I’m perplexed by all those out there that complain that Australian’s are the biggest illegal downloaders of TV programs like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. However catch some of these studios off guard and they’ll let slip that illegal downloads actually help build up viewers. So you can’t have it both ways. 

If these studios spent less time complaining and trying to discourage or catch illegal downloaders and more time looking at why it’s happening they may actually solve a lot of these problems pretty quickly. Firstly I don’t think you will ever be able to reduce illegal downloads to zero however I have done some talking with friends about this topic and it appears the main reasons for them downloading content are all the same. 

The main reason’s are:-
1. You can’t get shows legally as soon as they air in the U.S. So simply fast track these shows immediately to Australia. The delays for most shows can be as long as a whole season behind. 
2. If you are going to put popular shows on cable in Australia people are not going to want to pay $70 or $80 a month just to watch one or two shows. 
3. Most of those I spoke to would be happy to pay for the shows if they were available. So air these shows in Australia within a day of the U.S and immediately then make them available on iTunes. 

I know for me, I would happily pay for the pleasure of watching these shows if they were available at a good price and immediately on iTunes. If I didn’t want to pay for them I’d invest in a DVR because I know I could watch them immediately at release and at a time that suits me. 

It seems studios and distributors are just not willing to look at their business models. The delays at getting these programs to Australia is ridiculous and it’s only the fast tracked ones that are convenient. The problem is that this stuff is not rocket science. But whatever model you adopt it has to be across the board. If a show is not picked up by an Australian station which quite often happens with good shows then don’t hold out waiting for the local TV stations, just send it directly to iTunes. Another thing I see a lot of with US shows is that in the US they will air the Pilot for a show to see whether it is gets interest. Australian stations need to do this or alternatively after airing the Pilot in the US, release it as an iTunes freebie in other countries to see how much interest it gets. It will be a good sign for studios to see the international audience and may also encourage Australian networks to bid for the show. 

There is a lot of problems with the way that Australian networks do their programming but this will at least fix one. Another piece of advise for Australia’s desperate networks is don’t spend weeks advertising an awesome new show that we all know has already been cancelled in the US. We have seen this a number of times. A show that got a season and was cancelled is then promoted on Australian TV as the next big show. We are not idiots.