Okay, it’s been a few days since the first four episodes of Game of Thrones (Season 5) leaked, yet no one has talked about how the Philippines was #10 in the world. I’m not even embarrassed, I’m impressed!
This little country with generally frustratingly bad internet service has managed to be in the top 10 in downloading the leaked Game of Thrones episodes, even with a geographical bias against us. That’s got to be some kind of feat.
The data comes from IP-address snapshots taken by TorrentFreak.
What this tells me is:
- Filipinos love Game of Thrones. I did not expect so many Filipinos to be addicted to the show! With the popularity of stupid game shows here, I did not expect this many people (I’m extrapolating) to appreciate a show like Game of Thrones, but thank goodness!
- Filipinos are up to date. The leak was just released and within hours, we all knew about it already and were downloading it like crazy.
- Filipinos are tech-savvy. I’m amazed by how many (non-Pinoy) people I see online who have no idea how to torrent. They keep begging for sites where they can watch the shows via streaming, while Pinoys know all about torrenting like they were born into it, molded by it… But apparently, many of us don’t see the need for VPNs.
- Filipinos are resourceful. We all learned to torrent, didn’t we? In the past, people bought DVDs in Quiapo, but since that was all closed down, more and more Pinoys have turned to torrenting instead, and here we are.
I don’t think Pinoys pirate shows because they just want to pirate shows. The problem is that they don’t have a good, reasonable, alternative.
There is currently no affordable, legal way to get the shows we want on demand. With our lifestyles now, most people don’t want to wait in front of the TV for a show to come on, and then do that again next week, and the week after that. I don’t. People don’t want to schedule their lives around TV shows anymore.
Some of the US TV shows I watch are simulcast locally, but I rarely catch them because they are on at around 9am or 2pm.
I also prefer watching shows in their original language (with subtitles), and not Tagalized.
People want to be able to pause and replay the show. Sometimes viewing is disturbed by other people asking them to do chores. Maybe they missed something in the show and want to replay it, or maybe they just want to pause and get something to eat/drink, or go to the restroom.
The Philippines doesn’t have the internet infrastructure for such streaming services. Even my Youtube is already being throttled, and I’m on DSL! I don’t think a Netflix streaming thing will work properly here, not yet.
Also, with the current trend of implementing a Fair Use Policy (FUP), streaming is going to be a problem for many users. Let’s say you watch the show now because you have a bit of downtime now. Then later, someone else in your family wants to watch the same show. If you watch it via streaming, you’ll have streamed the show twice. It’s a waste of bandwidth/data. There should be an option to save the show for future viewing.
I would actually be happy to subscribe to something like Netflix, at a reasonable monthly price of around P500, if all the shows and movies I wanted to watch were available on the service, and the account can be used by the entire household’s computers, TVs, tablets and gadgets, and there’s an option to save a copy of the show so other members of the household can watch it at their convenience later.
What I don’t want is having to pay for Netflix so I can watch Show A, and also have to pay for HBO Now so I can watch Show B, and then pay for another service to watch Show C… That adds up and becomes too expensive.
If I like a show/movie, I support it by buying merchandise, attending events / concerts, and by watching it in the movie theater (for example, the Rurouni Kenshin movies), and by spreading the word about how awesome the show is. Sometimes, if I really, really like it, I even buy the CD/DVD.
It’s wrong to think that companies are losing $$$ in sales for every pirated copy. That assumes that the people who watch the pirated copy would actually buy the expensive official version in the first place if no pirated copy existed. I just don’t know any one like that. Most people I know would not even give a show a chance if they had to pay a huge amount for it. The response will always be ‘wag nalang. Most people actually buy the official copy/merchandise after they become fans of the show.
For GoT, I bought all the books for when I can get away for a week to read them I actually already read A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings (Book 1 & 2) years before the show. I stopped reading the series because I found it too graphic. But since watching the show, I plan to reread them, plus the next books.
Or, here’s a thought – make the legal way so affordable that it just won’t make sense to pirate. In my unscientific survey, I felt that music piracy has gone down quite a bit ever since Spotify became available. Even my sister has been using a Youtube playlist to listen to music instead (because Taylor Swift songs are off Spotify)
So, fellow Pinoys, have you finished watching the first four episodes of the new season of Game of Thrones? What did you think?
***PLEASE PUT SPOILER WARNINGS IN YOUR COMMENTS IF NEEDED***
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!