Could Piracy become a form of Audience Measurement?

Just as television and radio are slowly becoming replaced by the their digital counterparts, could their methods of audience measurement also be becoming outdated? Many popular shows such as Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, although very popular by TV viewings, are pirated outrageously throughout the world. Despite what audience measurement might tell you, it may be a little more than 7.09 million people that tuned in for the Game of Thrones Season 4 finale. 

This is a serious issue for audience measurement researchers, as this undocumented and undetermined amount of people severely skew current data. However, the popularity of piracy for shows such as Game of Thrones isn’t new. Game of Thrones has repeatedly broken piracy ratings, such as this year’s season four finale which had over 1.5 million downloads in the first 12 hours of its release, and a total of approximately 7.5 million downloads a few days later. With such a large popularity in the illegitimate world of piracy, could piracy be a legitimate form of audience measurement?


PHOTO: The coverage area of OzTam’s audience measurement research. (OzTAM)

Currently in Australia, OzTAM is the official source of audience measurement via Television in Australia. However, when you consider the actual area OzTAM surveys, it is completely disproportionate by solely focusing on metropolitan areas. Interestingly, OzTAM is able to measure audience ratings even with TimeShift technology, such as audiences using a DVR. However, what is not possible is for OzTAM to determine ‘percentage of commercials during playback’

Pirating content, particularly the latest episode of Game of Thrones, has become less of a crime and more of a social activity. With such a substantial amount of people torrenting, measuring file sharers activity is the next step in audience measurement. 

In the meantime, view this to rationalize your pirating ways.



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