People’s use and access to different types of media has indeed, dramatically transformed. Nowadays, people can access a television, camera, and more through their phones and such; whereas previously, these applications could only be accessed on individual, chunky devices.
With such easy access to almost anything, audience behaviour is changing – people are finding other ways to stream what they want. A current issue surrounding audiences and the media, is the legality of content streaming on people’s devices. With some of the most popular TV shows being international, they’re not available on free to air television; meaning people are now searching for, and finding ways to access such content, in not necessarily the right way.
Taking the highly acclaimed drama series ‘Game of Thrones’ (‘GoT’) for example. The season 6 premier released in April last year was available for Australian audiences on Foxtel, through the HBO Channel. Obviously, not all Australians are subscribed to the Foxtel service, as consumers are aware that such shows can be [illegally] streamed online. According to TorrentFreak, within the first 12 hours of the season premier release, it is estimated that over a million people had downloaded the episode; with 12.5% of these illegal downloads coming from Australia – this tops both the United States and the United Kingdom.
Another example is ‘Breaking Bad’; in September 2013 the finale was released, and Australia topped the charts again, accounting for an astonishing 18% of illegal downloads – with the United States at 14.5% and the United Kingdom at9.3%. These statistics are made all the more phenomenal considering Australia’s population (22,507,616) is much less than that of the United States (318,892,096) and the United Kingdom (63,742,976).
These outstanding statistics demonstrate the changing behaviour of contemporary audiences, as it shows the growing demand for ease of access. Audiences are increasingly aware of other avenues to find what they want, knowing they can dodge fees and subscriptions by doing so; even though it is wrong.
This then raises the question for companies of; how can a service be generated for audiences, that will reduce illegal streaming, but still bring in a profit? It’s a difficult case as there is such a wide range of online services for people nowadays, however television companies need to respond to such a movement as to reign in a profit to be able to keep producing.
However, contradictory to this question, ‘GoT’ director David Petrarca said, in a discussion panel at the University of Western Australia 2013, that; shows such as ‘GoT’ thrive on the “cultural buzz” they receive via online downloads, as they generate “social commentary”. Therefore, his point demonstrates a contemporary notion where producers are aware of changing audience behaviours, and accept the fact that people follow the easiest path.