Despite their best efforts, HBO and Showtime still managed to fail against piracy during Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. The pay cable giants launched a preemptive strike against several streaming sites in the lead up to the fight, but it seems that they couldn’t contain a few key avenues: Periscope and Meerkat.
That’s Twitter CEO Dick Costolo essentially praising piracy because countless folks were posting streams of the fight all across Periscope from the opening bell forward, with the same happening on Meerkat. It’s not the first time Periscope has come at odds with HBO programming, having played a part in the piracy of Game Of Thrones a few weeks back.
It’s a thorn in a few sides and last night’s fight is the perfect example of why an app like Periscope or Meerkat is troublesome (or extremely helpful depending on your view). As reported at Forbes, Periscope provided a perfect outlet for “free, second-hand streaming that kept the individually curious viewer up to date just enough to remain current.” Twitch also saw a surge users streaming the fight, but the service seemed more vigilant against those pirating the event as the streams popped up.
Another aspect that led to streaming services seeing a boom during the fight was the numerous cable outages and ordering problems that plagued the pay per view broadcast. Most of the major television providers, including Time Warner, DirecTV, and Charter, experienced issues with service. It was enough to delay the fight 45 minutes and some Time Warner customers even noted that the wait for customer service stretched into 12 hour territory, taking to Twitter to post their complaints:
These troubles were expected, especially with an anticipated 3.5 million buys flooding services all at once, but it would seem that they aided the cause of those looking to pirate the fight. If you couldn’t get through on your cable purchase, you might be more likely to head over to Twitter and then come upon an illegal stream.
As noted over on Forbes, this sort of event might be a look at things to come. How will streaming services work at conventions or special events where exclusivity seems to be a key aspect? We’ll just have to wait and see.