Hollywood Encouraging Piracy?

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Recently, someone recommended a television show that I had not heard of before called The Walking Dead. From what I understand the show follows a band of people trying to survive after a “zombie apocalypse.” The show airs on AMC.

I get the AMC channel on my cable subscription, so there is no problem there. The show has been on the air for a while and several episodes have been shown. Since I have never seen the show before, I figured I would start by watching episode number one and seeing if I was interested enough in watching it to set up a recording on my DVR. The show is not on Hulu, which is annoying, but not unheard of. Instead Hulu redirects me to AMC where I can read all the promotional material I want, and where I can watch promotional “behind the scenes” stuff and commercials for the show that I already wanted to watch.

What I cannot do, is watch episodes of The Walking Dead online at AMC or anywhere else.

Now, I am not naive. I know that television channels make money from commercials that they show when their air their programs. Which is why I fully accept that CBS, for example, does not show full episodes of its shows until the day after they air on regular TV. I also fully accept that when watching those shows online they put some commercials in the show.

However, AMC offers no legitimate way for me to watch a show that first aired months ago online. Instead, I guess I’m supposed to watch an “encore presentation,” which is TV marketing speak for re-run later this month.

So, now instead of this user watching the first episode of the Walking Dead on AMC’s own website, where they could earn some money showing me ads, and more importantly, maybe make me into a fan of the show such that there will be more people watching and producing higher ratings, I’m rolling my eyes, writing a blog post, and trying to not wander over to one of the dozens of places I know I’ll be able to find episode one.

Under normal circumstances, I don’t really bother trying to pirate video anymore. It is just so much more convenient to use the legitimate sources when they exist. Of course, if you give someone a big enough push they might just keep going. After all, if I find episode 1, chances are I will also find episodes two, three, and four. I might even get so comfortable with getting those shows from somewhere else that I won’t bother ever watching them on AMC at all.

In other words, AMC thinks it will make more money by encouraging people to locate and watch pirated copies of their shows than they would by allowing them to view older episodes online. Good luck with that.

P.S.  “Hey, AMC. Do you think that people who find and download reruns of your hit shows are more or less likely to bother buying the Season 1 DVD when it comes out?” If you make it worth it for people to do the wrong thing, they will.

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