which have been beamed (unencrypted) through my body.

    No, 'pirated' doesn't refer to recording them, it refers to posting them on the Internet for anybody to download. I would think the difference was obvious.

    The standard meaning of the word is "distributing copyrighted material without permission" (for instance, here [hyperdictionary.com]). Regardless of your position on this issue, you have to agree that the definition applies here.

    And yes, it's a strong
    • You TOTALLY missed the point. If he could have recorded it himself, what does it matter where he gets a copy?

      It's not like I watch commercials anyway. I always have my laptop nearby, Slashdot is way better than literally seeing a cialis comercial for the 200th time.

    • Wow, thanks for making that clear. And here I was thinking "pirating" referred to sailing the seven seas, hunting down other ships, stealing treasures and brutally killing people. How wrong I was - obviously, copying a show recorded on TV is much worse than that.
  • by BWS (104239) <swang@cs.dal.ca> on Sunday February 20, 2005 @04:43AM (#11727590)
    why would UKers be downloading Battlestar Galactica? it airs for them 3 months before us..
    • by cfuse (657523) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @05:05AM (#11727654)

      speaking from AU, I'm glad that the UK folks made it available - I never would have been able to see such an excellent series otherwise.

      The networks here don't give a damn about the viewers and seem to change a show's timeslot every five minutes. Who's got the time to chase the network around to see the shows they want? At least this way I get to see the show on my terms.

      • speaking from AU, I'm glad that the UK folks made it available (Battlestar Galactica) - I never would have been able to see such an excellent series otherwise.

        Actually, i've been watching Ten Digital (Free To Air) and theyre about to begin showing the series at 9:30pm Wednesday 2nd March in AUS.

        That said ive already seen the entire series from rips done from Sky One in the UK, but I'll no doubt watch it again each week anyhow just to refresh how the series started.

        Regards, Jim.
    • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @06:48AM (#11727897)
      Because Battlestar Galactica was aired on Sky 1, a satellite channel. The minimum subscription, last I checked, was £13.50 a month ($25) for the most basic package which includes it.

      In addition, there's plenty of places that can't install a satellite dish (or install cable), such as rental properties or blocks of flats under tenancy agreements.

      Even of the small percentage of the population (about 15% I think) who can watch Sky, some people may not have been around when it was broadcast, and downloading it is better than using tape, and simpler than ripping the ads yourself.
    • A few of my friends watched it on TV and then downloaded it to keep. A DVD full of MPEG4-encoded episodes beats a commercial box set, and it's easier than everyone hooking up equipment to record it themselves.

      I'd probably buy more TV series on DVD if they came up with a DVD-like format that could store an entire US series on one disk.


  • I see no sense in waiting for the shows to come over here. I download them and keep them for a season and them delete them. I use to stock pile them and serve them to anybody else, but its risky stuff now what with the lawsuits.
    I see a future where the networks will have to come together and release these shows at the same time around the world. One because there will be less rips and second. Cinema, DVD and Music is normally released worldwide these days as well anyway.
    This also helps my schedule s
    • Actually, I never delete episodes and just buy a new hard drive once my _TV drive fills. On my second one already.

      Hard drives are the ultimate storage medium. They are portable (in external housings), compatible across the board and fairly impervious to time.

      • Yeah I could of been on my second by now, instead i moved all the porn onto DVD's, saving some space. I had so much shit I wanted to buy a second firewire drive (160GB). In the end I thought fuck it and just deleted it all. There is only so many times you can watch what you have downloaded. Now all I have is the about 3 rare films and the first season of SG Atlantis, and that isn't staying on my HD for long.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 20, 2005 @04:56AM (#11727629)
  • by kakos (610660) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @05:05AM (#11727655)
    If networks posted their shows, with the ads intact and maybe a few extra, I'd download it in a heartbeat. It'd sure beat the hell out of finding a torrent (especcially with the sudden lack of good torrent directories). Sure, I can fast forward through commercials, but I could do that if I used TiVo or if I recorded it.
    • This isn't going to happen soon because the networks do not own most of the stations that broadcast their shows, and the individual stations would view such downloads as competition. Stations make their money on advertising revenue, and the rates they receive are based on the number of viewers watching that station. (Based on such ratings tools as Nielsen and local population figures.) Every viewer who chooses to buy a downloadable version of the show directly from the network instead of watching it on the
    • I agree wholeheartedly, and I think something like that is not far away. It'll probably end up being a three-step process:

      1) Broadcast the program - in all international markets - on the same date, everywhere. This means you won't have downloading between and early-air market and a later-air markets. (As is the case often between the USA and Australia, which is per capita the king of TV downloading for just this reason.)

      2) Release the program on the torrent, with commercials.

      3) Release an HD DVD of th
  • Crazy Idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515)
    Maybe we could make a movement where we write and film our own shows and license them such that everyone is free to modify and redistribute them. It's not like DV cameras cost a lot of money (no more than a computer) and everyone has video editing software these days, and our desktop machines are good enough to do tv quality CG (movie quality if we use distributed networks). Where's the Free (as in freedom) Tv?
  • That's two dupes in forty-eight hours! It's not April 1st yet, is it?
  • they could make a killing selling subscriptions to ad free torrents of these shows... say 99 cents per show...

    Then if you want the DVD quality later with the extras, you wouldn't mind so much...

    I'm convinced the networks have been brainwashed into the mindset of the only source of revenue being from the advertisers... and lack the ability now to see outside the box...

  • Why, when for a change we got Battlestar Galactica before the yanks. That was unusual to say the least and quite refreshing. I do however wonder why it is our country is so keen to be in a close relationship with the States and yet is happy to accept the last season hand me downs of tv shows and films.

    I can imaging that TV piracy would be reduced if we felt that it would be possible to watch the same seasons of Westwing, Battlestar, Rescue Me, Las Vegas, Gilmore Girls etc etc as the states tends to .

    It s
  • by Arkus (15103) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @05:59AM (#11727779)
    Okay, we all are aware that this story is a dup of a previous one, well everyone except the individual that allowed this story to make it to the slashdot front page again, so I would like to take a moment to change the topic and voice my gripe about cable television and the utter stupidity of the entire situation in general.

    Why is it that the public at large is expected to foot the bill for cable television for the luxury of watching programming that includes commercials? Television networks as well as your cable company make tons of money on the advertising that goes into television programs. The only reason the networks are able to charge as much as they do for the commercials is because people watch the programming.

    It seems to me that if someone pays to receive television channels (many of which can be received for free over the air) via cable or satellite they should be able to receive programming that does not include commercials at all. For example if I can watch FOX using an antenna for free what value am I getting by paying to get that identical programming with commercials over a cable line? Compare it to viewing content on a website for free with ads or opting to buy a subscription to view the content without ads, much like you can on slashdot. Now channels like HBO that do not include commercials I can see paying for because they are offering me original commercial free content, something I can not get otherwise.

    There is certainly a market for commercial free programming as can be shown by the popularity of subscription based DVRs such as Tivo. Sure people like watching their favorite programs at their convenience, but really a large part of it is being able to do so without the commercials.

    To put it simply, I am of the opinion that basic cable should be provided to everyone without cost because the ad content has already generated more than enough revenue to cover the cost of distribution. The cable companies also generate ad review by selling local commercial spots into the programming. The cable companies should be able to pass on their costs to the networks rather than the general public because the networks could not possibly charge the advertisers as much as they do without the viewers the cable companies provide.

    Offering at least basic cable for free would greatly increase the potential number of viewers which would in turn allow the networks and cable companies to charge more for their advertisement spots. Compare it to the way that print ads are sold where the cost is based on total distribution; higher distribution equals higher revenue per ad sold. Television viewership is down greatly and I would suspect that this trend will continue unless something new and innovative is given a chance.

    Another thing I would really like to see happen would be for the cable companies to allow you to pick the programming you would like to receive. There are only 10 to 20 channels at most I would be interested in watching if I did have cable. Perhaps I could warm up a little to paying a nominal amount, say less than $20 per month including all taxes, if I were able to hand pick which channels I could receive and at least a fair number of those would have to be commercial free (such as HBO).
  • Hey, timothy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Sunday February 20, 2005 @06:47AM (#11727893)
    How about making comments down here with the rest of us, where we can reply to them properly and even moderate them?

    For that matter, how about checking for dupes [slashdot.org] before posting a story?
  • This is getting to be worse than broadcast TV with all these reruns!
  • First, if this is a dupe, why don't I see the first story?

    Second, I just think I figured out a way for the networks to make money off of downloaded shows aside from charging for the download.

    The real problem arises when people edit out commercials and having the ability to skip through them, which the networks hate.

    What if there were small ads at the bottom of the screen? You know, like the kind that pop up to let you know what show is on next? I realize some might find this intrusive, but if they're only

  • by bcmm (768152)
    Original here [slashdot.org]
    I think we are seeing recursive RSS blogging.
    I have a theory that someone who reads Slashdot is running a website/blog in another timezone. During the American night, he writes articles on many stories, some of which come from Slashdot. When the /. editors wake up in the morning, they read this guy's RSS feed, and write about any interesting stories, unaware that they may have given him the news in the first place.

    This would explain the regular pattern of stories that pop up again the next
  • And 2nd place aint even close!
  • Stargate SG-1 is currently ahead of the US networks on Sky One - so, it makes more sense for you guys to be downloading from us.

    However, I've been downloading it because I don't have Sky in my University accomodation. My parents have it, so morally I see no difference between downloading it and having them post it me on a tape.
  • Considering how badly modern television in the U.S. sucks (Reality TV? Who fucking cares? At least the brits do theirs more like docos) compared to the U.K., it's surprising that we don't download as much. Back when sites like BuckTV.net used to be up, I found myself downloading programs mostly from the U.K. or older U.S. shows that aren't yet available on DVD. I was able to see the excellent series "The Worst Week of My Life" just a week behind british viewers thanks to BuckTV and eDonkey. The series
  • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Sunday February 20, 2005 @10:56AM (#11728454) Homepage
    Excuse me, but I pay my cable bill. I'd like to be able to see some of these shows whenever I want, but don't feel like spending the time/money to encode them. If somebody else did and can share that with me, great! Heck, the simpsons is even still on 'free' air. How can they claim this as piracy? Nobody is trying to sell the stuff for profit (oh yeah, the networks want to overcharge you for the DVDs several years later. I forgot)

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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