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August 11 2004

Must-download TV. With the latest developments in TV-show-trading technology, asks amongst other things "If you download an episode of "Buffy..." rather than ask your brother to record it, are you really doing anything that bad?".

I'm afraid that if you don't subscribe to Salon like I do, you have to view one of their ads (for free) to get to the article.

What perhaps UK viewers may not realize is that in the US, there is no 'license fee' such as the BBC gets. Commercial television programs like ANGEL are initially paid through a partnership between the broadcast TV network (i.e. The WB) and production company (Twentieth Century Fox Television), and sold to advertisers based on the potential audience who see the series. There's the catch: downloading the show means you don't see the commercials, thus it's no benefit to the companies who put money into it. Shows on broadcast television are not produced for DVD sales-- that's the back-end which goes to the production company. The network (The WB, for example) doesn't see any revenue from DVD purchases.

Now, 'premium' cable/satellite networks like HBO and Showtime are a different matter -- they get their revenue from subscribers *and* benefit from DVD sales on productions they finance (such as The Sopranos and Six Feet Under.) But HBO (which, incidentally is owned by TimeWarner) also doesn't like downloads, because it means lost subscriptions -- which is why they go after public showings in places like bars/pubs of their premium channels.

[ edited by SaveAngel on 2004-08-11 20:24 ]
I downloaded every single ep of Buffy, Angel and Firefly. And I don't feel bad about it. Why?

As a german who spends a lot of time online, reading what people in other countries have to say about films and tv shows, it would be hard for me to wait months (for movies), or a year or more (for tv shows) only to get a butchered (as in horribly translated and badly dubbed) version of a piece of art. (Whew, anyone has an idea how to make thats sentence even longer?)

If Fox or WB had offered an online subscription service to download episodes officially from them I would have paid for that. But that would come in their way of dividing the world into different parts to sell rights. But the internet makes the world a smaller place and those old men running the entertainment industry just haven't noticed that yet.

I'm sure if Joss really knew how bad Buffy and Angel are treated over here he would puke. Everyone who tells you that the translation and dubbing are "not that bad" clearly doesn't speak english very well and/or believes McDonalds is a gourmet restaurant as well. Or thinks David Hasselhoff actually makes quite good music.

I'm still buying the DVDs.

"Bootleg the puppy!"

[ edited by PowerToThePeople on 2004-08-12 11:03 ]

[ edited by PowerToThePeople on 2004-08-12 11:04 ]
As a UK based Buffy fan I downloaded all the episodes rather than wait four or five months to see them here. In the days of wildfeed I could see the latest episode before it aired in the US!
With movies they have started to release blockbusters at the same time worldwide, why not do it with TV shows? I'd much prefer to watch episodes on my nice widescreen TV with surroundsound than on my PC monitor but if the price for that is having to wait four months, and not be able to take part in (mainly US) online discussion about that episode, then I'll download it.

Has anyone lost out? I'd fast forward through the ads anyway, and I've bought all seven seasons on DVD when they came out. Who have I cheated?

If I told a Hollywood suit that from now on he'd get his Hollywood trade papers four months after everyone else would he stand for that?
I can't see the problem with downloading TV shows, to me it seems like a victimless crime, shows take to long to get from the US to the UK. Almost every TV show I've downloaded, I will buy on DVD when they're released (with perhaps the exception of Enterprise) so if anything it helps them make the money, I wouldn't be able to see some of the shows if I didn't download them. I got to watch about 3 episodes of Angel on Sky this year because they moved it to give 24 it's old timeslot, meaning Angel clashed with soccer (which my dad insists on watching) every week.

Films, I do see where theres a problem downloading, but still every film I may or may not have downloaded I've bought on DVD, I've seen most of them in the cinema too, so they weren't even losing a ticket being bought.

I'm going to try my damndest to avoid downloading Serenity not because of the legal reasons, but because I don't want to see the first time on my monitor.
Downloading films isnt a good thing. No matter how many still buy the DVD or watch it in the cinema, the way most P2P programs work is that as you download you also upload to others. This means although you may buy the DVD or still go to the cinema you are uploading to others who wont. Though this isnt the huge problem music and film companies are making it out to be, when cassette tapes were invented there was the same fuss made.

But as far as TV shows are concerned, i pay my TV licence(everyone in the UK has to pay to own a TV) i pay for my cable channels so no matter what i download the companies are not missing out on a single penny.
I also do not see any harm in downloading TV shows. Since moving to Japan from the USA last year, downloading was my only option to watch 'Angel' season 5. But even in the states, I would purposely tape my favorite shows so I could fast forward past the commercials. No loss there. I still buy the BtVS/Angel DVD box sets the very day they are released. As a matter of fact, I always buy 2 sets. One for myself and one for my 13 year old niece who's as huge of a fan as I am.

Speaking of DVD releases, I found a site that's showing a preliminary release date of October 26,2004 for BtVS season 7 DVD box set region one. I mean preliminary as it still isn't open for preorder as of yet.

Scroll down near bottom of page.
Downloading TV shows is the only way to get to see certain shows. Being another UKer I almost never watch the actual TV these days, there are quite a few shows that I've never seen a single episode of on the TV. Without downloading I would never have gotten to see the genius that is Wonderfalls (though that's mostly the case for people in the US as well, damn FOX!) One of the problems over here is the clash between Sky (satellite) and terrestrial. People who can't afford Sky can get seriously screwed over, Angel was badly mistreated by Ch4 (while Buffy was being shown on bbc 2 so any cross-overs were seriously messed up and Buffy was shown at 6:45 and so cut to shreds) However both shows were shown (as far as I know) uncut and back to back on Sky One.
My parents don't have Sky and they started out watching Alias, 24 and The West Wing on terrestrial, all of which have now been "cancelled" or in the West Wings' case put on indefinate hiatus. I watched the 1st seasons of all of the above shows on tv but since then have downloaded them all and so I have no problem with downloading TV shows. I also buy all the dvds of most shows I download and change the channel, on the rare occasions that I'm watching TV, during the adverts. I also don't download movies as I prefer to watch them on the big screen. I had the same standards with mp3s, I would download them to check out new bands and if I liked them, then go and buy the cd and probably go to see them in concert. Without mp3s I would've bought far less cds and gone to a lot fewer concerts.
Way WAY back when home VCRs first cam out the movie business was saying they MUST be banned or they'd destroy the industry. A few years later they found out they could make money with film rental and sales. A couple of years after that they found they were making MORE money with tapes than theatre release! So much for destroying the industry.

Many people, especialy in the UK, have seen shows that they would otherwise have never seen and are now willing to buy DVDs etc. How many Firefly fans would there have been in the UK if not for downloads? How many of those will buy the official DVDs?

The world is changing, technology is changing, but people still want good, quality, entertainment and ARE willing to pay for it. The TV and movie business has to adapt and keep up.
zz9 if such can be said, make your words mine also.
Just change the things for another country, in this case, Brazil.

Sometimes even downloading does not mean we'll not watch it again when it's finally on TV. Yesterday, I rewatched Not Fade Away on FOX.

The best part is that I don't regret ever having dowloaded it back in May, FOX didn't even treated the episode properly. Bad timed commerciall breaks. You ended up losing like 2 seconds from the end of each acts only to be shown after the break. I could watch the shows, and keep up with all the discussion.

The "Personally, I kinda want to slay the dragon. Let's go to work". Became "Personally, I kinda want to slay the drag..." - break - "let's to to work" cut within a Nip Tuck promo, as if we already didn`t knew that Nip Tuck will take Angel's place the next week. (They're a promoting Nip Tuck in every commercial break they get, at least once, even 3 times a break).

Bad subtitle company. Since Buffy since 5 and respectively Angel season 2 FOX started to show the shows with subtitles(before the shows were all dubbed in Portuguese). And an awful company was hired who was kept until the end.

I also downloaded Alias S3, which Sony won`t start showing it until November. I don`t regret it.

[ edited by Simon on 2004-08-11 22:08 ]
Out of curiousity, where do you guys go for downloading episodes of TV shows? Web Sites? P2P? I find it very hard to find what I'm looking for on a P2P network.

[ edited by Simon on 2004-08-11 22:08 ]
They say they are loosing something like 3 billion dollars a year in the entertainment industry because of pirating, but i don't see it...maybe if every download ment that a theatre ticket wasn't being bought or a DVD wasn't being bought, but in my case...and I would assume others, the only time I would download a movie was if it was inbetween theatre and DVD (and in those cases I would buy it on DVD when it came out) or if it was something that I had no interest in going to see or buying on DVD...and in some cases I found that I liked the movie so I would end up buying they made money because I downloaded, same thing with TV shows, sometimes I would download the pilot episode if it was a show I was interested in but didn't know if it was really any good, that way I would know if I liked the show or not and would buy the DVDs if it was. I think that TV studios would do good by alowing us to download Pilot episodes of TV shows that are avaliable on DVD...they might sell more.

I would say that for every dollar they loose because of Pirating another one is made because of it.
I downloaded Season 5 AtS, but I also watched it when it aired over here. I'll also be buying the DVD's when they are released.
I don't mind downloading TV episodes which was the only way for me to keep with American posters when it came to Angel season 5. And I watched the same episodes when they aired on Sky One.

I draw the line at downloading films cause I'd rather watch them in the cinema or on the telly and I have never bouught a bootleg DVD as I don't know where the money will end up. Especially in Northern Ireland, where I live. Too many terrorist groups making a lot of money out of bootleg DVDS.
KypTheMovieGeek, I download episodes from sites who offer bitttorrent files, which actually is a p2p program. So it's kinda like both.
Anybody read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace? He invisions a time when there is no more "broadcast" television, just on demand downloading of shows, movies, even news. I can almost see us moving towards such a system.

It could be nice; no more network execs making bad cancellation decisions because they're not sure if the show is profitable enough. If there are enough people downloading the show (and yes - paying for each download), then the show will continue to be produced.

The one downside of Wallace's scenario: since advertisers no longer have commercial television on which to hawk their products, they buy sponsorship on anything and everything. It's the Staples Center/Continental Airlines Stadium syndrome taken to extreme. Much of the action of the book takes place in the Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment.

It's comin' people.
Don't forget The WB's "Pepsi Smash"

In such a case, it might be argued that the program is the commercial. And it may very well be that "Truman Show" like product placements become the way that things will go, as soon-to-be-ubiquitous PVRs will allow easy ad-skipping. The WB's former CEO Jamie Kellner, incidentally, called those who skipped commercials "thieves."
My concern is that the next stage for advertisers to make sure people can't skip the ads is that they'll end up being pop ups like the annoying promos for other shows when you're already watching one. How annoying will it be to see the Energizer Bunny pop up, banging his drum as he hops across the screen.

And great point Simon about where exactly does the money go for bootlegged copies. I've never bought a movie but I am guilty of buying VCDs of Angel before they came out on DVD. I did also buy the DVD set but it never occurred to me that it could be some terrorist trying to make money. In my case, I'm pretty sure it wasn't because the seller appeared to be just another fan by the things they were buying but still you never know. So I definitely won't be buying anymore vcds!
NumfarPTB >>> Right there with you. Fox has been cutting the final seconds off of every Angel episode for the past two months, and the translation is ridiculous. I'm glad I downloaded, or I'd've turned off the TV before I even saw the "Let's get to work" part (which I'm sure a lot of viewers did). It's not a big difference, but come on. It's the final line of a series.
I download and I buy television. Back when I didn't have cable, I had to download to see a cable show. I do prefer to get the shows in DVD, if I think the box sets are reasonably priced which often they are not. However, I'm not gonna spend a lot of money on a box set for a show I hear good things about but havent seen myself due to lack of cable. Downloading gives me a chance to sample a show before I buy the seasons. Downloading also gives me a way to back up shows I recorded the good ol fashioned way. My VCR has devealoped a nasty habit of destroying my tapes so that they wont play on anyone elses vcr but mine, so downloading is a nice backup.

I even downloaded Wonderfalls, because I just couldn't wait to see the rest, but I'll still buy the dvds for it because I love the show so much and can't wait to hear the commentaries.

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