Last night, BBC2 started the third season of Heroes in the UK. This is less than two weeks since the show premiered in the US. This is great news for those living abroad who have less time to wait and avoid online spoilers until they can watch the show.
Previously, a show like this would take a few months to be shown in the UK. Typically, a show starting in the Fall season would premier here in January or February. I believe the motivation was to allow the show to run continuously without reruns. But this makes it difficult for fans in the UK when surfing the Internet and not wanting to find out too much before getting a chance to see the show. It’s a lot like taping a sports event and then trying to avoid the sports news until you get a chance to watch it.
I think piracy has helped bring this about. The big assumption that people are trying to steal content without paying is not always correct. If more shows are managed like this, you would see a lot less illegal downloads. If networks offered fee-based programming online, pirated tv shows would dwindle. Even iTunes shows wait until the UK premiers before something is offered. But at least they didn’t have to wait long for Heroes.
Still, it did take nearly two weeks to be shown here. I read a blog post from torrent freak a few days ago, ‘Heroes’ Causes BitTorrent Boom, which says that downloads of the show last week broke new records. Even two weeks is a long time on the net.
By releasing content earlier, the US TV networks can control their own content before it spreads via piracy.