Studio Embracing P2P While Missing The Point

from the all-the-costs,-none-of-the-benefits dept

Scott writes in to let us know that Time Warner is apparently embracing P2P in parts of Europe, saying that the company is finally "changing" its business model. The actual details of the story show how little things have actually changed. In this case, it's mostly that Warner Brothers is using a tiny aspect of P2P as a publicity stunt. The rest of this is business as usual. They will allow downloads of movies and television shows. It sounds like it will be using a BitTorrent-like system that will share the bandwidth burden among people who already have the content. While the content won't have an expiration date, it will have copy protection that will require the content to "call home" to a central server. Warner Brothers will be releasing content for sale on this system at the same time as DVDs go on sale... but will charge the same amount as a DVD. So, basically, they're using P2P to lower their own costs. By going online, it saves them packaging costs. By going P2P it saves them in bandwidth costs. But, do they pass the savings on to customers? Hell no. Instead, they expect you to offer up your bandwidth to help them out. The only one getting any benefit here is the studio, which makes it seem unlikely that users will come rushing in.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    CUrob, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 9:52am

    No Subject Given

    Interesting idea.
    Nice try WB, but no sale. We want a cost break. Share the $$ you hording monguls.
    ...on the other hand, the reality is their "protection" will be cracked in a matter of a week after they impliment this strategy. Pirates are very good a blowing holes in corporate stategies like this.

     

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  2.  
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    HardwareGuy, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 10:20am

    Ulterior Motives?

    Don't forget the real benefit for WB. They can complain that online content delivery "doesn't work" so they can push to implement more draconian copy protection for non-online content.

     

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  3.  
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    Simon, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 10:25am

    Quality of Service

    With ISP's using packet shaping technology (I don't know if this is the case in Europe) to throttle P2P bandwidth to stop those pesky P2P'ers hogging all the network, it will be interesting to see how this pans out should the DVD download service become popular.

    It's one thing bitching and moaning about P2P traffic be slowed to a crawl if you are downloading suspect content, but if you are trying to access legitimate content that you've actually paid for, then people will really start to yell.

     

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  4.  
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    Posterlogo, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 10:30am

    Good idea.

    For those who use piracy because it's more convenient than going out and renting or buying the DVD, this is the proper response. If you don't like it, don't buy it. If you don't like DVD prices, don't buy them. If you all hate the movie producers and RIAA so much, don't go enjoying their products. If I ever make a product or service, I expect it to sell because it is a good product at a reasonable price. If not, it will not sell. Stop complaining about their tactics just because you need your fix. It's like a drug addiction to you people. I don't like the MPAA or RIAA just as much as the next guy, but I know I still want some of their products. When I use file sharing, it's still stealing and I know it. They have a right to react. And I'm going to react to their reaction. But until you can say you've not downloading anything illegally, you have no right to complain.

     

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  5.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 30th, 2006 @ 10:57am

    Re: Good idea.

    They have a right to react. And I'm going to react to their reaction. But until you can say you've not downloading anything illegally, you have no right to complain.

    I have not downloaded anything illegally. I don't use file sharing. I don't download unauthorized content.

    As for my "right to complain" I think you're missing the point. I'm saying that this is a bad business strategy for the company. They're not offering anything of real value here, so it's a bad offering. They could do a much better job.

    I hadn't realized that offering good advice was considered "complaining."

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 11:05am

    Re: Good idea.

    I thin the point here is not the piracy but the simple fact that they are charging the same for a DVD as for an online download. Now I could watch a DVD in any DVD player but can I watch my download on any PC? I don't think so. So why should I pay the same as the DVD? I won't, nor will many anothers

     

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  7.  
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    Ben, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 11:15am

    Re: Good idea.

    But until you can say you've not downloading anything illegally, you have no right to complain.
    I don't Download anything illegaly and i think this is the stupidest things to hit P2P yet. like Mike said it will just be a way for M$ to say that they "tried" P2P and it doesnt work. I think the RIAA are a bunch of greedy scum bags no better than patent trolls (doing none of the work and wanting to get paid for it). When P2P becomes a cheap and easy way to d/l movies and music i will embase it whole heartedly, but until that time i think illegal downloads will be the competition that is so blatantly missing in the entertainment industry.

     

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  8.  
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    Bob, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 11:16am

    Re: Good idea.

    "I don't like the MPAA or RIAA just as much as the next guy, but I know I still want some of their products."

    If you don't like someone, then why buy their products? Why not be a visionary, an instrument for change? Why not speak out for something you believe in?

    Perhaps a trip to China for a few years will allow you to experience real oppression. Then, you may finally understand the point of discussions like these.

     

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  9.  
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    Scott, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 11:28am

    Re: Good idea.

    Yet posts on this very board complain about how DRM won't allow people to put stuff like this on HTPC's, iPods, etc. The Reg article, only says "at about the same price." I still don't see where it says I can't burn a DVD of this, can you please give someone in the industry a flipping chance? We all want the world, how we want it, when we want it. Did you think any of the big players were just going to roll over and captitulate, no they are going to test the waters, then change based on the response. Be glad one of them is going to at least try something, hopefully they pioneer, others build from that. Maybe, just maybe something good will come of it. If it is crap, news flash, don't use it, it goes under, they have to rework the system again until it fits.
    Or then again, you bash it before it is final, and they continue to sue, status quo ensues, no reason to change.

     

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  10.  
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    Scott, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 11:31am

    Re: Good idea.

    This has to be the best post ever, bashing MS in a post about video downloads from WB.

     

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  11.  
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    Max G. Swanson, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 11:41am

    Re: Good idea.

    If the record labels would put out more decent music with a broader appeal, they wouldn't worry so much about downloading because: The music would be sought out by an audience older than the 15-28-year-olds, (or whatever), who are the biggest fans of and the most expert in newer technologies. People might actually want to hear the performances after they've disappeared from the P2P networks, or once a fair and just DRM strategy has been put in place. I mean, are there any Oldies But Goodies in the world of rap, with "old" defined as more than thre years in the past?

     

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  12.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 30th, 2006 @ 11:41am

    Re: Good idea.

    Did you think any of the big players were just going to roll over and captitulate, no they are going to test the waters, then change based on the response. Be glad one of them is going to at least try something, hopefully they pioneer, others build from that.

    But that's just the thing. They're not "trying" anything. They're basically doing the same thing they always do while shifting the bandwidth burden to users. This isn't a better solution... it's worse.

     

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  13.  
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    Scott, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 11:49am

    Re: Good idea.

    That's odd, I would consider being the first at providing their content on-line would be "trying" digital delivery. You are right, they are talking using P2P, so what? Would you rather they continue to forego on-line delivery? I would rather someone start somewhere and do something, this will give them a starting point at what people will and will not accept at what price points. The idea of digital delivery or P2P is so evil to most of them that they will not consider much less attempt it under any circumstances.

     

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  14.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 30th, 2006 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Good idea.

    They've done online delivery in the past, using things like CinemaNow. This really has very little to do with "P2P". No one was ever upset at P2P -- they were upset about unauthorized sharing. So, using P2P isn't a big step at all. It's really no different than other attempts at offering movie downloads.

     

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  15.  
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    Scott, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Good idea.

    I have to apologize about not knowing CinemaNow had a "buy it" or even a "rent it" service. I thought it was subscription only.
    I still think this is a step in the right direction to actually have a studio attempt it. They won't learn until they do, someone else doing it for them doesn't let them feel the problem.

     

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  16.  
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    Pablo Sanchez, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 12:30pm

    MY BANDWIDTH!!

    I'm sorry but if these people are wanting to use my bandwidth I am going to require some kind of compensation, at least in the form of a lower cost. I would love to be able to sit at home and leagally download any movie that I want, even paying for it I have no problem with, but I am not going to pay the same price for a pure software download (which I in turn will have to burn to a DVD that I purchased seperatly, and purchase a case to keep it in) as I do to go to the store and buy it in physical form, AND give them access to my bandwidth, in this current model the consumer is loosing a lot of money and resources and the WB is making that much more money.

     

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  17.  
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    Digital Doc, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 12:49pm

    WB does not "get it"

    WB is just shuffling the costs to their potential customers. That's like selling us a DVD full price, but we have to supply our own blank media + nifty case.

    They are not "testing the waters", they are setting themselves up for failure.

    Sounds almost like a "straw man" thingy.

    Give us torrents WITH commercials. I promise to watch them. Let us share your bandwidth pain.!!

     

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  18.  
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    whosawhat, Jan 30th, 2006 @ 12:49pm

    ...

    I believe the ability to download content over the internet whenever I want is a big plus. Going out is tough for some people. I know plenty of people who don't own a car, or live in rual areas. Downloading stuff like this over night to watch in the morning is a big plus.

    Regardless, it isn't WB's responibility to pass savings on to you. Buy your DVD instead. Stop bitching. As far as I can tell this is a positive step in the right direction. Lets hear your ideas for a better system...

    Oh, and don't forget about all the hardware, and people power you'll need in order to offer a service like this...

     

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  19.  
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    Philip (profile), Jan 30th, 2006 @ 1:15pm

    Savings cost? or attempt to push product?

    But, do they pass the savings on to customers? Hell no.

    Something I think was missed is that sometimes customers don't WANT their users to download everything. They WANT their users to buy the physical product over a software based download. I think this is one of those instances. In this instance, in order to "promote" their hardware DVD copies, they make the downloads the same price.

    I've seen this tactic used on multiple occations. This isn't about savings, this is about demoting downloads while promoting their physical store copies

     

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  20.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 30th, 2006 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Savings cost? or attempt to push product?

    This isn't about savings, this is about demoting downloads while promoting their physical store copies

    Hmm. That only works if the downloads aren't already available for free via BitTorrent. It doesn't do much to convince anyone of anything if you make a worse product more expensive.

     

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  21.  
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    TechNoFear (profile), Jan 31st, 2006 @ 12:03am

    Re: Same value as a hard copy DVD?

    Same value as a hard copy DVD?

    Will these copies be region free or do I risk my using my DVD players 4 region changes?

    If I don't have internet access all the time, will the movie refuse to play because the DRM can't phone home?

    As to the bandwidth, the major teleco in Australia (Telstra) charges Au$0.15 / Mb both _UP_ and down.
    (Just waiting to trap new customers with a 24 month / 300Mb account)

     

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  22.  
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    Tim, Jan 31st, 2006 @ 3:10am

    Re: Good idea.

    > But that's just the thing. They're not "trying" anything

    This is business for you. All new product streams are expected to pay for themselves by default. It's also viable to expect it to get cheaper over time unless it bombs first - that's what the choice of initial price does.

    How good's the quality they're offering, anyway?

     

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  23.  
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    Scott, Jan 31st, 2006 @ 5:55am

    Re: Same value as a hard copy DVD?

    Well then, I guess this isn't for you. Maybe you could ask the gov't to legislate something for you.

     

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  24.  
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    Philip (profile), Jan 31st, 2006 @ 8:42am

    Re: Savings cost? or attempt to push product?

    Hmm. That only works if the downloads aren't already available for free via BitTorrent. It doesn't do much to convince anyone of anything if you make a worse product more expensive.


    Then you get into the realm of legalities. It's not legal to download the "free" versions off BT. In which, my comment still holds true.

     

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  25.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 31st, 2006 @ 10:59am

    Re: Savings cost? or attempt to push product?

    Then you get into the realm of legalities. It's not legal to download the "free" versions off BT. In which, my comment still holds true.

    Not really. The issue is the competitive market place as viewed by the consumer. The legality plays into it -- as it's a "cost". However, it makes the whole offering a very different sell.

    The problem is that the entertainment companies prefer to pretend that the illegal free stuff isn't a part of their market, when it is.

     

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