Click Here! to download the CBC (part II)

The CBC is conducting a podcasting survey to find out what surfistas want, when they want it, how they want it, and if they would possibly pay for it.

It’s a good way to start. I urge you to take the survey, because once Phase 5 gets called in, it means things are happening.

Another fruitful avenue to explore would be to see what kinds of CBC content people are downloading without the CBC’s consent.

Internet file sharing has been around for years now, and dedicated fans have been “ripping” CBC programming and offering it up for download since the beginning.

So what are they watching?

BitTorrent super-site The Pirate Bay has a great selection of old and new CBC content, including a full set of seasons 1 and 2 of The Newsroom, a large collection of Road to Avonlea, and some guy named “redhands” has been faithfully posting The Hour every day until his computer broke:

In fact, his high-quality The Hour rips are so popular they have made it to all of the torrent sites I checked, even though they are weeks old:

Also popular are the latest hockey games, and savvy hockey fans go to the vibrant Center Ice Forums, where they can get an amazing variety of games, or find them at, of all places:

Canada’s own #digitaldistractions is the go-to place for the Rick Mercer Report:

while torrentspy has a wealth of documentaries:

Intrigued, I downloaded the free P2P program eMule to get further up the food chain. I found the motherlode:

And lest you think that only nerds are doing this, a company called Cachelogic monitored internet traffic and found that the majority of internet traffic is taken up with this P2P stuff, most of it video:

The top 3 bands in this chart are P2P, and the bottom 2 are the rest of the internet. Like web sites and email.

This stuff is not just for kids and “hackers” trolling the underground. The searches on this page took me about 20 minutes to do and I found the sites through Google. I wasn’t even trying very hard, and I didn’t even begin to look for audio.

So surveys are nice and a good idea, but in many ways the people have already spoken, and they are way ahead of us. They want to download CBC content and view it at their convenience. They want our music, our news, our documentaries, our history, our Strombo, the sports – everything.

Well everything, it seems, except for the Antiques Roadshow.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted February 8, 2006 at 11:16 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    As a person who watches ALL his tv useing bittorrnet, i can honestly say that i perfer the HDTV rips. Far better quality. Hands down. I think its the technology of the future, and, especially for fast games like hockey, makes a huge difference in the viewability.
    Clearly, a happy medium needs to be found between HDTV and distrobution via BT.

  2. Scott
    Posted January 24, 2006 at 7:39 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    After a vain search for fresh torrents of The Hour led me to your site, I was prompted to send their producer some feedback suggesting they get into publishing official bittorrents of the The Hour. As a kind of young, hip show (and a daily), The Hour is a great place to start torrent streaming for the CBC. It’s not like they’re going to lose future DVD sales, and you’ve shown there is already a demand.

    I suggest others do the same as I did, and lobby the producers of The Hour to start making torrents of the show available after broadcast.

  3. Johnathan
    Posted January 1, 2006 at 12:16 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I totally agree. The CBC may not be able to get another TV channel in the US, but they can get their message out in the US market (and, indeed, worldwide) via podcasting, both video and audio.
    Look at the success of the CBC Radio 3 podcast! Even in the US it is fairly popular.
    I would subscribe to a CBC TV news video podcast if one were made available.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted December 22, 2005 at 7:56 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Anonymous 10:36am said:
    ” excellent post, keep up this blog….I wish you were my boss.”

    Maybe s/he is!

    I know s/he ain’t my boss…mine are stuck in the 70’s. (Not a bad place to be, actually, except for the mullets.)

  5. Justin Beach
    Posted December 20, 2005 at 12:45 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The reality is…well…reality. What’s happening is happening and is going to keep happening. Even in the US where record companies and other copyright owners regulary sue their fans, file sharing hasn’t slowed down – on the contrary, it increases every year. None of their copy protection schemes have worked (with the Sony fiasco being just the latest example). The CBC (and all broadcasters) can either find a way to work within the new system (because it is the system now and not just a fad) or they can watch from the sidelines while others decide how their offerings are presented and viewed and be left completely out of the communities that may spring up around that distribution.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted December 20, 2005 at 8:36 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    excellent post, keep up this blog….I wish you were my boss.

  7. hugh
    Posted December 19, 2005 at 6:22 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    well this is the question isn’t it? should CBC spend money on things like HDTV – high-end technology for the rich – or podcasting, p2p, which will distribute content to a wider audience? what is CBC’s mandate and are they meeting it in their Technology decisions? I say no, and I think to boot they are violating the Canada Broadcast Act by not actively supporting technology that will allow dissemination of CBC to a wider Canadian audience.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted December 17, 2005 at 4:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m excited about HDTV becuase I’m in TV and it makes my job interesting and challenging. But we have sunk so much money into it there is no turning back very easily. We spent $100 million on that truck! I think it a superior product but I wonder if Canadian people will even want it or ever be able to afford it. The companies that make TV’s sure want us to do more HDTV, and some rich folks with the units want it, but will Joe Maple Leaf everwant it or be able to afford it?
    Now I’ve seen podcasting, and the quality is bad, but you can’t beat the price: $0.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted December 16, 2005 at 5:40 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Here is an article that discusses this topic.

    At the end he speculates that maybe the future of television is podcasting and not HDTV as we are being led to believe.

    Perhaps CBC should drag its heels a little on HDTV, so as not to waste too much money on it if it doesn’t pan out. Podcasting is way cheaper and more effective.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted December 16, 2005 at 4:50 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hugh said:

    “I saw that NBC’s podcasting of shows has resulted in an INCREASE in TV viewership.”

    Probably in much the same way that song sharing on the original Napster peer-to-peer filesharing network increased the sales of CDs.

    When you let accountants a-run’tings, you get no creativity, no future thinking, just bean counting. The CBC is mired in bean counters. I can’t see them embracing anything like this where tangible results can’t be measured with a bag o’ garbanzos.

  11. hugh
    Posted December 16, 2005 at 9:03 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    this is what’s so frustrating. the right podcast strat will make CBC so much more relevant to Canadians, and in such better position to negotiate funding. Maybe not this year, but in 5 years I think the majority of people will consume their audio thru podcasting – in their cars, at the gym, jogging, at home.

    quirks and quarks in science class!

    I saw that NBC’s podcasting of shows has resulted in an INCREASE in TV viewership.

    oh the fury!

  12. Ouimet
    Posted December 16, 2005 at 7:35 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The other thing that was interesting to see on sites like the Pirate Bay was that fans were using the files and the sites to create little communities of other fans.

    Not only do they love the shows, they’re eager to reach out to others who do, too. Too bad the CBC misses out on connecting with these people and helping them to connect with each other, which eventually brings in more viewers.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted December 15, 2005 at 3:19 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Well, it doesn’t feel like you’re paying for it when you turn on your TV and watch it…it’s a small leap in many people’s minds to downloading it “for free” using a P2P network to watch at your convenience.

    However, the commercials are usually cut out of the shared versions, so it is not “paid for” like the broadcast version. But it didn’t cost them anything to distribute. Ahhh, it’s moot anyway, because it’s happening. They should find a way to make it work for them.

    I suggest CBC TV should broadcast it over the air and simultaneously share it via bittorrent. Leave the commercials in because people will probably be too lazy to strip them out. Only the dedicated hackers who capture the stuff off air take the time to edit it before sharing.

    However, as someone who has watched the occasional downloaded TV program (shhh!) I can say they are much better without commercials. ;-)

    On that issue, CBC relies too much on commercials, imho. It makes us beholden to the private sector instead of the Canadian people. The advertising should be dropped. Then the government funding could be used to broadcast the shows, share them through peer to peer networks, what ever works, without worrying what the advertisers will do. The object of the CBC is to reflect the Canadian people. I know of no better way than sharing the programs via peer-to-peer file sharing – people all over the world download those.

  14. hugh
    Posted December 13, 2005 at 7:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    and they sure as hell don’t want to pay for it!… in fact this goes to show the silliness of the “podcasting costs us money” argument – it’s already happening without any financing from anywhere!

    excellent post, again. there is hope!

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