In a world of corporate derpspeak over the rights to content and who is stealing it, let us stand up and applaud John Oliver and the HBO bigwigs at Last Week Tonight for creating a show that nobody should be pirating. Let me explain why.
Australians are pirates. We steal stuff because we can't get it as quickly or as cost-effectively as we'd like, so a fair percentage of us hit the "Download" button en masse because the content industry can't figure out how to get stuff to us while still maintaining their rivers of gold. At least, that's the excuse you'll hear from anyone who regularly pirates content.
Aussies use the availability-of-content excuse to justify content piracy more than most, probably because it's something that both sides of the copyright fight can agree on. From Google to the Attorney General's office: everyone says that Aussies struggle to get content at the same time as overseas counterparts.
Enter hot new HBO show, Last Week Tonight. It's a fun new program starring the aforementioned Oliver covering issues from the militarisation of police in Ferguson, Missouri, right through to the death penalty and the number of incarcerated citizens in the US. Now none of that sounds especially ripe for comedy, but when you watch it you find that Oliver's fresh take on news and satire means that discussing even the darkest subjects can be hilarious and incredibly thought-provoking. Hell, they even took a shot at Tony Abbott, which is fantastic:
The show airs on Sunday nights in America at 11pm. That means the US is watching Last Week Tonight at 1pm on a Monday in Australian Eastern Standard Time. Interestingly, by about 5pm AEST on the same day, the meat of that week's episode has been uploaded to Last Week Tonight's YouTube channel. No nonsense, just content.
You get that week's feature story — usually about 15 minutes long — and a smaller news item — usually around 3-5 minutes long. There are also a few web specials that internet users (who pay nothing for the content) are rewarded with!
Within four hours, everyone on the planet with an internet connection has access to 20 minutes of top-shelf satire. No BitTorrent client required. By watching it on YouTube, you're giving HBO all the hits it wants, and still accessing it legally.
It's interesting, really, to watch how HBO distributes Last Week Tonight when compared to other shows it distributes like Game Of Thrones. Anyone who wanted to keep abreast of events unfolding in Westeros was forced to subscribe to one of Foxtel's less than ideal streaming packages just to get access to the show. That was all thanks to an HBO exclusive deal with the Aussie pay-TV network, and it definitely caught a few people off-side.
So with a look at just how obnoxious it can be to get access to some of HBO's content, let's all give John Oliver and his team at HBO a big internet hug for distributing content correctly.
Check out a few of the amazing stories covered on Last Week Tonight below.
On the shocking state of the US' nuclear arsenal...
On native advertising...
On FIFA corruption ahead of the World Cup...
Watch more, legally and completely free, over at Last Week Tonight.