Viacom and DirectTV are currently fighting over money while DirectTV customers are left without a bunch of channels. Today, on Hulu while watching Jon Stewart, a commercial came out asking folks to drop DirectTV. They even have a website now. In my opinion, this is rather childish at best. What is even more puzzling is that these companies don’t realize they are shooting themselves in the foot. Television viewers are already migrating from overpriced cable channel bundles to popular online options like Hulu and NetFlix and even piracy. Cable companies are very comfortable charging up the wazoo for a hundred channels where there might only be a few that you enjoy. They have failed to provide a la carte options for people to save money and give customers more power as to what they like to watch. On-Demand attempts have left much to be desired and it is not a solution. If I want to watch HBO, I should not have to get 80 other channels I will watch once a year.
However, the solution to piracy and the fleeing customer base to online only is quite simple. Convenience! They simply made it too hard to watch stuff. Contrary to popular belief, piracy is more of a service issue than a price issue. Take a look at Steam, the online game store, for example. It provides everything a customer can hope for. It is open 24×7, great prices, fast downloads, automatic game patches, cloud saves, huge selection of games, and a community. All a user has to do is to login with his or her Steam Account on any PC or MAC and with a couple of click is able to buy, download, and play games. Simple and Convenient.
In the other hand,the video delivery system is still stuck in the dark ages. Cable makes you spend 30% of you time watching repeated commercials and usually you end up hopping through channels until you find something decent but it has probably started already. Buying DVDs and Blu-Rays force you to watch trailers and disclaimers. You pay 20 bucks for a movie, I just want the movie to start playing. Then, it might be region locked, have no subtitles or option to download them, or might not even play if there’s dust on the disc. Online stores from companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, or Sony do not seem to get it either. You can download a movie in a device but you might not be able to watch it anywhere else or they might limit the amount of devices you can watch it on. You might have to pay extra for HD and you might not even get surround sound or captions.
So why people pirate movies and TV shows? Quite simply because it is very convenient to do so and provides a service the legal way does not. It is very easy to go to any piracy site and with a couple of clicks download the movie you want in the language you want and the subtitles you want in the quality you need, be HDTV or for portable devices. Then, you can move these files to your devices sometimes as easy as Copy-Paste. With the help of popular file sharing program uTorrent, it is easy to download entire TV-Show seasons with a couple of clicks and even watch while downloading. Then, go to a subtitling website and download captions and subtitles in several languages. I can’t even get half the TV Shows on Hulu and Netflix to show captions. These video files have no commercials and since they are all in the device, you do not even have to get up to change a disc. So, please video people, get it together quick! In the meantime, and going to hide my wallet from the Steam Summer Sale.