You might remember that Fox just recently did away with next-day access on episodes of their shows streaming online. That move went into effect about a week ago, and already appears to have nearly doubled the piracy rate of Fox television shows. I'm guessing that wasn't the outcome Fox was hoping for.
According to TorrentFreak, which tracks such things, the downloads increased sharply for the two Fox programs they checked--Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef. Hell's Kitchen downloads were up 114% and Master Chef downloads were up 186%.
Those are huge increases. Huge. And TorrentFreak notes some of the comments torrent users and Hulu users have left regarding the shows and the Fox waiting period:
- "Thanks a lot for uploading these, Hulu used to be my go-to but alas, they have failed me.”
- "What I don't like is up until now I have been able to watch the episode of Hell's Kitchen the day after it airs and all of a sudden they now want me to pay for it?”
- "I couldn't believe what I was seeing when I went to Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef. Right in the middle of the series idiot at Hulu decided to through in the pay services. At least have the decency to wait till the end [sic].”
Now, we all know that pirates will be pirates, right? Some people just love to download shows and movies illegally. But these stats represent new pirates, to a degree... people who were previously watching legal presentations of these shows, but are now turning to piracy and copyright infraction. It should be alarming to Fox--and other major networks and studios--that their fans were so quick to break the law.
That's not to say these fans are justified--it's still illegal, after all. But one wonders if Fox will consider reversing the decision. If the viewer's going to get the episode next-day anyway, and get it for free, then why not at least go back to official Hulu broadcasts and at least make a little ad revenue from them?