When creators drive people to piracy

A couple months ago I wrote a post showing how some TV shows make it difficult to watch new episodes, either by not releasing it in all markets or in delaying the release. The point I was trying to make is that they made piracy the more attractive option and that i think it might be worthwhile to pursue the lost customers.

I’ve come across another example of a show driving fans to commit piracy. This time it’s Doctor Who.

I really didn’t expect to have to write this post about DW because they were supposed to have come to their senses with this series. As a concession to the reality of piracy, episodes are no longer delayed 2 weeks in the US. Instead they are broadcast on the same day as in the UK.

Just not this week. The US broadcast of episode 6 has been delayed a week because of the Memorial day weekend in the US.

Fine by me. I’m a rabid fan and I pirated the episode Sunday morning. If they don’t want me as an audience, it’s their loss.

As it turns out, DW haven’t really come to their senses on piracy. Did you know that all 6 episodes from the current series are available online? At least, I assume they’re online; I can’t see them because I’m outside the UK.

Do you see the problem here? The people who follow the rules are hurt by them and the pirates are not. How is that a good idea?

Everyone loses when piracy is the better experience for the fan. We’re not being counted as an audience and we actually have to work to bypass ridiculous restrictions. Plus the restrictions don’t actually stop the pirates.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Tyler30 May, 2011

    With television viewing, Memorial Day weekend is a bad weekend for ratings. People are out traveling, pools open and there are pool parties, beaches start becoming packed, families picnic and all that sort of thing. It is an economic decision for them to make.

    That’s why you see these marathons typically on television for the holidays.

    Sorry that you feel you were forced to pirate and could not wait a week. It shows the problem with the mentality of people that they have to have everything now and feel cheated if they are not.

    So now, I guess Dr Who will be a week off from Britain or were they going to run 2 hours of it next week.

    1. Nate Hoffelder30 May, 2011

      “Sorry that you feel you were forced to pirate and could not wait a week. It shows the problem with the mentality of people that they have to have everything now and feel cheated if they are not.”

      It seems you missed the point.

      You might call the “I want it know” mentality a problem, but it is also the truth. Creators need to adapt to reality and provide the audience what they want. That is my point.

  2. Tyler30 May, 2011

    Do you even understand why they did it?

    1. Nate Hoffelder30 May, 2011


      It was a tradeoff. They’re hoping that the viewers they lost to piracy this week will be less than the viewers they would have lost to the holiday weekend.

      1. Tyler30 May, 2011

        It is all about ad revenues. That is why there is scant new content found anywhere this weekend. That is why you see lots of marathon’s on tv during the holidays. They are just repeated shows which keeps costs down when ad revenues are low.

        1. Nate Hoffelder30 May, 2011

          You should go read my last post on this; I provided a solution.

          What they should be doing is bundling the ads with the downloadable version. that way they can count downloaders as part of the audience.

          1. Tyler30 May, 2011

            They make so much more money on telecasts right now with ad revenue then they would by bundling a few ads on a downloadable version. In the future, the scenario you present is probably what is going to happen. It takes time and a marketplace.

  3. Time Shift30 May, 2011

    The networks are still in dream land thinking they dictate when people watch TV shows and movies. This is why VHS and DVRs were created so that viewers can manage their own time. Pirating is also a tool in the viewer’s time management. Another tool is buying DVDs. Of course, Dr Who DVDs are really expensive.

    Sure, I am having fun on the holiday weekend without watching TV but I can record any of the shows I want to watch. But the networks think I can’t be in two places at once. Get a clue networks, this is not 1950.

    Adapt or die networks.

    1. Tyler30 May, 2011

      They do know. It takes a lot of time and money to change infrastructure. Everything is evolving at it’s own pace and the marketplace will guide things.

      10 years from now, see if we are having this conversation still.

  4. Michael31 May, 2011

    Digital readers fighting over TV content. Cute.


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