After Fox placed an eight day delay on bringing new episodes from many of their shows online, a completely expected rise in piracy of those shows was reported by TorrentFreak. It seems that Fox is responding to that article, not by addressing the increased piracy, but instead by answering a completely different question.
The original TorrentFreak quickly touched on the theory that Fox’s goal with these delays was to get people to watch live TV instead of watching it via the web. Scott Grogin, Communications VP at Fox, responded to that concept saying:
“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.”
Nowhere has Grogin addressed the large uptick in piracy after this delay scheme was implemented, instead focusing on one of TorrentFreak’s speculations as to why the delay was being put in place to begin with.
Also how is Fox providing “maximum benefit” to households paying to watch their programming by implementing online delays for non-subscription viewers? Currently only Dish Network subscribers can bypass the delay to get to video content immediately. If Fox wanted to claim they were providing the greatest benefit for paying households they would have set up deals with all service providers before putting the delay in place. Most of us who do not use Dish Network are no longer getting the “maximum benefit” and are instead either being forced to wait 8 days for online content, or illegally download the content in order to not have an episode spoiled for us.
This still stinks of a poorly thought out ploy to get people to watch TV live, no matter what Grogin has to say on that matter.