Fox Responds to TorrentFreak, But Misses The Point

Earlier this week we ran an article showing how Fox encouraged people to pirate their shows.

Fox stopped offering free access to its TV-shows the day after they air on television, and put in an 8-day delay before these appear on Hulu and Fox.com.

“The decision goes directly against the wishes of the public but Fox will take this disappointment as collateral damage in the hope that the delay will result in more live viewers and better deals with cable and satellite distributors,” we wrote in an article.

A good move business wise maybe but viewers weren’t all that happy and many decided to pirate the shows instead.

Our research showed that the number of U.S. downloads on BitTorrent more than doubled for both recent episodes of Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef.

Yesterday Fox responded to our findings, and they told HWR in a comment:

“The TorrentFreak blog post is a little over the top. The story indicates that we ‘took this drastic step in the hope of getting more people to watch shows live and thus make more revenue.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Authenticating viewers is not about making sure they only watch live…in fact, quite the opposite—we support a ‘TV Everywhere’ proposition and are working with our distribution partners to benefit our businesses. It’s about receiving fair value so we can continue to produce this expensive and high quality programming. We are pursuing a strategy where the 90+ million households who pay to watch our programming via cable/satellite/telco will ultimately receive maximum benefit. They can watch live, via DVR, on VOD, online, or through one of the various tablet apps that allow in-home viewing. We are actively in negotiations with all cable/satellite/telco providers regarding authentication of their customers. We hope to announce several more agreements before the start of the new television season in mid-September.”

Oh really? We were totally wrong?

As we mentioned in or original article, we thought that Fox was making this move to increase live viewers and satellite /cable offerings. Fox clearly disputes the live angle, but the bottom line is that they expect to make more revenue by delaying the releases.

It’s all about making more money, and with more live viewers they do exactly that. A TV viewer is worth much more than a web viewer so we have to assume that Fox wont be disappointed if their decision leads to more live viewers.

The most annoying part is of course that they try to sell their decision as a good thing.

They claim to add value for paying (and authenticated) customers, but they add nothing at all. What they do is remove value for millions of regular viewers.

If that’s not backward thinking I honestly don’t know what is.

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