CBS blackout leads to increased piracy, ratings drop for top shows

By on August 8, 2013, 5:45 PM
piracy, time warner, cbs, ratings

An unresolved dispute between Time Warner and CBS has left millions of cable subscribers without access to CBS programming. As of last Friday, more than three million Time Warner subscribers (as well as Bright House and Dish users) have been without CBS programming which includes the popular Showtime network.

It’s pretty much a given that when you take away legal access to programming, consumers will turn to alternate methods to fill the void. That’s exactly what happened over the course of this week as the blackout has triggered a surge in television show piracy.

To highlight the behavior, TorrentFreak monitored U.S. BitTorrent downloads for the popular CBS show Under the Dome. When comparing data from the week before the blackout with this past Monday’s episode during the blackout, they found piracy increased 34 percent on average. In New York City, the relative piracy rate more than doubled.

Unsurprisingly, the show also recorded a season low ranking this past Monday during the blackout. The program pulled in 10.49 million viewers this week compared to 11.41 million last week.

Ratings aside, the dispute between CBS and Time Warner doesn’t appear any closer to a resolution. Time Warner recently offered to include CBS programming as an a la carte option for subscribers but CBS dismissed the idea as a sham.

Either way, I wouldn't expect this to drag on too much longer as football season is just around the corner and CBS is a key broadcasting partner of the NFL and the SEC.




User Comments: 28

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soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

If more people would learn how to get a vpn and torrent their shows life would be much simpler for them. Commercial free and in HD and you no longer need the box, just internet.

4 people like this | Tanstar said:

If more people would learn how to get a vpn and torrent their shows life would be much simpler for them. Commercial free and in HD and you no longer need the box, just internet.

If enough people learned to do that . . . networks would have no income and would quit producing shows.

JC713 JC713 said:

Lol, bad move CBS.

mailpup mailpup said:

I have Time Warner Cable and, although I'll miss some of their programming, I'll learn to live without it for awhile or as long as necessary. As for pro football I like to watch it occasionally but I can live without it. I live in Los Angeles and we don't have a pro football team and I don't miss it at all.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If enough people learned to do that . . . networks would have no income and would quit producing shows.
I personally don't care with the majority of shit they broadcast now. If their internal bickering can not stay internal, I say let them die. Maybe just maybe, something worth having will rise from the ashes.

Guest said:

Soon all networks will stop dealing with cable providers and just go the way of netflix and stream their own shows exclusively.

Most cable companies just rip off the consumer anyway so it will be a welcome change.

MrAnderson said:

I wonder if CBS is blocking their shows on Hulu Plus subscribers on TWC. That would just be anti consumer. Anyone know?

Something is going to give, this model is falling apart in the public eye although a majority still might be buying into it. I wonder if the ala carte we want so bad will be what we hoped for or will the providers price it higher than we expected to discourage it. Too much old hat involved. Just broadcast over IP, offer it on demand after first air, and charge no more than 2 bucks per channel with ads and charge a little more to allow ad skipping and be done with it. Track what is being watched, let us rate shows. Heck let us rate commercials and leave feedback. Use it to deliver targeted ads, let us opt in and out of this behavior. I would love for ads targeted to women to not be directed at me. I would also like the ads to be appropriate to when I'm watching with a group. What is taking so long? If they don't do something, the Netflixes, Amazons, and YouTubes will build up their own content and take a bigger pieces of the pie whistle you sit on your old hats.

Lionvibez said:

If more people would learn how to get a vpn and torrent their shows life would be much simpler for them. Commercial free and in HD and you no longer need the box, just internet.

If enough people learned to do that . . . networks would have no income and would quit producing shows.

This man has a point you don't kill the cow just to get an ounce of milk.

misor misor said:

If more people would learn how to get a vpn and torrent their shows life would be much simpler for them. Commercial free and in HD and you no longer need the box, just internet.

If enough people learned to do that . . . networks would have no income and would quit producing shows.

This man has a point you don't kill the cow just to get an ounce of milk.

but if the cow has more than enough milk and the dairy farm refuses to make the milk available to everyone for a fair price, then the consumer will find another dairy farm who will provide the milk for a lower cost (or free).

1 person liked this | MrAnderson said:

This man has a point you don't kill the cow just to get an ounce of milk.

Actually I think networks would have real hard evidence that would inform government support for stronger copyright legislation with less resources needed for lobbying... sure they would lose advertisement revenue, but make it up in not having to persuade the government regarding the imminent fall of the entertainment industry due to piracy ::dramatic music::

"Piracy" I always thought that was over dramatic. Pirates loot and pillage helpless ships at sea. They kill seamen, mortally wounding them or by making them walk the plank in shark infested waters... downloading things you did not pay for is "copy lifting" Provide more options to access content, make it easier to get to, and the minority of copy lifters will shrink further. There will always be people that will not want to pay for some things... that is what sales are for.

avoidz avoidz said:

No kidding. What did they think would happen in this day and age?

1 person liked this | davislane1 davislane1 said:

"Piracy" I always thought that was over dramatic. Pirates loot and pillage helpless ships at sea. They kill seamen, mortally wounding them or by making them walk the plank in shark infested waters... downloading things you did not pay for is "copy lifting" Provide more options to access content, make it easier to get to, and the minority of copy lifters will shrink further. There will always be people that will not want to pay for some things... that is what sales are for.

*movie narrator voice* In an alternate reality where Internet piracy was appropriately named, one torrent site rose above all others to provide copyrighted material to the Internet. Welcome, to the Copy Place.

....Yeah, I think I'll stay in drama land, where they call it The Pirate Bay. :p

MrAnderson said:

*movie narrator voice* In an alternate reality where Internet piracy was appropriately named, one torrent site rose above all others to provide copyrighted material to the Internet. Welcome, to the Copy Place.

....Yeah, I think I'll stay in drama land, where they call it The Pirate Bay. :p

Well I'm talking about the entertainment industry calling it Piracy... as if!... Pirate Bay just got a cool name out of it.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

I didn't know they block the CATV waves what about AIR waves for Aero TV is what I use.. Under Dome I'll have to see if that recorded or not..

Lionvibez said:

but if the cow has more than enough milk and the dairy farm refuses to make the milk available to everyone for a fair price, then the consumer will find another dairy farm who will provide the milk for a lower cost (or free).

Good point but the Content providers aka the one making the milk will just stop making milk and it won't matter if you go to another farm cause that farm has to get it from the Content providers.

Which I think it pretty much his point.

treetops treetops said:

Or maybe they just switched to their antennae for cbs?

1 person liked this | SirGCal SirGCal said:

This is why I have the HD antenna... They all can Bite me... And it's FREE... (well accept for buying the antenna obviously...)

I'm sick of paying for TV, that's what your commercials are for is to pay you... If I'm paying for it, I don't want commercials... And I don't pirate.

JC713 JC713 said:

I have Time Warner Cable and, although I'll miss some of their programming, I'll learn to live without it for awhile or as long as necessary. As for pro football I like to watch it occasionally but I can live without it. I live in Los Angeles and we don't have a pro football team and I don't miss it at all.

I have had horrible experiences with road runner internet, that is why I stay away from TWC.

mailpup mailpup said:

I just have their TV cable service. No internet or phone from them.

Guest said:

I still wait for the day when they will catch up with the times, I have cable which I pay for but I still torrent all my shows as its more convenient, is it so hard to make a torrent client with a decen UI built for legal paid for users instant release (no geographic penalization) with ads or no ads just give the option to remove them with a reasonable fee as im sure many people would rather pay extra to get rid of them, maybe when they offer a better service or at least try they will see piracy reduced a hell of a lot. netflix,hulu etc not bad but content lacking why do we need so many different ones try and work together maybe different UI's but same content preferably worldwide content from every platform and available instantly from air or should I say from as soon from when have finished producing episode/film.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

I missed the Dodger games the most. If only the MLB and the NBA had cheaper plans I would buy the Lakers and Dodgers plan.

tonylukac said:

My brother has dish and he claims he has cbs.

1 person liked this | Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

So you think the people who learned how to pirate the shows they want will just go back to watching their cable tv? Or do you think now that they've learned how easy it can be to pirate shows, they will just continue to do so, and for more shows that they like as well.

As one guys puts it.. or something like this. The commercials pay for the shows to air, but we are paying comcast a ton of money just for cable access? I dont get it. Commercials are what really irritates me, and the number 1 reason why I may or may not pirate tv shows. I had adblock on Chrome, too.

This brings me to another random question, do these advertisements really work? I mean.. how many people succumb to these simple and short advertisements for products? I usually just daze through them, or talk to my gf, or use the bathroom, or get online or something else but sit there and watch them... It's always they same thing over and over again too...

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This brings me to another random question, do these advertisements really work?
In my opinion not really, they are blowing money in hope that advertising works. In the long run they are simply raising the price of a product that could probably be sold at half the cost. People have a tendency to buy whatever is on the shelf at the time and continue using that which works for them. If a better product comes out, people will voluntarily advertise the word without the need in paid advertising.

TheBigFatClown said:

Is this blackout already over...or does it only effect people in certain states? We still got CBS and football games on my TimeWarner cable service.

mailpup mailpup said:

It only affects those CBS stations that are owned by CBS. It doesn't affect independent CBS affiliates.

lorosener lorosener said:

You can't watch any cbs shows on hulu either. Hulu directs you to cbs which tells you can't any of their programs.

Guest said:

CBS who?

David Who Letterman?

Under the Who Dome?

Could care less about CBS and their content. I used to watch Letterman, switched to Kimmel... MUCH better! Thank you CBS for forcing me to look at OPTIONS.

Could care less about TWC too! Direct TV install scheduled next Tuesday!

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