Commentary

Netflix Won't Pay Ransom, Stream Away!

So here we have a major theft of perhaps Netflix biggest show, “Orange is the New Black” with a hacker saying he has the entire new season in his hands -- demanding a “modest” ransom.

Sounds like a possible opening of another TV show on Netflix.

The threat was to give the entire fifth season to the masses on an illegal file-sharing service for free. New season of the “Orange” is set to premiere on Netflix in June. 

Netflix didn’t pay; and and show went up on a site called The Private Bay.  The results? Maybe a shrug of shoulders.

Now there continues to be plenty of illegal file-sharing services in operation -- starting ever since the dawn of the digital age. But consider this is 2017 for torrent sites: In 2011, BitTorrent accounted for 23% of daily Internet traffic in North America, according to Wired. Now, its 5%.

Most of these activities occur with TV shows that have been on premium cable networks, like HBO and Showtime, or newer TV platforms like Netflix, for shows that are already on the air -- but not readily available. One of the most popular shows on those sites has been HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

What’s gained from the Netflix hack -- for the viewer accessing it on an illegal site? You can probably only watch a show -- easily -- on a small laptop screen.  And you save around $10 a month -- Netflix’s current consumer price. Plus, you can cancel immediately afterwards.

Even then, hacker missed the mark of how modern TV entertainment. Time-shifting, watching at one’s schedule is a big deal. That is what Netflix has tapped into and why it still buys previous seasons of big TV programming and movies.

Ask another question: When it comes to its popular series -- “Orange Is the New Black” or other shows -- how many of Netflix’s 50 million U.S. subscribers actually watch those episodes, say a week at time, or binge the entire season, when it premieres?

As so much entertainment grows, and available time to consume that entertainment shrinks, how does one value “premieres” of TV shows/content for companies like Netflix, HBO, or the big TV broadcasting networks?

1 comment about "Netflix Won't Pay Ransom, Stream Away!".
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  1. Tom Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, May 2, 2017 at 1:16 p.m.

    Only way this MAYBE works as extortion would be for a show that dollops out its episodes one week at a time, not all at once like Netflix. 

    Would anybody cancel Netflix just because they got their new season of "Orange" a week early? I really doubt there is even one individual. Anybody who could download a torrent one week early is also somebody who could download it a day after it premieres, and is probably leeching all Netflix programming already anyway. 

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