To illustrate this I analysed “Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles” series, currently running on Foxtel.
The first episode I examined had 22 ads.
The second had 21, and this week’s had 23.
So I thought I’d break it down so even network executives, the public and, possibly, even judges awarding damages in law suits about copying movies, could understand how ridiculous some of these damages awards have been in recent content infringement cases where the content is purely for personal consumption and not for resale at a market stall.
The Episode I discuss was aired in Australia on Foxtel Channel 108 at 8:30 pm 17th Apr 2009
Series 2, Episode 6. ‘The Tower is Tall, but the fall is short’.
The program had 23 ads, including community service advertisements, in three groups of multiples with the addition of a lone straggler, the Nissan advertisement at minute 19, which was obviously the premium advert of the program preceded by the voice-over leader ‘Don’t go away, your show will be back in thirty seconds.’
Advertising Table for the Terminator.
Armed with this information, we can now review the actual valuation of the show’s actual content based on a monthly subscription to Foxtel.
The left hand column assumes a subscription without the IQ PVR (A TIVO wannabe) and the right column, with.
*Means that you can record two programs at once doubling the programming hours capable of being time shifted to 1440 hours.
We can see the actual content value is either three or four cents.
Foxtel stole $1.50 cents of my leisure minutes
In 1984, the US judicial system ruled in the Sony Betamax case that time shifting for personal use wasn’t illegal. Foxtel is using that judgement to distribute PVR’s to its consumers.
There hasn’t yet been a test case on Foxtel stealing time from subscribers via their advertising which has meant increased revenues and extraordinary profits to Foxtel, and has apparently not resulted in a drop in viewer subscriptions.
In the instance of this episode, Foxtel stole $1.50 cents of my leisure minutes. So I have a number of choices. I can invoice them for my time but unfortunately, the proven cost of issuing an invoice is around $25.00, leaving me with a net negative balance of $23.50 for every hour of Foxtel content.
I can start keeping book on their advertising, but that would require an administrative overhead equal to approximately five minutes per hour of television that I analyzed and entered in the advertising record book.
Assuming I could be bothered to do all of that, (and my anger at Foxtel`s abuse of the original contract between me and them is getting close to taking me to that extreme), I’m sure Foxtel, who couldn’t afford to lose a precedent-setting case of this proportion, would throw everything and the kitchen sink at my legal team on the basis that sooner or later, they’d bankrupt my prosecution.
The original contract with Foxtel didn’t allow for commercial advertising. In fact originally Foxtel marketing was exclusively based on the promise that it did not have any advertising included, which naturally lead to the premise that the reason for taking a Foxtel Subscription was that more of your time could be spent ‘quality’ content than if you aired Free to air channels.
Foxtel hasn’t offered a discount for stealing 15 minutes of my life for every 57 minutes of their programming (which 15 minutes constitutes revenue generating advertising), and;
Said advertising is in direct contradiction to my original agreement for the subscription purchase of the Foxtel cable service (ie, no advertisements). And it’s unreasonable of Foxtel to require me to remove the adverts they’ve inserted illegally, which reduces considerably my Hedonic value of the Foxtel experience, which could be ameliated by the analogue time shifting and videoredo extinction of the advertising content, at an approximate time cost to me of 10 minutes of my time.
I now proffer a thesis that as long as viewers are paying a subscription service for the content, there is very little difference between:
Time shifting Method A
Recording it onto an IQ box, outputting it to an external device via various methods but lets say analogue + TV-Capture card and cleaning out the adverts via VideoRedo and then watching the resulting content.
Time shifting Method B
Clicking Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles – 2×07 – Brothers Of Nablus.avi, providing you’re connected via an ED2K service.
Happy downloading Aussies. May your Hedonic Economic enjoyment of Terminator be forever at its highest possible level.
Eventually, with everyone downloading the program, and no-one watching cable – the ratings will convince the advertising agencies that Foxtel is a losing proposition and they will focus their attention elsewhere, and Foxtel will hopefully return to its subscription based revenue model, with only a few community based advertisements and hopefully interesting infomercials.
Sorry Nissan. But call me. Perhaps we can discuss where you should advertise.
Tom Koltai – p2pnet
[Koltai is an economist in Sydney Australia. He's says he's been online for 26 years, has run several ISPs and, "lobbied governments in four countries to prevent Internet restrictive usage legislation from being enacted". He says he's a strong believer in P2P, "as being a technological requirement to fully exploit the convergence of telephony with computers and remove the last barriers to human communication and interaction".]
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