Stop The Press: Entertainment Industry Exec Acknowledges That Piracy Is Competition

from the first-step-is-to-acknowledge dept

For a while we've been saying that whatever media companies think about piracy, from a moral or legal point of view, it doesn't change the fact that they must learn to compete against it. Unless you cling to the pollyannaish notion that it can be eradicated with DRM, draconian laws, or aggressive lawsuits, there's really no other choice but to compete with it. But it does seem like more executives are getting the message. The fact that more companies are signing deals with YouTube as opposed to suing them is a good step. At a recent conference, a Disney executive articulated the same point of view on piracy, saying, "It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do - through quality, price and availability. We don't like the model but we realise it's competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward." It's taken too long for the entertainment industry to reach this point, perhaps out of a fear that should it deign to compete with piracy it would somehow validate the practice. Now the hard part is in figuring out a way to do it and somehow maintain its profits (not easy, we admit). But a strategy of making all of a company's content available on more devices at any time, as Disney hopes to do, is a good start.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 9:27am

    is this TechDirt giving validity to piracy? I can't wait for some **wing yuppie to claim this is another attempt on TD's part to validate an illegal action.

    come on..who's first? there's a nice shiny nickle for ya!

     

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  2.  
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    A Non-Mouse Cow Herd, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 9:29am

    Re:

    this is another attempt on TD's part to validate an illegal action.


    (Yes, that was a lazy copy/paste, but hey, it's not like I believe it, I'm just doing it for the nickel!!!!)

     

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  3.  
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    Skippyboy, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 9:37am

    Captain Jack for CEO!!

    Arrg! Avast ye scurvy board of director's! I be Captian Jack, and I be the new CEO of this pirate venture!

    We will compete and win with our cut-throat tactics!

    Arrg!

     

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  4.  
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    Mike, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 9:58am

    In other news...

    This executive was promptly fired.

     

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  5.  
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    Petréa Mitchell, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 10:13am

    My suspicion keeps growing that Bob Iger (misspelled in that article) is the one media CEO out there who Gets It.

     

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  6.  
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    Eric Barnes, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 10:16am

    Driving on the Right Side of the Road....

    ....is easier than driving on the left. Time is our new scarce resource. Remove the friction tax of piracy (it takes work to find what you want and then steal it), charge a fair price that encourages broad use, and the millions willl flock to your legitimate, well-organized, easy-to-use media service.

    Eric

     

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  7.  
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    MasterCKO, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 10:29am

    To Mike...

    Your thinking is why you're not an executive. Thanks, come again...

     

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  8.  
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    Trouble Maker, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 10:38am

    two cents worth

    Piracy wouldn't be an issue if people were honest. Not just the Pirates but the ones that currently collect swag and booty. Arg!

     

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  9.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:09am

    Re: Driving on the Right Side of the Road....

    "Remove the friction tax of piracy (it takes work to find what you want and then steal it), charge a fair price that encourages broad use, and the millions willl flock to your legitimate, well-organized, easy-to-use media service.
    "-
    Eric


    Thank you. This has been what we were trying to get across to these fools throughout this whole thing.

    Piracy began as an objection to the status quo of the media empire. Now it's doing what needs to be done: shaking up the media monopolies and forcing innovative change.

     

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  10.  
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    Mike, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:10am

    Re: To Mike...

    hehe i said it for humor more than anything else

     

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  11.  
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    Chris, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:17am

    #8

    To Trouble Maker

    "Piracy wouldn't be an issue if people were honest."

    I think what you mean to say is 'Piracy wouldn't be an issue if people were moral.' Honesty has nothing to do with it. I could say I'm honest, I could say I honestly download leagal copies of media illegaly; yet despite the fact I pirate whatever, im being honest about it. My actions, arguably, however, are immoral. Honesty is whether or not something is true, as opposed to false.

    As far as TD trying to legitmize an illegal action, all you have to do is read their tag line. They provide an analysis (perspective if you will) of what's occuring in and around a particular topic. So to say that companies should try to compete with piracy, is to say there is an element affecting your buisness that you MUST adapt to, because it's not going to go away. If you dont adapat, you will suffer the conscequences.

    To provide QUALITY content at a FAIR price is how you compete with other companies. If you offer the same service, but charge less you get customers. People want quality for their money, and if they can get the same qauilty somewhere else for cheeper, they will. If you offer the same service at the same price, reputation trumps anything else. You can get a factory made honda at probably over a 1,000 different dealers. If 999 of those dealers had the same deal, but 1 dealer didnt slap you in the face after you bought the car, then guess who's gonna get the majority of buisness? Same goes for music piracy. You can either buy a CD direct from a company and hope their DRM wont screw you over, or you get sued from them because you violated some sort of TOS or EULA. Or you can take the easiest route of sitting down on your computer for 30seconds to click a few buttons and have what you want with the littlest hassel, and the best quality.

    If music companies sold full albums for $7 they could then start closing the gap on competition. Why pay $1 per song through itunes on a 14 track cd, when you can get all of them for half the price. Ease of obtainability coupled with quailty of productservice is going to win every time. Dont sue your customer base, dont corrupt their hardware, and dont label the community as criminals, and you might see a profit margin you actualy like.

     

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  12.  
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    RantMax, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:20am

    No surprise.

    Robert Iger (the new disney CEO) is in fact very forward thinking and smart fellow.

    He made it possible to sell series and movies online via iTunes, he's who "made friends" with Jobs and instead of Disney and Pixar completely abandoning business relationships, Disney acquired Pixar.

    In fact, I'm happy he's in this position as he truly is making a difference and settings trends for the rest of the industry to follow.

    Only respect for that guy.

     

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  13.  
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    RedBeard, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 11:38am

    Pirate Better Stuff

    I agree that companies have to compete, but lets be real. If there were perfect copies of movies out there people would surley pirate those instead of the crap cams and screeners. The industry is in a bad place... Perhaps they should offer something extra for legit purchased bits, and not more bits, as they will be copied as well.

     

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  14.  
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    Wyndle, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Pirate Better Stuff

    Perhaps they should offer something extra for legit purchased bits...

    The soft drink cartels already follow this philosophy with the online only under the cap games. How many people actually turn in the codes for these caps though? These companies have the opportunity to start an online community using their products as the gateway. Say for example they made a deal with MMORPG company X for 7 days free service on one of their games for each code entered. That is a valuable return for both the media company and the game company. The media company gets to harvest the personal info required to claim the reward and the game company gets free publicity and word of mouth advertising.

     

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  15.  
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    PhysicsGuy, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Pirate Better Stuff

    but who's pirating soft drinks exactly?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 1:23pm

    Re: two cents worth

    NOBODY's honest you dolt. Sure, many of us make a constant effort to be the best people we can be but perfect honesty doesn't exist except in a fairyworld.

    Fact is there are enough of us that we each only need to be dishonest on rare occations and there is still enough dishonesty to see the effects on the global community.

    Stop filling your head with bullshit fairyland beliefs that we only need to be perfectly honest all the time. I don't buy for a second you don't speed or have never shop-lifted or don't lie occasionally.

    We all need to be honest...wake up!

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 1:56pm

    ROBINHOOD

     

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  18.  
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    A chicken passeth by, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 4:57pm

    ...this isn't an argument for Piracy.

    I have found so far that the industry is quick to blame someone else other than themselves when they fail to sell a product... when in reality the product itself is shoddy.

    It's far too easy to blame pirates - they can't fight back legally.

     

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  19.  
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    cb, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 8:12pm

    beware

    "Beware of the Dwarf"

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 8:40pm

    media industry shills

    are populating this forum. No matter what you think about piracy, no sane person can reject the argument that piracy is a competitor to legitimate business. Just because the media industry says so now does not mean it has not always known so. It so happens that it considered politics and PR to be the most effective weapons against the competitors for quite some time... but now is realizing that they are not. A person only has a fixed amount of resources and time. If they go to pirated media, then they do not to the media firms, and that is the definition of a competitor. An illegal competitor but a competitor nevertheless.

    And anyway, blather on all you want about ethics. I'm an intelligent adult who is capable of independent reasoning on this subject and I don't think its necessarily unethical. There is enlightened disagreement on this subject. So shall we have a shouting match over it or will you just shut up and recognize an immovable differing opinion?

    p.s. I write commercial software and sell music for money. If someone isn't going to pay me for my stuff, then what do I care if they have it after all? Its no skin off my back and doesn't cost me a dime. Its between them and their conscience or god.

     

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  21.  
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    Cleverboy, Oct 10th, 2006 @ 8:48pm

    Re: #8: Honesty vs. Morality

    I think what you mean to say is 'Piracy wouldn't be an issue if people were moral.' Honesty has nothing to do with it.

    Oh, I beg to differ.
    I could say I'm honest, I could say I honestly download leagal copies of media illegaly; yet despite the fact I pirate whatever, im being honest about it.
    On the odd ocassion, I use my own personal website to search the net for free music I can't immediately find on iTunes. Is it wrong? Yes. I don't care. I do my best to "correct" the situation at my earliest opportunity, but sometimes I just wanted to listen to the song once anyway. --But it bugs the crap out of me that people think they're "taking a stand" against something by piracy. --No... you're just getting what you want and saying you don't care about the consequences in aggregate. Just SAY IT. Don't spew moralistic hogwash about how musicians don't get a dime anyway, as if you're broad brush is plastering a universal canvas.
    My actions, arguably, however, are immoral. Honesty is whether or not something is true, as opposed to false.
    Given the way the world is, I'd prefer dry honesty over feigned and inconsistant morality anyday of the week. Any man's morality is usually at the mercy of whether he is honest with himself. How much time is wasted because a pirate tries to argue things like: a.) do musicians deserve to make a living from their records? or b.) do I really think piracy impacts sales, even if not one-to-one? c.) am I trying to discern an agreeable truth, or simply argue my position? The "truth" is, that the pirate is simply doing something they want to do, and will tend towards any arguments that makes them feel they are a good person... honesty be damned.

    The very notion that "piracy is a competitor" is dismissed if you see piracy universally as a "remarkeably novel means of advertisment" (as some idiots... um, "pirates" do). There's a little truth in everything, and a little rationalization goes a long way towards coloring the moral path. Some people think the recording industry and everything about it (except the music of course) to be pure evil. In such a case, the only "moral" approach would be to "strike back"... which reamains the festering, bubbling, steaming pile of manure argument its been for a while now.

    I'm glad a musician can make a living off their music, and even retire from the fruit of their creative spirit. That's something I'll be damned before letting anyone eliminate. Slate had a great article about possibly better options for revolutionizing the industry. Although it tip toes near the somewhat amorphous "compulsory license", I like the idea of a real-time commodities [link] market for music. In the meantime, we get to deal with cyclical arguments about why how the recording industry is both enemy and friend, antagonist and lover, pluto and prometheus all in one with a thousand heads.

    Ah well. At the end of the day, the least we can do it say what we really mean after the smoke clears.

     

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  22.  
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    Wyndle, Oct 11th, 2006 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Pirate Better Stuff

    but who's pirating soft drinks exactly?

    I didn't mean it in the context of piracy, but in the context of rewarding buyers for not choosing the competition.

     

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  23.  
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    Duh! (profile), Oct 11th, 2006 @ 7:12pm

    Who cares?

    Who cares if TD is giving validity to piracy... until I know they would be the judge at my RIAA case I don't care what they think... it doesn't affect me!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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