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ABC Ends Free-to-Stream, Torrenting Shoots Up 300%

18 January 2014 184 views No Comment

Cord cutting is a thing. As of January 6, ABC has blacked out streaming of their shows for a full week after they air. Previously, viewers without cable TV or a Hulu account could watch the day after. No one should be surprised that torrenting of ABC shows has increased 300 percent.

Cord cutting is about two things — 1.) not overpaying for TV and 2.) watching what we want, when we want it. There is a third element to equation, however, and that is the content owner getting paid.

And, there forever shall be the rub — viewers want freedom + convenience and ABC (content owners) want to maximize their profit.

The folks at Tru Optik have described and clearly visualized the conflict. Until January 6, ABC allowed users of its mobile apps and online viewers to see shows broadcast 24 hours after airing — now ABC dictates that viewers have to wait a week.

Unless, of course, the viewer also has a cable TV or Hulu+ subscription. Want fresh? Then pay.

Quite naturally, many viewers chose to neither wait nor pay. As shown in the graphic above, torrenting of Agents of SHIELD Episode 10 (before Jan 6) vs Episode 11 exhibited an over 300 percent increase.

Fundamentally, torrenting (in this instance) is piracy and everyone hates piracy. One would think ABC hates piracy most of all. So, why would ABC take an action that everyone knew would lead to more piracy?

Assuming the broadcaster isn’t just biting off their nose to spite their face (a possibility), the simple answer is that ABC either is or hopes to make more money.

So, if you are now torrenting ABC shows (cord cutting in the extreme), should you feel guilty about it? Well, yes and no.

Alternately, you could just obviate the whole sticky mess and get an antenna

What’s your take?

Via GigaOM

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