Web piracy hits foreign broadcasters

Nothing seems to be safe from entertainment content thieves who now are causing even the international TV sector some major headaches.

Broadcasters are increasingly irked that expensive Hollywood TV shows are being downloaded off the Internet and exploited by pirates long before their scheduled broadcast in their territories.

Piracy has forced the film sector to close the window between domestic US and international debuts. Now the same thing is happening on the TV front. The debut in Australia of the CBS drama Jericho within hours of its US bow a couple of weeks ago likely will pave the way for more "day-and-date" launches in foreign territories.

In fact, British broadcaster Sky One recently refined its deal with News Corp. sibling 20th Century Fox Television to air the next season of 24 within a week of its US broadcast. Research has identified 24 as the single most illegally viewed TV program on the Internet in the UK.

"It's so heavily serialized that it's addictive," says David Smyth, Sky One's head of acquisitions. "When you are finished watching one episode, the only thing you want to do is watch another."

Added Fox executive Marion Edwards, "The feeling is that if you can tell somebody you can watch it legally within a week, rather than choose to watch it illegally, that people will respond."

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Not all internet piracy is bad! I downloaded Survivor because it doesn't air in the UK. I now have 3 Survivor box sets I got shipped in from USA and had to buy a region free DVD player so them saying that its a bad thing is wrong.. in some cases in gives the studio money. Plus its not our fault if channels such as 5 here in the UK take like 8 months to show Prison Break and channel 4 with Lost is rubbish! They even put the two part season final on at 10pm to 12pm and they wonder why people didnt watch the second part!
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Sky do seem to be quite good at this now, I believe Eureka became only a week behind the time it aired in the states. But I still think there's a long way to go before I stop downloading a few things - especially since the main UK channels don't seem to have even considered earlier showings yet.



Whenever the programme is shown, I would rather download the show anyways, it's the power of being able to watch it when I want. Although I think "video on demand" is becoming quickly avaliable already.



As well as this, there's always that thing of me not affecting ratings, so I don't think it matters whether I watch a show or not. It's mainly the distributor or maker of the show who wins, since I'll nearly always buy the DVD.
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On a flip side for US Sci-fi Fans, the *NEW* Doctor who series wasn't on the US channels for over a year. No one would carry it, so to see it, I had to download it. Most likely Torchwood will be the same way. Sci-Fi Channel is still behind just starting season 2, but hopefully they'll air it close to the BBC's air date for season 3, otherwise it's the internet for me.
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I am so sick of the whining coming from networks re downloading. If you didn't totally screw around your viewers each week with repeats, running overtime, late starts to series, shifted timeslots and constant ads while cutting content from the program to do so (Australian examples but I am sure they are global); you might be entitled to ask for some loyalty. Why do you think we won't be delighted to return the favour and screw you as a result of your total contempt for us?
Downloading and instant access is here to stay: get with the program or get out.
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One thing that's not mentioned in the article is that the channels in non-US countries that air US shows closest to the US airdates are almost always pay channels (because they have to pay more to air it closer). This single fact alone means that even airing the same day won't dissuade people who don't subscribe to the appropriate channels from downloading the episode instead.

Here in the UK, one channel (Channel 4) behaved disgracefully towards one of the US's best ever cop shows: NYPD Blue. They bought the exclusive UK rights, shifted the show to ludicrous airing times (close to midnight), claimed the ratings had fallen [duh!] and then used that as an excuse to refuse to air the final 3 seasons for almost 3 years!

Recently, seasons 10 and 11 resurfaced on a UK digital channel (More 4) at some silly rate of 4 episodes a week [with no repeats on later days] and the UK is *finally* going to see Season 12 as of next week - a full *two years* after the US aired it!

This is immensely frustrating (I had a quick look and only season 12 is out there for download and the DVD releases seem to be crazily about 8-9 years behind) and simply fuels the current UK download mania of US shows.
More+
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great news bout 24..........yes!!!!!!
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lol it helped, i watch Jericho on network tv if i can then download it anyway, saves taping it and the quality is better.
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I'am from Austria (no Kangaroos, just mountains), now living in Spain. Back in Austria I had to watch everything dubbed by Germans (you have to know that Austrians don't like the German pronunciation, well I can't hear them, really) and well about 1 year after it was shown in the US. Now in Spain I just don't understand their horrible dubbings. Now since half a year I'm downloading my favourite shows like Lost, 24, Sg1, Atlantis, Eureka, My name is Earl, Arrested Development(the ratings are good in the net, what do you think?) and watch it on my Creative Zen Vision M wherever I want.
So I'm happy, and I think our broadcasters need to be kicked in their bottoms to wake them up and to make them understand that they just have to show what we want in original language and whenever we like. Then things might change.
Keep up your good work, my american pirate brothers, without you and your recordings we europeans wouldn't be as happy as we are right now.
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piracy is afecting foreign broadcasters!?
Well, BOO WOO!!!!
Try and keep up with tecnology. All is digital now. why dont the rest of the world cant see a show at the same time it aires in US????
Networks make milions every year, its time to make use of that money!!!
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Airing shows earlier will help, but not as much as they think it will. Downloadin episodes is now a habit and normal part of a lot of people's lives. It means that they don't have to be tied down to a weekly schedule dictated by someone else. It means they can skip for weeks at a time and not miss a thing.
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And don't get me started when Mexico receives new episodes, for example The Simpsons are 2 seasons old, they showing Grey's anatomy second season, etc, no new season or new shows are being broadcasted anywhere, not even cable or satellite.



Fortunately for me I live in the US border and I pick up all mayor networks signals, the rest of the country doesn't.



So the mayority of Mexico viewers either wait a long time or download them from the net.
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How slow are they?
Speaking as another Aussie who just got sick and tired of having to wait not just months but a year or more for some shows/seasons to appear, I think it's about damned time the networks caught on.
Australian free to air stations are pathetically slow at airing shows...ie. BSG season 2 has only recently started here, SG1 S9 has only been on a few weeks as well and heavan alone knows when Season 2 of Stargate Atlantis will be shown. And The Unit, that is in it's second season in the states is only starting here next week!
So to the people responsible for putting Jericho on in Australia at the same time as it airs in the States - thank you from the bottom of my heart. It's so refreshing to be able to watch a show with 'the big kids' and not be made to feel like the country cousin.
Now if
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This is the best news ever, I just hope it becomes more common on Australian TV
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I'm surprised it took them this long to notice...! Of course people with good net connections are gonna download shows when it takes a year sometimes 2 for shows to show up in Europe. Welcome to the digital age!
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Definitely something good that comes out of all this. The control over series used to be in the hands of the networks and the viewers pretty much has to swallow it if the network decides to play around with scheduling or delaying episodes. I don't watch TV because my favourite programs are running while I attend night classes, so I buy the DVDs instead. I buy more DVDs since I started downloading because now I'm aware about more shows.
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Living in Germany (as a German not unusual ;-)), I dont have a problem with the airing-gap, but so much more with the German dubbing. If anyone ever gets the chance to watch NCIS, CSI or Justice in German, believe me, you wont watch TV ever again. Make TV-Shows available in different languages and I will never ever download again.
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and sometimes years are not enough... if you happen to live in a country with only a handful of tv channels, you won't be getting most of the series available.

Now someone might argue about DVD sales in those cases.. but who the heck is going to buy a tv-series based on an ad or a dvd-case? (without knowing nothing about it beforehand) Not to mention the pricing and cumbersome distribution methods. Just how many discs per season can you need? Too many, if you're gonna use mpeg2.
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I live in Australia and such great shows like Battlestar Galactica Season 2 is yet to premiere on Free TV, when BSG Season 3 is about to commence in the US. Broadcaster dragging the ball and chain on what they show and when. It makes sense to download these programs, as you get to watch at the time you want to, without stupid commercials and if your free to air TV suddenly decides to pull the program mid season than hopefully someone else overseas is still showing it somewhere else in the world. We have the technology to utilise this service world wide and no one is offering pay per program download yet. Music has had to go down this path, to survive. So well done to all you downloaders, finally making big fat TV execs think about getting a move along! Also I think the reason they showed Jericho internationally was that after watch Ep 1, they though this was pretty lame and word will get out about it, so lets milk this baby for all its worth.
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if US broadcasters wants to combat TV piracy, then they should get their shows released at the same time or near the same time that it comes out in the states.
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Would be great if did shorten the gap! Though even if they would, I probably wouldn't give up downloading anyway. Just as Mansemat said, when-ever-you-want and ads-free. Here in Finland the gaps between US date and local date are ridiculous at times - E.g. no season 5 of Six Feet Under in sight. And sometimes you won't even get a new season, but instead the network starts showing reruns of previous seasons. They can just blame themselves.
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Prison Break in the US is at episode 7. Australia will begin showing it in February 07.

The Unit just started this week.

Heroes and Smith hasn't even been mentioned here.

We live in a digital 'everything now' age. The TV companies need to wake up if they wish to stem piracy.
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Yeah! Good that they've realized it. but i will still download all my shows.. because then i can watch them over and over again.. and i keep track of what episode and season it is. But i'm glad for my friends who don't download. The majority actually watches shows on TV, atleast where i live.

So it's always fun to spoil things they've got a year left before they can see it.
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It's not just Europe. Stargate Atlantis is halfway through season 3. Here in Canada we're not getting season 3 of Stargate Atlantis until next year and even then it's going to be on a premium movie network.
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Proof that some good does come from Internet piracy of TV shows. As with the recording industry, this is forcing television media outlets to rethink their methods of distribution.
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Thank god, We in the UK don't have to wait 1 year for Lost season 3 or 24 (which I LOVE and watched all seasons in less than 2 months this August). However, a show like 24 is so good, I can't wait a week for it to come on Sky One and plus Sky One can't even edit the show (they choose the adverts at their own pace and don't do them when the clock ticks and then they cut them)and it ruins the pace of the show. If they stop doing that, then I'd wait. Btw Veronica mars WAS good, but so far season 2 on living tv in the UK has been crap, so I'm getting bored of it. Can't wait for Prison Break 2.
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i download all my shows....
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I'm glad their doing this too. I always thought it was silly when other countries can't get the new seasons until the following year like Lost or the fiasco we had with the delay of Six Feet Under. Esecially, since everyone is wanting to talk about the episode but revealing too much ruins for fans overseas. Plus, I want my Doctor Who as soon as possible.
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This is probably going to demand lots of work from the translators, as they are short from the original air-time and subbed air-preddicted-time. Closing the gap of time, is benefic for those who are series-fans.. don't know, how much I'm gonna take before I see "24 - Day 6" here in Portugal, but if its earlier than expected, better for me :)
Cheers,
rbf
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Isnt watching a download of a tv show just like a friends taping it and giving it to you? I would download off itunes for $3 if I could see it before air date in the UK but they wont let you.



They aired some stargate eps last year on sky1 before america. I would def watch if that were the case but presently I have the channels these shows are on so Ill see the eventually. Why would you wait if you didnt have to? Biggest example - Veronica Mars. Best show on tv but not shown in the UK. A friend told me its on the Living channel now but no ads for this. I had no idea and neither does nayone else about how great a show they are missing.
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good news indeed, though i assume this will be limited to the larger international countries. but we will see, with some series we were already pretty close to the us, but with some we are years behind.
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About time, I don't see why we Europeans always have to wait years (most of the time) for a series to reach our TV's. I doubt it will help against piracy though... why stop using a gratis, ads-free, when-ever-you want, pauze/rewind kind of viewing for a ad-ridden, set-in-time one is beyond me.
There is no turning back anymore from piracy unless you start a fascistic, totalitarian regime jailing everyone who does it... which hopefully won't happen (although it looks like some want this).
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