The group over at TorrentFreak.com have come up with the top ten pirated shows this last year. They collected information from many Torrent Trackers to come up with this list. This list is US only.
Dexter, the show about a serial murderer who kills bad guys topped this years most downloaded list at 3.6 million downloads. Game of Thrones was second, and CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” hit third.
Terra Nova is the surprise – 8th place at 1.9 million. This is a show that is on the verge of cancellation by Fox. So does a number like this mean there is still hope for this show?
Some good news is these numbers are declining. Web streaming sites like Hulu give people a chance to see their shows on their schedule. In return, they don’t have to search for the latest episode.
However, shows like Dexter and True Blood – which are on premium channels Showtime and HBO – don’t show up on Hulu. A season of these episodes might take 2 years before they land on Netflix streaming. You can buy seasons at the conclusion through sites like Amazon, and rent shortly through Blockbuster or Netflix DVD.
Five network TV shows ended up on the list – Big Bang Theory, House, How I Met Your Mother, Glee, and Terra Nova. TorrenkFreak deduces these are mostly downloads for people who are overseas and do not have access to Hulu.
I talk about the Gaf in show 707, and then spend some time on my soapbox talking about Facebook and the implications of recent revelations. I talk very seriously about the ramifications of allowing Facebook to track your every move and how it could impact your life, relationships with a spouse and ruin your reputation.
We’ve been hearing quite a lot about Internet-delivered video content lately. Trends sometimes seem to advance slowly over a long period of time but then tumultuous market shifts seem to happen overnight.
Blockbuster just filed for bankruptcy. Blockbuster was unable to reconfigure their business structure to compete effectively with Netflix. It seems that Netflix has won the ongoing war.
Streaming video and video podcasts have been around for several years – these are not new ideas. However, what is new is the proliferation and increasing popularity of set-top boxes.
Back in the 1980’s backyard satellite TV dishes were a hobby among people that were looking for something different and as many choices as possible. That quest for choice ended up going mainstream in the form of commercial cable and satellite providers offering hundreds of channels.
Starting in 2004 people began experimenting with Internet-delivered content in the form of podcasts. I believe that podcasting happened as a direct result of broadband availability getting to a certain critical mass, combining the existing elements of RSS, MP3’s, etc. into a new form of communication. This new form of communication offered something very different along with unprecedented levels of choice.
Internet-delivered content of all kinds is rapidly becoming mainstream.
I believe 2010 is the year of the app. Apps suddenly seemed to have come out of nowhere to seeming to pop up on every device imaginable. Why the sudden popularity of apps? Desktop and laptop computers have been around for a long time, along with full-blown applications. What has really happened is that computers have now shrunk down to the point where they not only are in our pockets in the form of smartphones, but they are also showing up in HDTV sets and plenty of other devices. These devices we are running these apps on are actually quite powerful computers in their own rights.
There is now a wide variety of content that is heading for every computer-enabled screen you own, especially your HDTV.
Today I was reading an article that indicated that Blockbuster was in the process of filing chapter 11 bankruptcy, which got me thinking about the how much media delivery has changed in my lifetime and is still changing. When I was growing up in the 60’s if you wanted to see a movie, you had to go to a theater. If you missed it at the theater, it might be years before it would appear in edited form on the TV. If for some reason you were away at the time it was on and missed it, too bad it might be another year or so before they appeared again. The advantage in this of course is that movies such as Wizard of Oz were a once a year special event, the disadvantage was that it was a once a year event and easy to miss it.
When VHS tapes started selling, it was such a big change. Now you could purchase a movie to watch anytime you wanted to However VHS tapes were fairly expensive and fragile, if played over and over again, they would wear out and break easily. Storing them was a hassle, since they took up a lot of space. Plus, there were a lot of movies you may want to see once, but had no reason to keep them. This is the time when the video rental places like Blockbuster began to prosper, it allowed the consumer to rent a movie at anytime. Unfortunately it wasn’t always the movie the consumer actually wanted to see. The movies that were available to the average consumer was limited by the size and choices of their local video store.
When the DVD came along it did solve a couple of the problems that consumers had with VHS tapes, it was easier to store, it lasted longer. DVDs if properly cared for do last much longer the VHS tapes, but lets face most of us have a few scratch disk just to remind us how fragile and expensive they were Which meant that the local brick and mortar video store like Blockbuster still seem to make sense business wise. Then in 1997 Netflix came into being and turned the video rental world upside down. Marc Randolph and Reed Hasting the founders of Netflix realized that DVDs could be easily and cheaply shipped by mail. What DVDs were available was no longer limited by the size of the local video store. As longer as the movie was available for distribution, then any Netflix member could have a DVD within 3 business days. Plus early in its existence Netflix got rid of late fees, something that consumers hated about Blockbuster. Still you had to wait 3 days to get a new video from Netflix, while a video from Blockbuster was available at anytime as long as the store was open. This meant that for most consumers especially those with children Blockbuster was still the first option. It was however an option that had reached its peak and was on the decline. Blockbuster, unfortunately thought that DVDs by mail was the future, when in reality that method had already started on its downward trend,by the time they embraced it.
What Blockbuster never saw coming, was the effect high speed broadband and the integration of the computer and the TV would have on the industry. High speed broadband means that both streaming and downloading movies over the Internet are now not only possible, but also practical. Also companies like Apple, TiVo, Roku and Microsoft are now offering easy ways for consumers to view downloaded or streaming video on their TV’s. Netflix caught on to this almost immediately and started offering the ability to stream a movie to your computer or set top box along with renting a physical copy. Adding to the pressure against Blockbuster were companies like Apple and Amazon which offer the ability to download movies for viewing at anytime. The final nail in Blockbuster coffin was the explosive popularity of the smartphone market starting with the Iphone and faster more reliable mobile networking. This meant that people could watch a streaming or downloaded video in the palm of their hands at a touch of a button. Blockbuster was clearly unable to change with the times and bankruptcy is the result.
The once-king of movie rentals is now losing on market share big. Their online rental system is non-existent, thanks to a patent battle win by Netflix in 2006. So how can Blockbuster cure part of their problems? Maybe sell to Google?
Back in 1985, David Cook put together the first Blockbuster store in Dallas, Texas. Scott Beck, John Melk and Wayne Huizenga took it to franchise – which would then be bought by Viacom.
From there, it was pretty much opening stores and gobbling up others like a Pac-Man game. I remember a local company called Doorstep video that was acquired by Blockbuster by 1990. By 2000, Blockbuster was the dominant movie rental chain.
Enter the Online Movie Revolution
Once the Internet began to infiltrate, the ability to order movies at home caused concern to the rental industry. The only thing to do is join the revolution. Blockbuster and Netflix show up with rental business models. What a great idea – Rent a movie from the computer and wait a week for a disc, watch it, then wait another 2 weeks for the next disc.
Of course within time, that model would get better. No late fees, return at any time. They even found it worked on a gaming model with Gamefly.
Blockbuster sweetened the pot with the option to return to their stores and get more movies while they wait for the next titles. Add no late fees – It looked like a great option. Netflix went a different route. They went the online way – Movies from your computer right now. Through the web or through a set-top box.
Movies on Demand – Netflix on everything
Netflix’s model seemed to be more powerful than Blockbuster’s. Of course, you could only get Blockbuster on limited devices. Netflix is on the web, through your Boxee, Roku, TiVo and more. Last year, Netflix subscriber base grew and Blockbuster lost share. They closed stores, but that was not enough to keep up with Netflix and now emerging Red Box locations – where you can rent movies in the grocery store (which you have to go to anyway).
Franchise owners sued Blockbuster for their “Total Access” feature. Netflix sued Blockbuster for copying their online model. Blockbuster was also investigated for their “No Late Fee” claim. The issue was over it possibly being misleading. Blockbuster would charge a “restocking fee” for any movie 30 days late, as well as charge the renter the full price of the video if it also was over 30 days late.
It’s probably a good thing they didn’t buy Circuit City in 2008. Blockbuster might not have been around today if that acquisition came through.
So why should Google buy Blockbuster
After all that, you may be wondering why I think Google should buy Blockbuster. It seems like the company is a failing business model, but that’s not completely true. It’s just disorganized.
Blockbuster needs to enter the on demand market the same way Netflix has – ASAP. What a better way than through Google.
YouTube by Blockbuster
YouTube has struggled to get their online rental model going. Distribution companies like Paramount and Universal try to limit the on-demand option by at least 30 days. On Demand rentals turn into a “let’s watch this movie while we wait for the new stuff”. Hopefully you can find something in the sea of B-movies.
With Blockbuster’s online rental, along with brick and mortar stores and YouTube’s on-demand models, it might be a great marriage. Add to that, YouTube has reach on Boxee, Roku and TiVo already, along with a host of other devices. For $14.95 a month, you could get the best of both worlds.
How moving Google on the block would change Blockbuster
There is still something to be said about the store on the corner. Google could definitely take advantage of the older business model. Just look at how popular the Apple store is.
Google Blockbuster stores could not only have movie and game rentals, but also be the place to try out the Android OS. Maybe play with a Android tablet or phone. You could buy some Blogger wear and get expert advice on Google Adsense or maybe how to make a good YouTube video.
Get in on the Gaming
Oh, yeah – we didn’t even touch game rentals. Of course, Google would enter in a new market. They would compete with Game Fly for rentals and Best Buy for purchases. The “games on demand” market is in it’s infancy. When it explodes, Google will be right there to cash in.
Google would get local exposure, while Blockbuster’s model would grow dramatically. YouTube would get a boost on their online movie rentals, Android might get a home and Google would get into the gaming market at the right time – when it is low.
One should expect that to change when people start spending again, because there is still a great predicted growth in this market.
Blockbuster is trying to cut costs to keep investors happy. Their stock price is bordering on losing their filing. They have put their international assets on the market and will be closing stores in the next quarter to compensate. Google stepping in and paying a modest price including stock buyout would keep the company from going under.
Of course, this is only a suggestion. Other companies would also profit from getting Blockbuster – Best Buy and Walmart for example. Even Apple could see great advantage to incorporate what Blockbuster has. It’s just a question of who’s gonna do it.
Way beyond ready to head for home, this has been a long trip and I have a long list of things from my lovely wife to take care of when I get back. Rare early afternoon recording of the show. Good old Chrome decided to play games with me during the podcast so that was fun to deal with. At least no idiots in the chatroom today!
Blockbuster has announced a partnership with once-dominant Tivo to distribute videos via Tivo’s established service. Blockbuster has been looking for an edge against arguably the biggest giant in the mail-distributed video arena – Netflix. Netflix already offers video downloads and some on-demand video to XBox 360’s as well as to Roku boxes and some Blu-Ray players. Blockbuster’s deal is the first to offer rentals through Tivo.
Blockbuster shares have falling precipitously of late, as their market model doesn’t seem able to compete with Netflix’s broad offerings of movies. Only time will tell if Blockbuster, and Tivo (whose share price is also stalling) can make a decent turnaround.
Blockbuster has stated pricing starts at $1.99 for rentals (up to $3.99) and that to purchase movies will cost anywhere from $14.99 on up. Purchased movies through the Tivo service will include DRM which makes the movies only available on the Tivo they are downloaded to.
As the market for purchased DVD’s declines, both Blockbuster and Netflix will have to adjust their market models accordingly to keep up. Currently Netflix is showing regular growth, but as other companies jockey for positions in the market, expect more offerings like Blockbuster’s partnership with Tivo.