The Australian government has just passed the latest round of anti-piracy laws. But they have made one fatal assumption – consumer behaviour is completely determined by their money. Right? Wrong! And the Celebrate Pride function on Facebook has illustrated why it is actually the overall service which changes consumer behaviour.
Sure, money is a big concern to all humans. Most of us never have enough and when presented with an option to save some of this precious commodity we will often take it. But not always. What the government has failed to recognise is that the piracy option for entertainment offers a much better service. Yes, the prices are non-existent, but there are also other elements which are driving people towards piracy.
Timely access to new content is much more convenient for piracy than legal options which often take weeks or months for television shows. Geo-blocking means that Australian consumers are getting inferior service compared to other countries – and we know about it! And licencing agreements mean that different content is only available on certain platforms increasing our search times. None of which are being addressed by the new anti-piracy laws which almost condemns them to eventual failure.
If the service was better for entertainment in Australia (and it doesn’t just have to relate to money), then more people would engage because it would lower their psychological costs. Why? Because of the enormous update of Facebook’s Celebrate Pride function.
In the wake of the momentous US decision to allow marriage equality in every state, Facebook recognised a need for their users to display their pride in the Superpower of the Western World. And this came in the form of showing some solidarity through their actions online. It is relatively easy for users to find a rainbow flag on a Google search and then swap it with their profile picture. But this still takes time and loses the individuality of the Facebook profiles if you have absolutely no idea how to Photoshop these colours over your profile picture (like myself).
So what did they do? They gave their users an option with better service and the take up was rapid.
Within two clicks, any user on Facebook could add a rainbow hue over their profile picture. And it is now so prevalent on Facebook that the rainbows are starting to outnumber the non-rainbows. But this only happened after the social media giant introduced this easy to use function. Keep in mind, nothing changed with the monetary cost of this service, just the accessibility. And look at the difference in customer behaviour.
The same idea is true of Australia’s piracy epidemic. If you want customers to change their behaviour, you need to make sure that the change provides them with a better service. At the moment, it is just a stick . . . where’s the carrot?