Spielberg’s The River hits UK iTunes 24-hours after US TV debut, will it curb piracy of the show?

The River ABC PosterPiracy has been in the news a lot recently, thanks to extensive coverage of both the SOPA and PIPA bills, and the ongoing saga of Megaupload.com.

Neither unpopular bills or the closing down of services also used for legitimate means are the solution to the problem though, so what is? While a complete solution may not even exist, there are steps that can be taken to cut down on the effects of piracy, provided someone is willing to put in the work.

While many automatically think piracy means films, television shows are just as popular, especially those US series that take an age to make it out of the country. Take Dexter for example. Season six has finished its first run on Showtime, but isn’t expected to play until spring 2012 in the UK. With season five recently released there on DVD, not everyone will be willing to wait.

The River

Someone at ABC has been thinking though, as it has been announced that its new show The River will be making its UK debut just 24-hours after it plays in the USA. But instead of playing on network television, it will be available for download through iTunes.

The River, a creepy drama that sounds like the oft-banned 80s gorefest Cannibal Holocaust, hasn’t been picked up by a UK network, and given its high-profile team — Steven Spielberg and Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli are both involved — it would be a prime candidate for pirates.

Simultaneous release schedules are nothing new, but despite being championed by many as a way to decrease piracy, still aren’t widely employed. The last high profile TV show, also by ABC, that abandoned a staggered release was Lost, when its finale broadcast simultaneously around the world.

Pricing for The River is reasonable too, as iTunes will be charging £2.49/$2.99 for an HD episode and £12.99/$20.99 for an HD season pass. Considering a Blu-ray season of Dexter costs upwards of £30 on release, this is very competitive.

A Divided Industry

There are outspoken advocates and enemies of the simultaneous release. The chief operating officer of Paramount Studios considers the system a big problem, arguing that it only makes higher quality pirated versions available sooner, while film critic Mark Kermode says it offers people the film they want, in the format they want, when they want to watch it.

Apple has recently made a bold move to try and revolutionize the text book, so how about they use their considerable influence to push studios, networks and distributors to offer more of their products across more iTunes stores at the same time. After all, it would be of financial benefit to all concerned, and ultimately, isn’t that what the piracy argument boils down to?

The River premieres on ABC on February 7 and hits iTunes February 8.

Movies & TV

Apple’s first original feature film reunites Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola

The Lost in Translation team of Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray will reunite with their A Very Murray Christmas collaborator Rashida Jones for On the Rocks, Apple and studio A24's first official feature together.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.

Apple’s iPhone battery offer was reportedly way more popular than expected

As many as 11 million iPhone owners reportedly made use of Apple's cheaper battery replacement offer that launched in 2018 in response to the iPhone throttling debacle — some 10 times more than the company had apparently expected.

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.

Apple may be developing a new iPod Touch to woo younger users

Apple may be developing its first new iPod touch model since 2015 as it aims to capture younger users who are not yet ready for their own smartphone, and expand its overall listening base in the future.

The iPhone XS Battery Case's battery has a smaller capacity than previous cases

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.