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Wil Wheaton: pirate my TV show if you have to, but help my ratings if you can

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Wil Wheaton isn’t holding a grudge against anyone who is downloading his new show, aptly titled the Wil Wheaton Project, via BitTorrent. However, he’d prefer that people who have access to cable or any legitimate online offering watch it that way to help the shows ratings.

Wheaton has in the past gone on the record saying that piracy isn’t “the end of the world,” and so it didn’t come as a complete surprise when he didn’t seem to be too bothered about people downloading his new show either. Here’s how he put it in a Google+ post:

“I really want everyone in the world to see my show, because I’m super proud of it and I think a lot of you will enjoy it. If you have to use alternative means to see it, I’m not going to try to stop you.”

However, Wheaton obviously also wants his show to remain on the air, for which ratings matter:

“If you can watch it in some way that the network can score (on broadcast or via one of the legally-supported websites), please do that, because the more people who watch it in a way the network can count, the more likely it is they will order a full season of the show.”

The only problem with this seems to be that SyFy has decided to limit the online release of the show. Hulu offers free access to the first episode of the show, but subscribers of Hulu Plus won’t be able to watch the episode on their TV, and instead have to stream it on their computer. iTunes, (S AAPL) Google (S GOOG) Play and Amazon (S AMZN) don’t have the show available at all, which means that many Wheaton fans may just resort to those “alternative means.”

23 Responses to “Wil Wheaton: pirate my TV show if you have to, but help my ratings if you can”

  1. Damian Nightwalker

    if he networks were smart they would put something that allows the watchers of any given show to say how much they like what ever shows perhaps they can set it up on imdb, or even their sites, because i have seen every episodes etc. but not the same day or time, this is the same for many of the shows i like .
    D, ,

  2. Keith Hawn

    The chaos, near-vitriol and self-righteousness that reigns in the first 19 comments clearly show why this issue won’t be resolved in anyone’s lifetime,,..

    • I agree with J about ratings (well sham instead of scam). The only way to really know who is watching is via something like Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, etc.

  3. As a person who doesn’t pay for cable, I’m happy to pay a reasonable amount for episodes a la cart to support a creator who I really like. I appreciate Wil being direct and decent about his project and the realities of producing content in the current media landscape. Everybody has to earn a living, and his request is perfectly reasonable -and it’s just a request, anyway.

  4. I thought the point of Hulu Plus was so you COULD stream it to your television instead of watching it on a tablet or PC. Sigh…why do companies make it so hard to support them, and so easy to do the wrong thing?

    • Soups

      Hulu Plus has gone to shit. Even though I’m paying $8 a month I still have to watch commercials- not to mention that I still get cut from a lot of shows that aren’t on my cable. On top of that the shows included in Plus that are excluded from free are dwindling down.

      Basically I pay $8 a month for the convenience of not having to use an HDMI cable. Hulu doesn’t have the support from consumers it needs to push channels to make shows available there and cable companies like comcast are keeping a firm chokehold on the industry – both cable and ISP.

  5. jberwin

    Syfy has not “decided to limit the online release of the show” actually. Each episode will be available on and the Syfy Now app the day after it airs, as long as you authenticate as a cable subscriber. They will also be offered on Hulu too, if you authenticate.

    • Chris

      Yeah. And how does that work for the billions of people not living in the US?

      How, in you mind, does not “as long as you authenticate as a cable subscriber” constitute a limitation?

  6. jberwin

    Hi Janko – Syfy has not “decided to limit the online release of the show” actually. Each episode will be available on and the Syfy Now app the day after it airs, as long as you authenticate as a cable subscriber. They will also be offered on Hulu too, if you authenticate.

    • Which means SyFi decided to limit the online availability of the show to people who have access to SyFi through their TV provider, and whose provider is participating in their TV Everywhere efforts. In contrast, AMC shows are available for sale on iTunes and elsewhere the day after they air without the need to authenticate.

      • guest

        what’s the point of that? if I had a cable subscription I’d just watch it on SciFi (you can’t make me type that shit)) not on a mobile app or computer.

        Happy to pay for the content, put it in iTunes, up on netflix, or on Amazon so I can.

  7. In other words, Wil Weaton is more than happy to cash big checks from the cable companies but he wants to have as many fans as possible. Sorry dude. You can use phrases like “alternative”, but someone is going to have to cough up the cash so you can pay yourself and your crew. And if the people aren’t paying for cable, that means there won’t be money flowing to you or your crew.

    Get with the program. If you take the money, you’re part of the system. YOu can’t have it both ways.

    If you want to encourage “alternative means”, then do it in a legit way and pay for production yourself.

    • What are you talking about? He was just being a cool guy and saying that he doesn’t mind if you pirate the show but he prefers you to watch in a way where it can get ratings instead, I say thats pretty cool, I do go out of my way to give ratings to shows that i think deserve it. Like Cosmos, I like the show a lot and think it deserves the ratings so i watch it on instead of pirating it. Now what are you rambling about?

    • Matt Denton

      Actually you can have it both ways. Game of Thrones is a perfect example. Don’t let that stop you from clomping around on your high horse though. His legs sure are long.

    • guesting

      Wheaton is showing both savvy about the future of broadcast media, and an appreciation of his audience by not trying to demonize them for having to see his program via alternative methods. You however, Boob, are just showing that you’re a twit.

    • He uh… he… he does have it both ways…. He financed his personal Youtube production with more than a million dollars from donations, and he is doing contracted work for networks….

    • STEVE

      He doesn’t want people to watch on Cable because he wants the money, he wants them to watch on cable because he needs high ratings in order for his show to still be on tv

    • Adrionna Ichi

      I’m sorry to say but a lot of the people or 99pct of them are part of the system. Cash makes things flow. Advertiser pay the network, network pay the actors and crews to make the show and WE the people decide what show is good to watch or not. That’s rating. And we buy stuff i.e. food, clothes or misc to support companies who buys advertising. So unless you live in a cave and hand make your weapons to kill for food and make clothes to keep you warm, Than we depend on cash to live.