Think 30,000 Netflix subscribers is bad news? Wait until they figure out they can get sport too, for free!

Piracy has been a problem for content creators since forever but over time, business models have been forced to change. It is simply a case of evolve, or die. The music industry suffered immensely from the likes of Napster in the early 2000’s but finally learned to embrace the digital era with the creation of services like Spotify. For TV and movies we now have services like Quickflix, iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.

People seem happy to pay a reasonable fee for the content they want. And if they can’t, they choose to access it via alternative means, usually free. This results in the potential conditioning of consumers who, even when prices and services improve, remain content with their existing arrangements.

Consumers will always seek out a better deal if there is one. In the case of New Zealand, we are limited by TV networks who delay scheduling and charge what they like due to the lack of competition in the subscription TV space. Consumers, for years, have protested. Initially, many were downloading the content they want via bit torrent, file lockers or Usenet. Many still are. But there are a growing number of people who are using legitimate international services to access the content they want at a fraction of the cost of what they would pay locally.

So how does it work?

The process is fairly simple and involves concealing your identity on the internet. It is not illegal an in many cases, it is encouraged. This is done by using a VPN. There are plenty of paid VPN services available but the easiest way to get started it to install the Hola plugin for either Firefox or Chrome. It’s then a case of visiting the website you want to watch content on, tell the VPN which country you want to be identified as viewing from and you’re away.

Here are a couple of examples for you to try at home.

For the FIFA World Cup, residents in the UK have free access and can stream games via the ITV player and BBC iPlayer. In Australia it is available via the SBS. In a range of other countries, FIFA.com actually provides free live streaming.

A fan of the NRL and State of Origin? The NRL website tells you that you can watch games “either via a local broadcaster or free online on Live-Stream”. The service is delivered in HD and has an ad supported version or an ad free season pass is available for €80. http://new.livestream.com/NRL

The same applies to pretty much every sport kiwis would want to watch, and that includes the All Blacks tests.

Irrespective of what local networks will tell you, in reality, the only people who aren’t getting paid in this scenario are the middle men.

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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