I really don’t know anything about the debate about online piracy and what it’s costing the original artists and makers of music and TV, but here’s what I do see. An enormous missed opportunity for the global players in this marketplace. Here’s how it seems to me as a consumer with an unmet desire and a credit card.
I don’t own a TV but love to watch programmes on my laptop. I particularly love US shows like Homeland, The Good Wife, The Big C, Bones, House, Grey’s Anatomy and so on. This is quality television programming but here’s the rub. Although some of these programmes are available to stream online on the websites of their makers, they are not available if you live outside the US. Unless you use Mr Dot Com’s Megaupload.
Do I want to support piracy? No. Do I want to watch these programmes now? Yes. Would I prefer to pay ABC to stream Grey’s Anatomy? Yes. Will they let me (because I live outside the States)? Apparently not.
But imagine they did. And presumably that is possible? Then they would be making the money they tell us Mr Dot Com has made illegally. They would be making an additional $675m whilst satisfying the needs of 150m registered users making 50 million daily visits to their sites. They would be the 13th most visited website on the internet.
Why are they not doing this for themselves? For as long as they do not, it paves the way for the next internet pirate and the next and the next. I am sure most people would like me would prefer to be decent, honest, legal and truthful and pay our dues to the artists and creators themselves, those who currently haven’t found a way to allow us easy, instant, online access. This seems so obvious to me and surely I cannot be the only person who sees that? Well, no. There are 150 million of us.
The same goes in reverse. I take my laptop abroad on business or on holiday and suddenly my own home-grown favourites, BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are off limits to me. There’s no reason on God’s earth why they can’t create a speedy solution to this. As a TV licence payer (so I can stream live), surely the BBC could allow me to input my licence number + some access code which is unique to me and hey presto, I’m back online and enjoying my favourite programmes. When we are abroad, that’s often the very time we most need those familiar connections to home. Staying in a hotel on business can be grim. This would keep us in touch. And it’s so easy to do, it makes no sense at all to deny us, the viewer, this access. There are ways, Broadcasting Giants. Find them – and fast. Satisfy our needs and we’d prefer to pay you, not Mr Dot Com. And yes, I have a workaround to this denial too, but you oblige me to go looking for it. Grrr! Get a grip!
Why am I having to point this out to you, TV Giants? I know nothing about international broadcasting, you do. You are the experts. Get it sorted, Loves! We are holding out our credit cards out to you. Please, please, take my money for a service which this story reveals everyone wants and we are all prepared to pay for.
It probably isn’t this simple, but don’t tell me why you can’t do this. Just find a way to do it and soon. He did.