I’m just going to throw this idea out there; when TV show marketers are selling out slots for their product placement bits (whenever you saw a phone on 24, someone had paid for that to be there) do they take into account the number of expected illegal downloads the program will receive?
What phone does Elle use... Oh yeah.
Lost is one of the most expensively produce shows on Earth, maybe even the most expensive (the reason we’re not so much in Hawaii this year? because that was costing about half a million dollars each episode, probably more now). Heroes, Battlestar, and 24 are all probably ranking up there in the hundreds of thousands of pounds per episode too.
I’d be pretty annoyed if I was a network publisher and we weren’t capitalising from the ten and a half million people illegally watching TV by downloading it. Product placement must be worth more than traditional ads when trying to improve company image and recognition. Traditional ads are removed from every downloaded piece of TV I’ve ever seen, making the benefit to the advertisers zero. Whereas product placed adverts can’t be removed easily, and who would want to anyway? They’re not in the way. They rarely dilute the story. So all those millions of people are definitely going to see your business’ logo, which is what you wanted, right?
I expect that if they don’t incorporate those statistics into their pricing it’s because there’s no reliable statistics out there. ShowInsider grabs their data (I’m guessing) by monitoring how many seeds and peers a torrent has. That’s really not a very effective method that promises much accuracy. Some people hide their tracker data, they can’t be looking at data from private trackers, or just trackers that are too small to know about. There are a lot of fake seeders out there (MediaDefender-esk). Lost’s 1,700,000 downloads this week could easily be as little as a million or as great as three million. It’s just not possible to find out well.
Even if you do trust ShowInsider’s data, you still have absolutely no demographics on who’s downloading. It’s incredibly hard to find advertisers when you can’t tell them who’s watching your show (BMW don’t want be advertising to twelve year olds). I know that’s one of the reasons there was such a big overhaul in the distribution method over at Revision3.
Back in the day you used to be able to donate $5 a month (or however much, really) to get Diggnation earlier. What happened was that one guy donated teh $5 a month, ripped the video from the site, and posted it on his own, days before it was released to the general public on Rev3′s website. I don’t think Rev3 minded that so much (this was before there was advertising on their website) as it was all extra coverage for them, but the problem it lead to was who the hell was this extra coverage? Because they weren’t going to Rev3′s website they couldn’t poll them to find that information out.
That’s largely I suspect why things like Hulu and iPlayer exist now. ABC got annoyed with not having the demographics on their veiwers, so they decided to release their content in a way that they could. Piracy is so arrife because I can’t watch Hulu though…