Mindjack has an interesting article posted entitled Piracy is Good?. It goes on to suggest that, far from hindering ratings, the massive Bittorrent downloads of Battlestar Galactica during its UK airings actually helped the US ratings by generating huge word of mouth advertising. They also go on to explore television and how show production and revenue generation is impacted by piracy/Bittorrents in general. Its an interesting read.
For me, the MPAA, RIAA, and any other entertainment association, are missing the boat here. The tech genie is out of the bottle, treating your customers as pirates only serves to alienate them and drives them away, resulting in loss of future profits. If I were them, I’d be finding ways to give my customers what they want, in the form they want, when they want it and at a price that’s cheaper than piracy (I include time and ease of acquisition here). For instance: Why won’t TV studios make their shows available for download to their viewers? If you missed taping Lost, no problem! Go to ABC’s site and download it. They could make a free version that contains the unedited broadcast fee, including national commmercials, and then provide a commercial free version for minimal cost (here minimal is not more than $1). Heck, they could make several different plans, from a la carte to monthly subscriptions. They could put the serious hurt on Tivo/DVR/VCR’s and make some more $$$ for themselves. But of course, this is too logical and gives the consumers more control over what they watch. Which is bad, I guess.