I can’t fathom from their website how exactly they measure this activity (I presume they crunch IP addresses of seeders and leechers), but it is certainly an area work monitoring. I expect that some very useful findings can be accrued.
So far the talk seems to be about music, but I see their being potentially more scope for TV producers and networks. Music, like radio, is try before you buy. You may hear a track by a band that you like on a compilation, and want to check out some more before you decide. As such, you cannot guarantee that a downloader is a fan of that artist and it brings into doubt the insights that can be leveraged from the location of the IP address, or the other simultaneous downloads.
As a sidenote, the Internet should be thanked for minimising the record label’s ability to con the public into buying the albums of one hit wonders. Though a bit too late for the people that have Babylon Zoo, Eagle Eye Cherry or OMC albums gathering dust in their attics.
However, if someone is downloading episode 6 of a show it is safe to assume that they are investing in the show as fans. While the geographic and cross-taste analysis is interesting, the key is to dig into the reasons why people are watching the programmes this way. Is it because of the length of time it takes to broadcast in their territory? Are legal video players sub-standard? Do people prefer to episode stack, and cannot wait for the DVD?
BigChampagne offers a potential aid to explore these issues. And these learnings can then go on to help companies improve their content offerings to the benefit of all involved – producers, distributors and consumers.