Blog Post

Study: Bootleg TV Peaks Online the Next Day

Online viewing of bootleg video from a popular TV show peaked 12 to 18 hours after the show was originally broadcast, found a study by Akamai and Vobile that was picked up by Multichannel News.

Even when unauthorized versions appeared shortly after a show aired, few people watched the video for the first 12 hours, said the study. But the swells of viewers came the next morning and intensified through the day.

The study was quite limited, following a single unidentified prime-time show for one month earlier this year. And another caveat I’d add is view counts are notoriously hard to measure, even more so if you want to tie them to a specific time.

Akamai’s self-serving conclusion was that networks should distribute their content online soon after a show airs, or risk losing some 20 percent of their potential audience.

Networks are actually getting better about putting stuff online more quickly; the tend to release shows online after midnight Hawaii time on the day they air. And it works; just tonight I found myself in my now-routine habit of checking Hulu on Sunday to see if there was anything notable from the weekend’s Saturday Night Live.