entertainment

World watches American TV, not always legally

72 Comments

Fun TV fact: "Desperate Housewives" is a cult hit in North Korea. Slightly less surprisingly, shows like "Breaking Bad" and "House" are watched everywhere, from Latin America to China to France.

But the massive success of U.S. TV programs abroad also highlights a clear problem -- a huge proportion of viewers are watching their products illegally.

"It's definitely a big problem," said Tim Westcott, senior TV analyst at international media consultancy IHS Screen Digest.

"People outside the U.S. can download pirate copies of a new U.S. show only minutes after it's aired in the US via various file sharing sites," the London-based expert told AFP.

Beth Braen of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) added: "Piracy is as big an issue for the TV industry as it is for their film counterparts."

Worldwide popularity

Of course, American TV series have long been popular around the world -- "Baywatch," "Starsky and Hutch" and "Dallas" were staples of television decades before the latest crop of hit shows.

Now "House of Cards," "Breaking Bad" and "Game of Thrones" are popular way beyond America's shores. And the growth potential is enormous: global pay TV revenue last year jumped by nearly 30% to over $184 billion, according to a recent study cited by the Hollywood Reporter.

For example, in France -- long proud of its "exception culturelle" that protects its own film, television and music producers -- American TV shows now dominate TV schedules.

The most popular include "House" -- "Dr House" in French -- and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" ("Les Experts"). The biggest hit, "The Mentalist," regularly gets over seven million viewers per episode on France's biggest private channel TF1.

In China, U.S. television shows are hugely popular, even if there is little opportunity for viewers to watch them on the giant nation's state-controlled television stations.

HBO dramas are particularly a hit with Chinese viewers, and are available mainly through illicit online streaming, usually the day after they have been aired in the United States, with subtitled versions following soon after.

In Japan, U.S. TV shows are popular, with even long-running hits such as "Columbo" still garnering viewers.

Public broadcaster NHK's expansion into satellite television saw it offer a greater variety of series, with recent examples including "Glee" and "Desperate Housewives." Fantasy drama "Once Upon A Time" began its run this month.

North Korea has always derided "decadent" foreign culture and banned nearly all South Korean and U.S. films and TV shows -- but technology has punched numerous holes in the once impenetrable information barrier around the country.

"Sex and the City" and "Desperate Housewives" are the hermit state's cult favorites.

"I was often asked for medicines, but not as often as I was asked for DVDs of television soap operas," former British ambassador in Pyongyang John Everard wrote in his recently published memoir, "Only Beautiful Please."

"I once lent one contact a set of DVDs of 'Desperate Housewives' and met the same person the next day with big rings under their eyes. They had sat up all night and watched the entire series in one sitting," he said.

In Latin America, illicit downloading or file sharing is rife, with the most popular shows including "The X-Factor," "Breaking Bad," "Glee," "Homeland" and "Modern Family."

Market growth potential

The potential markets overseas are huge. "TV is unquestionably more international than ever before," Tim Gray, awards editor of industry journal Variety, told AFP. "As channels proliferate around the globe via cable and satellite, everybody needs more content."

IHS Screen Digest analyst Westcott added: "New markets are opening up all the time (Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe) and new players in the market are always looking for high quality content, ideally in high volume."

But experts compare the state of TV and film piracy to the music industry before the advent of iTunes. Like record producers, TV folk need to find a way to persuade viewers to watch legally.

"Everyone's looking for a new model that will give consumers an option that's affordable and attractive," said Gray.

Netflix, a video streaming service with a huge following in America, is touted by some as possibly pointing the way ahead overseas too.

Its "House of Cards" is the first online-only series nominated for a major prize at the Emmys.

The California-based company, founded in 1997, now has over 37 million members in 40 countries including Canada since 2010, Latin America since 2011, and Britain, Ireland and the Nordic countries since last year.

But its services, and others like Hulu, are likely a drop in the ocean compared to the tidal wave of content being streamed illegally worldwide.

The amount of money TV producers are losing out on due to illicit viewing is difficult to calculate.

"It's hard to monetize these things in the film world -- but even harder in TV," Gray said.

"Everyone agrees it's a crisis, but nobody quite knows what to do about it... Netflix, Hulu and others are trying for options, but there are no easy answers."

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

72 Comments
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Thanks to many torrenting sites on the Internet, people around the world are watching the very latest shows regardless of the local network often within a day of the show's broadcast. This is why a show like HBO's "Game of Thrones" is so highly-pirated.

Interestingly, the Japanese--especially in the anime industry--are starting to fight back. It's known that TV Tokyo invested into and legitimized the former illegal video streaming site Crunchyroll and it became the first web site to legally stream Japanese anime in English-subtitled form shortly after the original Japanese broadcast. With that success, that's why Funimation did the same, and now Daisuki--which has direct investments from the biggest anime studios in Japan and the influential Asatsu-DK advertising company--is also doing the same thing. As such, there's now a lot less incentive to illegally pirate Japanese anime shows since the majority of anime shows can be seen outside Japan now legally.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

One advise: make it available just like in the US for the rest of the world for a charge. Not 5 years after they are shown. A lot of these people downloading do not have the choice to watch them legally.

39 ( +40 / -1 )

Exactly what SauloJpn says. If I had another, legal way of watching stuff, I would.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

"In Japan, U.S. TV shows are popular, with even long-running hits such as “Columbo” still garnering viewers."

"Columbo"? Really?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If netflix or amazon prime worked on my ps3.... Or other sites that give that famed "this video isn't allowed in your country" message after you take the time to set it up...

Even hulu for japan is very limited in content compared to it's American counterpart.

Users get frustrated.

Japanese tv will have a tv drama two seasons behind the current season... And everytime you turn on the tv , the same episode will be running and the next week, the previous episode will be running ... So yeah...

Until that time, on demand is really up to the people.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

In America, technologically savvy people pirate using RSS feeds and overseas torrent hosts. Making illegal copies is easier than paying for cableTV ($$$), lets us have access to the content on any device ... laptop, smartphone, tablet, HTPC and higher quality than paying a service. Plus downloading a HiDef movie is about 70% smaller than streaming it and it is possible to keep a copy forever. Why so much smaller? No commercials (those are removed) and better compression. Commercials are about 40% of the storage for any TV recording. I was shocked to learn that. Of course, I don't know anything about this first hand. The only downside is almost all ISPs in the USA have data caps (150G-250G/month) which will easily be surpassed if HiDef streaming daily. Working from home and running into the datacap sucks, it means going into work the last week of the month. I use Amazon streaming and free hulu to stream stuff and have an OTA antenna to get about 70 local TV channels. More content than we can watch, but I do miss some shows only on cable like Pretty Little Liars - a guilty pleasure. I know that the data network provider can figure out if I'm illegally copying content by the sort of traffic.

Notice that I don't call any of this piracy or stealing - those terms imply that someone else cannot make use of the asset. A small, but important difference. If someone makes an illegal copy, they haven't prevented anyone else from buying the content or stopped the license holders from making 1,000,000 more copies to sell.

The copyright holders have been overly successful in getting copyrights extended. The goal is to allow creators to make a profit, but not to keep the material out of the public domain indefinitely. That harms societies and prevents new ideas and new creations. Derivative works were expected when copyright laws were originally created. Disney has been leading this and abusing the system, IMHO. But that is a different comment for a different article.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

It is not a crisis. It is money they never had. Just leave it alone.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

I would GLADLY pay money if I could watch shows like Breaking Bad live. Now I have to rush and torrent it after it aired before everyone spoils the ending. One more episode btw, can NOT wait!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Perhaps I'm guilty, but I watch all of my American programming via free streaming sites. I don't download the content though. But is this any different from when I used to DVR the program off a cable TV feed to watch later?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Normally I may use a VPN to get me to a USA server to watch US shows. But I think that there are more British shows being watched now. Downton Abbey is being shown in the UK now and it's already out on the web. It will not be shown in the USA until Jan, as well as "Strike Back." The Austrailian show "A Place To Call Home" has not made it to USA TV but many people have see it.

The media companies need to get more savvy and realize that they have to rethink how they get their money. Instead of selling commerical time, they need to start putting more products in the shows similar to what they did back in the early days of TV. Companies need to adapt or die.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Instead of fighting it, they should get on with the times, it's an international market, deal with it!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It's weird though...aren't most of these shows on the major networks that air for free anyway?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

... I find it ironic that the U.S. TV networks are essentially WHINING about how their series have become popular internationally. How do they suppose this happened?

First a small set of people downloaded the series for free and watched it, then the copies were handed around (or recommended by word of mouth to other people who downloaded the series), and slowly it became popular. Of course in most countries English isn't the first language, so only a tiny percentage of people could watch the downloaded shows without subtitles.

By this point the U.S. shows had a sufficiently large following to get the TV networks attention, and had proved their popularity, so now the overseas TV networks approach the U.S. TV networks to buy the rights to air those shows. The U.S. TV networks get their money.... AND STILL WHINE?!?!?!

It just boggles my mind. Without people downloading the stuff people outside of the U.S. would never know about these shows, and would never recommend them to anyone, and the U.S. TV networks would be stuck selling their product to only a domestic audience.

Yes, some people illegally download their shows. Get over it. At the end of the day it normally results in a massive contract with a foreign TV station to broadcast the show to everyone in the country, including the person who downloaded it illegally, so stop whining.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

It is super simple, availability and quality of service. Look, I pay for netflix, what do I get ? A standard quality video, a week or a few days later ? I torrent the show, atleast 720p HD quality video the day after. Now, you're wondering why people pirate it ?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What's wrong with Columbo? I really enjoy it even now...

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Gee that just lowered my opinion of the humans on the rest of the world. Thanks to forty minutes of commercials for each twenty minutes of what is called an hour show, I just don't watch American TV. Now when I was a kid and hour show had one commercial say about a minute, the rest was show. I would even pay for TV like that, but not just to have more commercials as it is now.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

We do not have television in our house, stopped two years ago and is the best thing we ever did.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

So, a decade on, the same problem exists - JUST GIVE US THE DAMN SHOW ON DEMAND AND WE'LL PAY FOR IT!

greedy b*stards...

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It goes the other way around too. Japanese anime and manga are very popular outside Japan. The vast majority of manga is provided for free to the world through scanlation web sites. Nearly all anime is available for free through streaming sites.

It would be interesting to see some real honest studies done, and finally get to the truth regarding the financial impact these services have. I'm guessing most would be really surprised.

There is such a huge opportunity here.

The delivery mechanisms are already in place for anyone to leverage a world wide audience, the missing piece is language translation. Someone, why not Japan, needs to develop automatic translation that really works, instead of the confusing mess that we currently have. What we used to call printed materials should instantly available in all languages.

Once textural translation is finally figured out, auto dubbing could happen next. If Japan can make a computer sing ... Hatsune Miku, it aught to be able to automatically dub dialog.

Then again, maybe that would be bad .... Tower of Babel.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ Frungy: You are very correct on that! Not only do the foreign TV stations buy the series from the US, but once Americans see that the show is popular around the world, it will then drive up the domestic audience. Also with a highly world wide popular show, they can charge more for advertisers, even though they may not see the advertisements around the world. One other thing that they do and not tell, is sell the rights of the show to another country/production company, so that the show can be made in another language. But they couldn't do this if the world didn't have a demand for those shows.

If they really wanted to get ahead of the game, they should lift the ban on certain advertisements not being allowed to be shown in different countries. For a time in the USA, radio stations stopped streaming world wide because advertisers were able to pay local rates and get their message around the world. But people started not listening to streaming and somehow they got the message and now sream, just blank out the commericals who don't pay the full price.

I remember back a few years when Japan decided it wanted to get tough on people illegally downloading movies unless they came from legit sources like I-tunes, etc, in an attempt to get viewers back to watching Japanese shows. That didn't work out too well, people just stopped downloading and viewer rates didn't really pick back up.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Speaking of Desperate Housewives, they just finished airing the final season in Japan recently. Why did it take so long for them to show it? Another show I enjoyed was "Damages", but they never showed the last 2 seasons in Japan. Well both of these shows were broadcast by NHK in Japan so perhaps they are sitting on the license. This just furthers my dislike of NHK.

Although its easy to get the torrents, my wife needs the Japanese subtitles, so I usually wait for it to air in Japan. In some cases I can get the fan-subs almost immediately, which I'm very grateful for. Hannibal, Bate's Motel, Homeland (1&2), and The Following are all shows I enjoyed where the subtitles were available quickly. American Horror Story also but this one was broadcast in Japan right away anyway. The Following is just now going to be shown on WOWOW I think.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The copyright term has been extended numerous times thanks to bribes from the media companies. Since bribery is illegal I view the copyright law as illegal and take no notice of it anymore.

You can keep on shouting "downloading is theft" until you are blue in the face, but I don't care. The real crime is the corruption of the legal system by the media companies: where is the punishment for them?

In order to make money companies need to provide a service that is better than that offered by the pirates. They need to make episodes available on line at the same time as they are broadcast. They need to do this globally and they need to charge the same, reasonable, fee everywhere. Any regional restrictions, strange file formats or attempts at price gouging will only lead to a loss of revenue.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

We do not have television in our house, stopped two years ago and is the best thing we ever did.

Falseflagsteve - wonderful, but how many hrs a night does your family sit glued to a computer screen?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@Hoserfella, no computer screens used except for my work and my wife after kids have gone to bed, The children do nothave access to televison or the internet. We do watch suitable movies or documentaries a few times a week as a family.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Falseflagsteve - fantastic! Were you trying to make a point about the availability of US programming or were you just fishing for a compliment?

1 ( +9 / -8 )

@Hoserfella, no just sharing the good experience not watching television has given my family and some of those televison mostly (the worst IMHO) from the US. I am not interested in compliments are being rude to other posters.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

It seems the online media companies go to great lengths to prevent people from using them outside of the designated country: can't sign up for Netflix, American Hulu or iTunes if your credit card is registered in Japan. Can't watch BBC or some videos on YouTube ("Not available in your country"). I WANT to pay. I'm not allowed to.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I currently pay money to a service (unblock-us dot com) to watch my Amazon Instant Video content as if I were in the U.S., and the content mafia can kiss my mouse.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

falseflag, how does your family watch movies or documentaries without a TV? Do you all sit huddled around the laptop?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hopefully, people here have watched Kevin Spacey's recent speech about how new technology is about to make current means of content delivery obsolete. Given that issue, I would not be surprised that within 20 years people will be able to stream any program from anywhere in the world live--because there will be no such thing as regional limitations for TV broadcasting when everyone has superfast (over 30 megabits/second download speeds) Internet access.

This is why TV Tokyo's investment in Crunchyroll in 2009 proved to be groundbreaking--finally, we could see the very latest anime from Japan almost as fast as the Japanese see it themselves! No more having to go to weekly or monthly anime club meetings to (cross your fingers!) see the latest episodes or illegally download it through torrent sites. Indeed, I was able to enjoy the recently-concluded "Suisei no Garugantia" through legal streaming from Crunchyroll.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@rokyo-Star, we have a television in the house but we do not have means to watch broadcasts, it is used as a monitor for the PC now.. I have a Netflix subscription to watch movies or documentaries in this manner or from Youtube which now has much more content all the time. The problem with US tv and also US is most of it does nothing to stimulate the mind, even the news is so poor as to be almost un watchable. I certainly do not want my kids being influenced by the celeb culture and consumerism pushed by modern day shows.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Here's the problem: You want to see something that is being hyped in international media. So, you go to your local Tsutaya, but sorry -- it's three years behind. So then you go to Japan's iTunes site -- sorry, unavailable. So, you try to buy it on iTunes US or at Amazon... sorry, not available/allowed at your location.

Do you really wonder why some people download illegally? If people want to get serious on copyright they might want to start by asking why movie/music rental sites sell blank DVDs/CDs/MDs next to the cash register they rent out 5 movies for one night from.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

you mean these guys are operating at a loss? Wait, they are making billions, so who cares

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Why would anyone want to watch American TV? There are hardly any scenes of people eating, falling down, hitting each other with squeaky hammers or shrieking "Ehhhhhh? Ehhhh?" at humdrum things on Breaking Bad.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

The problem with US tv and also US is most of it does nothing to stimulate the mind, even the news is so poor as to be almost un watchable. I certainly do not want my kids being influenced by the celeb culture and consumerism pushed by modern day shows.

a lazy, uninformed statement. American television has more quality programming and news to choose from than ever before. Fox and Friends or Honey Boo Boo is all you explored?

1 ( +7 / -6 )

falseflagsteve: "We do watch suitable movies or documentaries a few times a week as a family."

The internet, as bad as it can be, is a very, very valuable and educational tool. You are denying your children of something that is more and more becoming 'mandatory' as a source of information for school (ie. essays and what not). You don't need to be glued to Facebook or YouTube in order for the internet to be valuable. Clearly you have no problem logging into a news site and passing the time in making comments. By the way, is this the same 'steve' that said he would destroy his wife's cell phone if he caught her taking pictures of food? Sounds like the same guy.

Ian Duncan: "Why would anyone want to watch American TV?"

You wouldn't be able to ask such a question if the demand were not so high. TV is the new Hollywood, so to speak, with people moving back from the silver screen to the TV screen. Movies are the new old. Something that was once unforgivable in many Western cultures (moving 'down' from movies to TV) is now all the rage. There are SO many popular American TV shows that it's hard to begin where to start to answer your question. The problem is that unless a Japanese actor is in them they tend to come out years after the fact, if at all, here, and hence the problem of piracy.

If made available on demand, people would gladly pay.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

smithinjapan:

There are SO many popular American TV shows that it's hard to begin where to start to answer your question.

You could start by reading the rest of his post and realizing it was sarcasm :-)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@hoserfella; Please stop the rudeness and try to respect others opinion without these snipes which add nothing to the discussions.

@smithinjapan; I am not denying my children anything at all, they have internet access at school and if it was needed for a project they could have access, that need has not arisen yet. Television makes kids and parents lazy, i learnt that after we stopped having it.I am an adult who is self employed and can do what i like with any time i have during the time the same as my children will be able to do when they are adults and paying my way. I have no idea about your claims of me destroying my wife's phone due to her taking pics of food, she does it all the time. You must be confusing me with someone else.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

All readers back on topic. Please focus your comments on what is in the story and not at each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

therougou: "You could start by reading the rest of his post and realizing it was sarcasm :-)"

Fair enough, and you are entirely correct. My apologies to Mr. Duncan. My point still stands, though -- just not as a retort anymore.

falseflagsteve: "I am an adult who is self employed and can do what i like with any time i have during the time the same as my children will be able to do when they are adults and paying my way."

You want your children to pay for you?

"I am not denying my children anything at all"

You are, actually. Do you deny TV and internet at home? Yes? then how is that not denying them?

"You must be confusing me with someone else."

Nah, I think I got the same guy. But anyway, go one and keep using the internet to read comments and post on JT while talking about how lazy technology makes everyone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smithinjapan:

The problem is that unless a Japanese actor is in them they tend to come out years after the fact, if at all, here, and hence the problem of piracy.

I was going to say Walking Dead has been aired pretty timely since last season but they did keep milking that Japanese zombie contest winner until she finally appeared for just a split second in a group of other zombies, lol.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I haven't watched Breaking Bad yet but almost every show I watch stars an English actor, not American.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

American TV getting a bit of a grilling here. Shows like The Wire & The Sopranos are beautifully written and acted. Nobody else can make shows like this, they are benchmarks. A friend of mine recommended the Wire to me. Couldn't find it in Tsutaya, so downloaded all 5 series in a few hours then welded my door shut for a week. Was brill. If any paid service can match or surpass this service, then I might put my hand in my pocket. Sorry America

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Smithinjapan

Ian Duncan: "Why would anyone want to watch American TV?" You wouldn't be able to ask such a question if the demand were not so high

I was being sarcastic, old boy. I'd rather go to the dentist than watch the crap they pump out on the telly here.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

US TV dramas and comedies aired in the UK (the newer ones anyway) are more like lifestyle shows than anything else: they are hailed as 'must see' TV and if you don't watch them you're an outsider. However, thanks to BBC4 and Channel 4 in the UK we have been getting more and more European series: "The Returned" from France being a prime example. There is also the strange phenomena of US series being a hit in the UK with British actors in lead roles: "Game of Thrones", "House", "Elementary" and "Homeland".

The only current US series I watch is "Big Bang Theory"... I'm just not really interested in the rest.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sports, sports on t.v.,mythical dramas on t.v all are just advertisement boards and distractions from your real life experience. Like Hitler said, "Give the masses bread and games"....easy to control when their simplest needs are met. When a 90 minute movie plays for 150 minutes, because of commercials, it is time to stop watching. Time to start paying attention to real life. A one hour show had about five minutes of commercials fifty years ago.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As I understand it, and I could be wrong, downloading is illegal, but streaming isn't, in Japan, though the US would like it to be. Here's a link and the rationale. Discuss, discuss.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-07-17/japanese-government/streaming-not-illegal-under-new-law

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We should punish those who pirate materials by making them watch japanese dramas!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The main reason why people download/stream the specific TV serie, because it is not available, if really far behind, in there own country.

Lets take a looks at my country, The Netherlands. Yeah!!! Be got Netflix now, but aaaaah but still alot of series missing or are really behind (a few seasons). The reason this is because of all those copyright owners......... And until they fix that, you will always have people who will downloads US TV series illegally.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As another poster put it : I also still love Columbo ! (We watch it on Hulu).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

TV folk need to find a way to persuade viewers to watch legally.

How about just getting it out to people outside of the US in a timely manner! I pay for HULU here, but they are years behind on most shows. If I knew I could get the HD version of the latest Breaking Bad within a week or so, I would happily wait for it. But if the distributors drag their heels, then they shouldn't complain when people turn to Piratebay.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why doesn't HBO (for example) have its own international paid torrent site with a 1:1 share requirement. Then we could all use our own bandwidth to download and share their allowed content. HBO wouldn't even need much bandwidth that way, people could legally download their content, and HBO could increase its own takings at the same time. I would happily pay for such a service, especially living in Japan where the legal domestic alternative is to watch little known tarentos watching people eat things, whilst making daft faces in silly little boxes on the screen. No wonder American TV has taken over; the USA makes a whole load of excellent programs to suit almost every taste, and generally at high budget.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Christopher Blackwell " Thanks to forty minutes of commercials for each twenty minutes of what is called an hour show, I just don't watch American TV"

I guess you have been living under rock for the past 10 years. First off. HALF of the decent shows like Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones, House of Cards have ZERO commercials to begin with. TONS of popular BBC shows (Top Gear) and dramas like Sherlock and Luther have ZERO commercials. The rest of the shows that do have commercials, are never ever seen by anyone. EVERYONE in the USA has Tivo, or some sort of DVR. You just fast foward through commercials now. OR just get the show at the exact same time on itunes or something.

commercials. next you are going to talk about how you dont use the phone anymore beucase its such a pain to dial a rotary.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

SauloJpn : One advise: make it available just like in the US for the rest of the world for a charge. Not 5 years after they are shown. A lot of these people downloading do not have the choice to watch them legally.

Exactly!!! Make it available, people is willing to pay for a reasonable prize, or if its not delayed more than 1 month, for example, I love The big Bang Theory and it is shown in my current cable company with only 1 week delay from the US so I don't need to get the torrent, but when they didn't show the last season of "fringe" I had no choice but to get it online... i liked it so much i bought the entire series on blu-ray.

Same with Japanese Shows, I had contracted NHK through my cable company, but then they took it off so my only way is to watch japanese drama is via torrent... funny though is that even if i would be able to buy a drama (let's say "Ryomaden"), there is no way to buy it "legally" because all there is with English subtitles (not to mention Spanish subtitles) are bootlegs with poor English, and the "official" release have no subtitles (Take "tonbi" for example, ASMART has it in their online store, but the drama has no subtitles

Korea has been intelligent in that aspect, they released "Boys over Flowers" with good quality dvd with English subtitles, it was a good move, because after that, in Latin America they broadcast it dubbed in Spanish, being a huge success...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There has been a huge reduction in the amount of music that is downloaded for free but NO increase in music sales so all that monry they claimed to be loosing was BS. Likewise for TV.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There is also the strange phenomena of US series being a hit in the UK with British actors in lead roles: "Game of Thrones", "House", "Elementary" and "Homeland".

This is because as I mentioned almost all of the good shows have British actors in lead roles. In addition to the ones you mentioned we have Walking Dead (Rick), The Following (Joe), Hannibal (Will), and Bates Motel (Norman). I also enjoyed FlashForward (Mark) a few years back even though it got canceled after 1 season (I still blame it on the stupid schedule that waited 5 months to show the second half of the season). I'm sure there are a bunch of shows I don't watch with British actors as well.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Use unlocator (or similar) and get a Roku box. It makes no sense downloading torrents when most of this stuff is available on demand at very low cost or free. DramaFever, CrunchyRoll, NetFlix, HuLu etc

Many of these are Apps also.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The US fanboys are out in force and people like me are a bad parent for "depriving" my kids of tv? What a scum bag i am, i also deprive them of fast food, and hopefully diabetes, heart attacks,walking with sticks and obesity that is the norm in the US as they sit and watch trash while eating cookies and chips and ordering pizzas.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Taiwan is already up to season 2 of "Once Upon a Time". Japan has a lot to catch up to now. This is great. "Once Upon a Time" is spreading out~! <3

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ClippetyClop: If you liked The Wire you should check out "The Corner" made by the same producer and set in Baltimore as well as the series "Oz."

I completely agree with you on the downloading. I have had to catch up on many shows from the US by that method. On the other hand, I have found a site that has Japanese shows on them and they have English subtitles and I've been able to catch up on the latest J-Drama Hanazawa Naoki. If the producers of these shows want to get them into different markets, they need to make them available to the masses. Waiting for 3 years to get it out will not let them gather as much of an audience as they could.

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I wish I was making millions off of something that most people pay for but some chose to steal. I envy the industry its problems. Must be nice.

And its hard to believe they have so much power over the government that merely watching something can be illegal, again, despite the millions they still rake in anyway.

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I also enjoyed FlashForward (Mark) a few years back even though it got canceled after 1 season (I still blame it on the stupid schedule that waited 5 months to show the second half of the season).

@Therougou I remember my frustration back then as that was one great show that got cancelled. I don't even know for what reason the network canned it. Also remember V from a few years back? That remake of the classic 80's series got the boot, too, after just one season.

Aside from the shows everyone has mentioned above, Person of Interest is another one I've been meaning to check out. I haven't seen any of Breaking Bad but heard it's quite popular. Not sure with what other drama it's similar or comparable to, though.

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@genjuro I watched all of "Person of Interest" a few months ago before the NSA scandal. The storyline at that time felt just on the edge of believable. Not anymore.

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@Jeff That's interesting. It's a little unsettling though when the drama mirrors reality more than you thought lol. Jim Caviezel and that Benjamin guy from LOST seem well cast so I expect some fine acting along with a well-written script. Been wanting to watch it for awhile but never got around to it. Thanks for the tip!

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@jeff @onguro Just when I started to watch the series it was removed from LatinAmerican TV, now I know it's up to season 3 on cbs... is a good show but since my time is limited i have to decide between this show or "once Upon a time" which have also 3 seasons... but I want to watch POI i will need to go online whereas "Once" is currently airing in my country on TV or maybe I would watch "Agents of SHIELD" which will begin to air today in my country...

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As I understand it, and I could be wrong, downloading is illegal, but streaming isn't, in Japan,

streaming copyrighted material is now also illegal in Japan (if it's on youtube, it is OK)

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The only thing that is keeping me from watching some TV programs and movies is the language barrier. You can watch just about any American release if you are multilingual. Some of the latest U.S. programs can be found on YouTube in Spanish, French, German, etc...and will not be deleted because they are in another language. And sometimes they will not be deleted if they are in English but have foreign subtitles attached. I am currently learning Japanese because of my love for anime. I will have an awesome selection of video games, movies, and TV series when I learn Japanese.

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Fun TV fact: “Desperate Housewives” is a cult hit in North Korea.

say what?! that's crazy.

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The amount of money TV producers are losing out on due to illicit viewing is difficult to calculate. “It’s hard to monetize these things in the film world—but even harder in TV,” Gray said.

Monetizing and losing are two different questions.

Clearly, the TV industry is not monetizing by not making their shows available through legal means. If a show is not available in the country and someone downloads it "illegally", the TV company has not lost anything.

Smithinjapan: So, you try to buy it on iTunes US or at Amazon... sorry, not available/allowed at your location.

True with regard to Amazon. Not true with iTunes US IF you have a U.S. credit card. The same goes for iTunes UK if you have a UK credit card.

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Our large hd TV connects to hulu (directly and via our Nintendo Wii, which has wifi). The problem is that hulu.jp does not have anything like the latest series, or anything like the latest movies, which can be viewed an purchased on amazon.com or netflix. Recent releases include "Snatch" (2000). So unless I use an unblocker like Peter Payne, then I am stuck with content that I could have hired at a rental shop years ago. This is probably why people download illegally. When netflix/amazon/google play/hulu start offering content worldwide at less than rental prices then many people will pay them.

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The 'duh' reaction to that title was so overpowering, I am still hearing it echo in my ears.

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I find it rather odd that with anime being so popular outside of Japan that a fansub group can translate and subtitle a show right after its broadcast and have it ready in a day. And then it takes years for an official English translation to finally get licensed. Another problem with anime in Japan is that the cost to purchase a DVD let alone a Blu-Ray (containing as little as 2 episodes) is ridiculously expensive as the "fans" are expected to support the animation studios almost all by themselves, where as in the US after a TV season has been released the most one can expect to pay is around $40 usd for one full season.

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