Kerre McIvor: Impossible to pull plug on streaming

21 comments
It is unlikely Joseph Parker was left out of pocket because of illegal downloads. Photo / Getty Images
It is unlikely Joseph Parker was left out of pocket because of illegal downloads. Photo / Getty Images

Boxing promoter Duco has declared war on the people who illegally streamed the much-anticipated fight between local hero Joseph Parker and Carlos Takam.

More than 100,000 people are thought to have viewed the fight via Facebook and other internet back doors.

Duco director Dean Lonergan was furious.

He vowed to hunt down those who had illegally downloaded the fight and punish them by whatever means he could, promising to take them to court and pursue thousands of dollars in damages.

He called those who had watched the fight via the internet "lowlifes" and said anyone who refused to pay for the fight legitimately was, in effect, taking food out of the mouths of Parker and his family.

He said illegal downloads take money out of Duco's revenue stream and the more money the company has, the more money it has to pay the young Kiwi boxer.

Well, no. Not really.

Parker's prize money was set months ago, so unless he had a profit share included in his contract, it's unlikely he lost out because of illegal downloading.

And many of those who did watch via the internet wouldn't have been able to pay to view the fight anyway, so Lonergan can't look at 100,000 downloads and translate that into 100,000 lost subscribers.

For the record, it cost $50 to watch the fight on a pay-per-view basis on Sky's Arena Channel. I know, because the husband and I were having dinner at a friend's and, with one click, he was able to buy rights to watch.

Four of us enjoyed an evening of entertainment for slightly more than $10 each, which seemed perfectly reasonable.

Well, three of us. Clare hates boxing and couldn't understand why anyone would choose to watch people knock the crap out of each other, far less pay for it, but even if we divide it by three, that's still a pretty cheap night out.

However, if you didn't already have Sky, trying to watch the fight became a very expensive exercise - so many who couldn't afford to do so legally did so by other means.

And then there's the younger generation who look at people with televisions and decoders incredulously.

Even if they could afford it, they don't understand why on Earth anyone would go through such a cumbersome, clumsy process when two seconds on a keyboard can take you anywhere to watch anything in the world.

Most people under 30 will never own a television unless it is simply to use as a monitor. But older people argue streaming is stealing.

What is the difference between illegally downloading the fight and stealing a car or goods from a shop?

And to be fair to those of us born in the 50s and 60s, the young ones must understand that there is a level of immorality to what they're doing because many of them put their own boundaries on what they will and won't download.

A lot of young people choose not to illegally stream Kiwi music and movies but overseas works are fair game.

That indicates they understand illegal streaming costs the artists. Or in the Duco case, the event managers.

But when it comes to sharing intellectual property, what about the people who tell me they loved my book? And they shared it with all their friends and they loved it, too.

That's 20 people reading one book, meaning the booksellers and the author have missed out on 20 prospective sales.

And the people who read magazines while waiting at supermarket checkouts. It costs a lot of money to produce a magazine.

I guarantee there would be very few people who haven't, when they think about it, stolen somebody's intellectual property.

Being of the older generation, I can understand Lonergan's fury.

But Duco, and any others who produce any form of entertainment, will have to work with the new platforms and come up with a new way of doing business.

They have to adapt or die, otherwise they will go the way of the dinosaurs.

Kerre McIvor is on NewstalkZB, weekdays, noon-4pm

- Herald on Sunday

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