Can short delays stop downloads?

Last updated 11:25 24/09/2012

Today's guest post is written by Logan Swinkels, a music video director and former On the Box contributor who offered to write about Mediaworks' Fast Four campaign, which aims to significantly shorten delays from the USA. He's also a huge How I Met Your Mother fan, but don't let that put you off. Thanks for helping out, Logan! - Chris

Last month, Mediaworks announced the new Fast Four scheme that will see some of New Zealand's favourite TV shows screening the same week here on TV Four as they air United States - in some cases, it's even same-day delivery due to the time differences.

20120924Along with Mr On the Box himself, I'm very excited about what this could mean for the future of television in this country.  It could have an influence on how we choose to digest some of these shows, and of course, see them sooner!

In case you missed the announcement, here's how the Fast Four initiative is shaping up to begin with:

Glee - premiered Wednesday, September 19
Survivor - premiered Sunday, September 23
How I Met Your Mother - premieres Tuesday, September 25
New Girl - premieres Tuesday, October 2
The Simpsons - premieres Sunday, October 7
Family Guy - premieres Sunday, October 7

For the first time last year, TV3 screened The X Factor USA the same day as it showed on Fox in the US - showing us that it is entirely possible to achieve what Fast Four is setting out to do.

This is just the beginning. Hopefully it will grow into a larger beast in years to come, with many more shows coming to us "hot off the satellite" - and it won't be limited to Four. 

You may have seen the teaser promos for season two of Homeland which say "coming soon to TV3". With the US premiere slotted for September 30, they mean really soon (as in same day, starting next Monday). This show arguably would've been a hot one to torrent for Kiwi fans itching to get their next dose of this award-winning series. Could this be an attempt to combat the torrenting issue and bring more viewers away from their laptops and back into primetime?

For so long, Kiwis have had to wait months, sometimes years, to see new episodes of their favourite shows to air in New Zealand - which then resulted in many of us torrenting these shows online so that we could stay up to date and avoid spoilers on social media and fan forums from overseas viewers.

We all know about the Government stepping in and introducing the infamous "Skynet" law last year, but from what I've seen in polls and attitudes toward it on Twitter, this hasn't stopped most of us from torrenting (aside from those crazy enough to download a Rihanna album).

I'm a massive How I Met Your Mother fan, at times completely absorbed by the storyline. I couldn't wait for it to screen months later in this country, I needed to know what was happening with Ted Mosby and the gang, and so I would resort to other methods of viewing.

But now I won't have to bother - season eight's US premiere is on September 24, and we get it on September 25.  If you do a little time-zone conversion, you will notice that's actually within 24 hours for us. Considering this could be the final season of the show, this is a great move to reel in the fans.

What I'm wondering is, with this new Fast Four initiative, will this deter Kiwis from torrenting shows?  If you knew a TV show was going to be playing the same week here as the US, would you bother trying to find a torrent that can sometimes takes a day or two for that all-important high quality version to appear, or would you just wait?

Personally, I'd just wait - I can save my data allocation for something else.

You can follow Logan on Twitter and check out his video for The Make Believe's Give It a Million.

Make sure you like On the Box on Facebook and add Chris on Twitter.
Or, feel free to
 email Chris with any questions or ideas.
This is a spoiler-free blog - please comment responsibly.

7 comments
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sophie   #1   06:26 am Sep 27 2012

I wouldn't download at all if Prime had On Demand. I've missed a few episodes of True Blood and had to crawl around the net finding bad quality downloads, since MegaUpload's disappeared. (Still bitter? Me? Gosh no, whatever gave you that idea?) And I'd probably be watching Game of Thrones on TV if I'd been given a chance to catch up on that first episode I missed, instead of buying it on DVD when I get the chance.

Tony   #2   05:43 pm Sep 27 2012

RE: Sophie #1

You can watch Prime on demand with True Blood episodes available. ISKY.CO.NZ

Sam   #3   08:18 am Sep 28 2012

Too little too late. My viewing habits changed ages ago. Going back to old fashioned tv now would be too painful. I'm used to higher quality, ad free programming. It just eats my broadband.

Now if I could pay for an ad free HD broadcast service, that had content up to date with the rest of the planet, I would jump on it.

sarah   #4   07:34 pm Sep 29 2012

Kudos for the initive.

None of thise programs are at all interesting to me.

Could possibly make me watch if the programs I watched were available quickly. But TV3/4 haven't had any programs I watch anymore for 2 years or so...

Mark C   #5   09:00 am Oct 02 2012

People download Survivor? Oh dear oh dear. they deserve to be caught, for having absolutely no taste. Actually its a strange list - those aren't really the kind of shows that the heavy downloaders download - excepet maybe Family Guy. Its the plot-heavy dramas that get most download action because the fans want to be able to go online wityhout hitting spoilers about their favourite shows - I don't see that as an issue with half these shows, and Glee has a different demographic. the shows that need to be on this kind of fast rottation are stuff like Fringe, Doctor Who, Sons of Anarchy, Dexter, Game of Thrones - the kinds of shows fans discuss in online forums.

Darin   #6   01:30 pm Oct 04 2012

This is a good start however now they need to sort out the relentless advertising which to the viewer serves no other purpose than to ruin an otherwise pleasant experience. I feel only then will people be satisfied.

Chris   #7   04:17 pm Oct 06 2012

Personally I don't think this will work as most of us have got out of the habit of being in the front of the TV when the programs are broudcast. Sure it will be great to watch them quickly but until every house has a PVR it won't stop people downloading programs to watch later

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