Per capita, Australia is the second-most download-friendly country in the world after Britain, and our lust for TV piracy costs the entertainment industry an estimated $200 million per year.
All I have to say to that is: sucked in, networks. If people want to watch something you’re withholding, of course they’re going to find alternative ways to get it – ways that let viewers decide when and where they want to watch it, without being beholden to erratic schedules.
Pretty much every Australian broadcaster makes a big deal about fast-tracking, but off the top of my head I can only think of two that get it right: Ten, which airs House the day it airs in the States; and the Comedy Channel, ditto with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. (Nine was doing top work with Fringe up till this week.) Plenty of other shows air in Australia three, seven or 10 days after premiering overseas, but… that’s really not good enough. The internet is instantaneous. Keep up.
I realise that in the real world it’s probably not as simple as that… but when an Emmy Award-winning comedy like 30 Rock (or a cult drama like Gossip Girl, or an easily-spoiled reality show like Project Runway) airs in Australia months after the US, in an unpredictable, late-night timeslot to boot, folks are plenty justified downloading it.