$100 is a pretty steep price to pay for a special event, but that’s exactly what HBO and Showtime charged for the somewhat underwhelming Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao boxing match, which took place this past Saturday night.
Some people had no problem shelling out the cash for the event, but others found a more affordable solution – tuning in to live streams broadcasted by the users of Twitter’s Periscope app.
AdAge reports that a number of streams popped up over the course of the event, providing thousands of users with an alternative – not to mention free – way of watching the boxing event. Both HBO and Showtime weren’t too pleased with this, as this would cut into the potential $300 million in revenue to be made from pay-per-view costs.
66 of the streams were reported with fight-related copyright claims, according to an unnamed Twitter spokeswoman, and Periscope managed to take down 30 of them over the course of the event, while the remaining streams went off the air before action could be taken.
While quality was no doubt questionable with these streams (compared to a full-price HD stream), it no doubt gained a lot of popularity from those who didn’t feel like shelling out the cash for the fight. Many of the streams gained a huge audience, with one in particular having over 10,000 concurrent viewers, according to AdAge. Some believe that a lot of these people “liking” the channel led to its receiving of a notification for removal, although the Twitter spokeswoman would not confirm.
Despite the illegal activity, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo couldn’t help but comment on the matter, tweeting, “And the winner is…@periscopeco.”
There’s no word yet if HBO or Showtime will consider legal action against the streaming app, similar to when Viacom pursued YouTube and the UFC went after Justin.tv following illegal live streams of events. Both of those suits ended up being unsuccessful, but that may not stop the companies from considering options for future broadcasts.
Periscope had been a pain in HBO’s side before, as broadcasts of the season premiere of Game of Thrones ran rampant following the app’s launch. That goes against Periscope’s stance, indicating that copyright-protected material can’t be streamed through the app. But, as you can see from the numbers, that certainly isn’t stopping them from trying.