Sunday on 60 Minutes, members of the film industry and the MPAA were interviewed for a story about movie piracy. As usual, they were complaining about how much money they are losing, saying they can’t do anything about it and how piracy prevents them from taking chances on making more good movies.
What a load of crap. The reason they make so many crappy movies is because they don’t know what consumers want and their model consists of producing five movies, with the hope that one will be a blockbuster. That’s always been the movie business and it has nothing to do with piracy on the web.
Yes, piracy is not a good thing for any content owner, but rather than the movie industry giving consumers what they want, convenience and choice, they choose to ignore the demands in the market. Rather than embrace digital distribution, the studios still want to act as if it’s a bad thing for the movie industry as a whole.
Why not embrace it and start working with someone like Netflix who has a legit model for delivering movies via streaming? The whole reason Netflix doesn’t have any first-run movies to date, is because Netflix can’t afford to licence the content because the costs from the studios aren’t affordable.
Consumers say they want movies digitally, so the studios give it to them via iTunes, but then charge $5 more to download the movie, as opposed to buying the physical DVD. Where’s the sense in that? There isn’t any, unless of course you are the movie studios and are greedy, making more money off something that costs you less to distribute. The studios refuse to adopt new distribution models because they let big retails like Walmart and others push them around. The studios are so scared that if they price digital content the same as DVDs, stores like Walmart will balk at selling DVDs, which is the movie studios bread and butter.
Some will argue that movies on iTunes are more expensive than the physical DVD because the digital file is generally 720p in quality and consumers should pay more for it. Ok, fine. Can someone then please show me where I can download a lower quality movie below 480p, for less than $10? If consumers should pay more for higher quality movies, why isn’t there any option to pay less for lower quality?
All studios ever do is complain. You never hear them sound like they are actually happy with digital technology, because in reality, they aren’t. We keep hearing about how poor they are doing and how the Internet is ruining their business, yet this summer they grossed $4.7 billion in ticket sales, the highest grossing summer ever at the box office. How did that happen if the Internet is suppose to be eating into their business?
Over the past 10 years, the highest grossing year on record for DVD sales and rentals was 2004 with $24.9 billion. Last year, the total gross was $22.4 billion. That’s not a huge gap to make up. If the studios actually embraced digital technology, new distribution models like Redbox and stopped treating customers as if they are all criminals, their business would be doing a lot better.
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