Is File Sharing Just More Convenient?

Less than 24 hours after the premiere of popular TV show Prison Break, P2P file sharers downloaded the episode close to one million times—even though you can watch the show for free, online, at Hulu and Fox.com. Why is this? Wired writer Betsy Schiffman argues it's because file-sharing is habitual and convenient.

The fact that one million people downloaded the show within 24 hours—a little less than one-sixth of the 6.5 million people who watched Prison Break on TV on Monday night—proves, though, that P2P isn't going away just because there are legal alternatives now. "This is a group of people who define themselves in part by the technology they use and the application of that technology," says Robert Rosenberg, president of Insight Research. "Chances are that this is only happening in a defined age group. You'd be hard-pressed to find 60 year-old guys passing this stuff off to their buddies."

(That number also undoubtedly includes people outside the US who can't use the Hulu or Fox options - AU ed.)

Have you ever downloaded something via BitTorrent or other P2P networks that you could get for free anyway? Why did you opt for the file sharing route? If legit avenues for downloading media become available, will you switch? Tell us what you think in the comments.


Comments

    Im in Australia and I download all my free to air tv shows on bit torrent.
    Prison Break, Heroes, Desperate Housewives, South Park, Next Top Model. . . on and on. . .
    I cant stand commercial tv. I cant stand the copious amounts of ads.
    It is so much more convenient having them when you want and all the ads are taken out for you.
    If the studios are smart then they would make the programs available to download. But then its the whole can of worms about advertising, royalties, etc.

    Have you ever downloaded something via BitTorrent or other P2P networks that you could get for free anyway? Why did you opt for the file sharing route?

    I always download via BitTorrent because I hate waiting for my favourite tv shows to be screened in Australia. I also hate advertisements interrupting my watching and I am not savvy enough (or I'm just too lazy) to figure out how to use our DVR. I much prefer to download an episode, convert it to DVD and burn it to watch on our tele. I can then also convert a number of episodes (of different shows) to DVD and watch them all in one go. I find it easier to subscribe to the RSS feed of my private tracker and download shows, rather than look at the TV week every week and remember to record them. I like watching shows at a time convenient to me, not convenient to television networks.

    If legit avenues for downloading media become available, will you switch?

    ... maybe, like ABC's iView, but only if my ISP makes their content free. I much prefer lying on the couch watching something I've downloaded on the TV, than sitting in front of the computer watching it on my 19" LCD monitor.

    The amount of ads on free-to-air and Pay TV is insulting.

    Ah yes, I have to add this too. . .
    Once Ive downloaded them I copy them across to my modded Xbox1 (Xbox Media Centre) and watch everything from there on my TV.

    I use bittorrent mainly due to spoilers, it's nearlt impossible to surf the net and not see news about any of your fave shows as they are airing in the us, we are then expected to wait 6-12 months for them to come out down here, and they're on at crazy times, re-runs in the middle of seasons, too many ads, the list goes on.

    I've started using iTunes for some of their TV, but im a little disillusioned with the pricing and lack of catalogue, that will come in time i guess

    I don't see any reason that viewers in Australia should have to wait so long for shows to be screened after they have been screened in the U.S. Honestly I don't mind all the adds.

    The time delay is the only reason why I download episodes that are shown on free-to-air TV. Would a week delay be too much to ask for, heaven forbid the night after it has been screened in the U.S.?

    Surely the Australian networks contempt for their viewers must have some bearing on this,a case in point being the much heralded return of "The Shield" well first of they stuck it on at some ungodly hour,showed three episodes and presto gone ! I believe it is this kind of behaviour that leads one to seek these things elsewhere,and these days as most people here would know,with a decent computer and a reasonable connection anything is possible.

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