Manny Pacquiao definitely didn’t win the ‘fight of the century’. In many ways, neither did Floyd Mayweather. At the end of the night, most were left with a bad taste in their mouth. A underwhelming undercard underscored a dull main event that saw ‘Money’ Mayweather do what he does best, making Manny Pacquiao look downright pedestrian. All that for the low, low price of $99 via Pay Per View. Unless you were willing to watch a second-hand stream via Periscope — those people paid nothing, and they might have been the real winners.
That point was made shortly after the results were announced and Manny Pacquiao was making excuses about his shoulder. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (Twitter owns Periscope, remember) tweeted the following:
And the winner is… @periscopeco
— dick costolo (@dickc) May 3, 2015
Leading into the fight, HBO and Showtime vowed to thwart piracy as best they could. Two sites promising free, live feeds of the event were shuttered by court order at the behest of the two premium networks. That doesn’t stop you or me, though. I paid for the fight (like a chump, evidently), and did so far in advance. The main event itself was stalled due to a massive amount of sign-ups bottlenecking the feed. Announcers stalled to let technology catch up.
A boxing match broke PPV temporarily. Think about that for a second. #MayPac
— Nate Swanner (@NexusNate) May 3, 2015
Periscope, Meerkat — whatever. The platform doesn’t matter, but it’s worth considering how users and the networks being pirated will react to this new form factor. The ‘fight of the century’ saw a reported 3 million sign up via Pay Per View, so networks didn’t necessarily suffer any bottom line bleeding.
Still, Periscope streaming is piracy. Piracy that’s cool as all hell, but piracy nonetheless. Considering Dick Costolo’s remarks, Twitter is taking the Uber stance of not policing what happens with their service. We’re using it; that’s all they care about.
HBO, Showtime, and others with big money on the line are also going to care — at some point — how we use those services, too. It’ll just be for a very different reason.