Why The Europeans Watch Online And What We Can Learn From It

The Techcrunch piece about 45% of Europeans watching TV online should be of little surprise – but not for the reasons you might think. Despite TechMeme buzz on this topic, I have a few thoughts that I haven’t read yet.

Mark Evan’s points out the bias in the study, but I’d suggest an even simpler suggestion – the more complicated it is to watch the shows you want, the more likely you are to find an easier way.

If we look at England, we find competiting satellite options for some of the most popular shows. You can get 24 on one, but not the other. The same is true for Battlestar Galactica and a few more. Is it any wonder that I know more Brits who have just given up and grab it all from Bit Torrent than those who put up with the nonsense?

When I lived in Germany, our family’s cable package included several French channels. Certain shows hit French television months if not years before the Germans got them (and vice versa). Didn’t matter, we had them both. Now, all over Europe, if you buy a satellite, you can get special “cards” for your boxes at a flea market that do wonderful things. I don’t think I need to spell this out.

Europeans have a proud history of getting around the rules to get the television they want. The Internet simply, now, provides the easiest way to do so.

Nobody should be surprised that they’re going to the Internet for their TV.

Television, though, should be asking why they try to make things so darn hard – and how things might change if they start serving their audiences.

At least the audience they have left, who haven’t given up.

I’m sure there are some left.

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