After Fox decided to keep its programs offline for eight days, downloads of both Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef surged on BitTorrent
Last week, Fox made good on an earlier threat to lock its programming behind an Internet paywall. Those who do not subscribe to Hulu or the Dish Network are now unable to view Fox's television shows online for the first eight days after they air. When the paywall went into effect, ABC announced that it, too, would be pulling its content from streaming sites.
There are plenty of alternatives to Fox and ABC on the Web, I wrote last week -- some of them significantly better. Viewers who want to go without cable bills (or viewers without television sets, or viewers who just prefer to watch TV on their laptops, or viewers who...) will find a way around the paywall that works for them. Well, it turns out that many have just decided to jump the wall -- they love So You Think You Can Dance *that* much. Like the hordes of people who rush the fences at outdoor festivals, viewers who prefer their television on the Web are now getting it illegally.
When Fox erected its paywall, downloads of both Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef surged on BitTorrent, according to TorrentFreak, a blog that monitors file sharing online. "During the first 5 days [of the paywall], the number of downloads from the U.S. for the latest episode of Hell's Kitchen increased by 114% compared to the previous 3 episodes. For MasterChef the upturn was even higher with 189% more downloads from the U.S."