When exclusivity isn’t a good thing!

As we get to the end of the year there are 1001 different ‘Top 10’ surveys coming out. Top 10 news stories. Top 10 music videos. Top 10 sports moments. Top 10 products. But there is one Top 10 that is of particular interest . . . Top 10 television shows that were pirated in 2014.

Game of Thrones

This top 10 list isn’t particularly surprising. The list contains some of the most popular television shows of the past year including Grey’s Anatomy, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, The Walking Dead, even the newcomer Gotham. And if you think that was predictable then you will be able to guess which program came in at number one.

Game of Thrones.

For the third year in a row Game of Thrones has claimed this unwanted title. Clocking in at a massive 8.1 million illegal downloads in the United States, there is significant concern because only 7.2 million people watched the show legally. But it isn’t just the US where this illegal activity is happening. The series four finale this year reached an all-new record for pirating within Australia reaching 1.5 million illegal downloads. Again, a rather concerning figure considering that only 500,000 tuned in on the television.

But who is to blame here?

There is a never ending barrage of hate coming from studios and television channels condemning this kind of behaviour and this has manifested a number of marketing strategies. There is the un-skippable piracy video at the start of DVDs – but this is the textbook example of preaching to the converted!

The other major method is even more concerning. Celebrities have become involved acting as spokespeople to try and rally a movement around lawfully purchasing your entertainment. And this has had very little impact. Now that is worrying. We live in a world where the word of celebrities carries great meaning and can enact huge social change – but it isn’t working here? That raises massive red flags.

So maybe it is time to end this consumer bashing and look at why this issue is occurring.

I can’t vouch for the American society. Why would you illegally stream an episode if you could watch it earlier with a couple of adverts? That doesn’t make any sense to me. But let’s focus on Australians.

In an effort to sure up their revenue, and in the case of Game of Thrones, HBO sells exclusivity. Foxtel purchases Game of Thrones due to the promise that they will be the only television provider who can deliver this incredibly popular show. Online pay-per-streaming sites like iTunes are unable to sell the episode before it screens in Australia (often at quite a delay from America) and in order to see it on Foxtel consumers must purchase a product which provides a lot of unwanted excess programs.

So with the delay, the extra price and the outdated business model it isn’t really a surprise that people are turning to the illegal methods to watch their favourite shows.

Exclusivity is a great marketing tool in most industries, but globalisation and the advancement of the internet has meant that it no longer exists in entertainment. So with this in mind, it is time to start looking at the consumers and working out how their needs can be better satisfied rather than complaining that they no longer fit into your expectations!