Shocker: Morgan Freeman's Movie Download Site Launches; Not Shocking: It Sucks

from the one-out-of-two-ain't-bad dept

Morgan Freeman's much-hyped movie-download service Clickstar has finally launched. On one hand, it's something of a surprise, given how long it's been hyped without any action to back it up. On the other hand, it's hardly surprising to learn that, like so many similar services before, it pretty much sucks. The chairman of the company quotes Freeman in a blog post as saying "ClickStar is our effort to make films easier to buy than to pirate." As paidContent.org's Rafat Ali notes, they've missed the mark badly: it's Windows-only, requires the use of IE7, poor site design requiring lots of clicks, and restrictions that prevent users from burning movies to DVD. In other words, the site is about as good as the previous studio-backed efforts, which is to say, it's pretty awful. The only bright spot is that Clickstar is compressing release windows: a Freeman film that was released in studios just two weeks ago is now available on the site. Compressing release windows is something that theater owners have reacted strongly to in the past. But it sounds like Clickstar is so bad, they won't really need to worry about it this time around.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 11:22am

    HEY YOU GUYS!!!

    I wish the Easy Reader the best of luck as anything to break the freakin' stranglehold the *AA's have on recorded media is almost a blessing.

    (for those who don't remember, Morgan Freeman played "The Easy Reader" on the show The Electric Company)

     

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  2.  
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    Bumbling old fool, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 11:23am

    *yawn*

    I'd say I'm suprised... but to be honest... I'm not.

    I don't expect any entertain industry player to realize the value of convenience to their consumers... they have spent YEARS curtailing consumer convenience, and during those years their profits only increased.

    Why would they embrace consumer convenience now? That would completely go against everything consumers have taught them.

    (that was satire... sorta... )

     

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  3.  
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    chris (profile), Dec 18th, 2006 @ 11:34am

    here's the trick

    here's the trick to making buying more convenient than pirating:

    you have to make it more convenient than pirating.

    i just figured it out myself! it was a real eyeopener! now that understand it, it seems so freakin' obvious. i can't believe that i went this long without seeing it.

     

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  4.  
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    Evil Bastard, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 11:36am

    Re: HEY YOU GUYS!!!

    He and Hector Alonzo were also part of the EC skit that fathered this quote (I think Rita Moreno played Betty)

    "Butter will make Betty's Bitter Batter Better"

    :)

     

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  5.  
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    misanthropic humanist, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 11:39am

    Shame

    "..it's Windows-only, requires the use of IE7, poor site design requiring lots of clicks, and restrictions that prevent users from burning movies to DVD."

    In other words it's unusable and defeats its own goals. I wonder why they made such fundamental mistakes.

    Incidentally, I've always liked Mr Freeman as an actor, what a shame if he has squandered money on a poor implementation.

    That's the problem with having a "business idea" and wanting to move into technology when you don't know much about it I guess. There's really only a small number of programmers and software engineers that are honestly capable of providing real impartial advice based on technical merits, the vast majority of high profile "consultants" are really salesmen of one kind or another. Once they've sold you their solution and built the site they don't really care if you fail or succeed.

    Or I wonder, is this another case of a good team with great ideas slowly being bled to death by lawyers and marketing people until
    they end up with a lowest common denominator POS.

    If your project is technology you should put your technologists in charge of it.

     

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  6.  
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    Andrew, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 11:39am

    NICE

    Site is IE only.

     

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  7.  
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    Bumbling old fool, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 11:42am

    Re: Shame

    I wonder why they made such fundamental mistakes.

    Just a guess here but maybe pressure from the rest of the industry forcing them to implement failed ideas? Perhaps a visit from a mafia representative?

     

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  8.  
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    iRule, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 11:43am

    Does anybody have an actual financial model detailing how it would benefit the movie studios to revamp their operating procedures, reduce the release window, and embrace an online movie store that people could actually use and enjoy?

    I don't think so. I don't think a model exists because I don't think it the actions that people want to see would increase the profits of the film business.

    Online, people seem to look for free, or discounted alternatives to purchasing the same materials they would pay full price for in a store.

    Also, online, whats not to stop people from sharing the files. Please don't say more DRM. At least with purchasing DVDs, there is a slight disconnect between having the DVD and having the file on your computer.

     

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  9.  
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    Rick, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 11:54am

    Just an FYI:

    It also 'requires Windows Media Player 10.0 or later'

    Blah.

     

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  10.  
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    LOL, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 11:57am

    easier to buy than to pirate?
    WOW! they really have it figured out....

     

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  11.  
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    KB, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 12:15pm

    Arse

    Well, I clicked the "Click Here" to get started and it brought me back to the main page. As a web developer, I've always found that having a Click Here button actually do something is sort of important.

    Site is crud, therefore I doubt it will ever sit snugly under my developer toolbar in firefox (in an IE tab obviously) ever again

    Utter crap.

     

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  12.  
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    Gustavo, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 12:20pm

    Couldn't test it

    Sad to see that. I visited the site some days ago, but couldn't access the film. Apparently they're releasing only to the US (which makes it even sadder).

     

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  13.  
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    Gabriel Constantine, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 12:46pm

    Clickstar

    They say they want to make it easier to buy the movie than to pirate it. 1) I had to download an annoying cstar management program 2) Its IE only (no firefox) 3) When I went to purchase 30 minutes ago the IE window still says PLEASE STAND BY Even with the crappy DRM why can they not do a simple download. No wonder I stick with itunes.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 1:17pm

    Not Freemans fault

    I venture to say it was a lazy programmers fault that did this. I doubt Morgan Freeman set next to the developer as they did it. They probably paid for a company to do the site, supplied that company with all the content and idea's and that company dropped the ball (which would explain all the talk for so long without seeing any site) - they got tired of waiting and just said 'screw it' were launching.

     

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  15.  
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    BananaFish, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 2:55pm

    Yeah, but...

    I've never tried to pirate a movie before, but perhaps for me, getting IE7 and WMP 10 *is* really easier than finding out how to DL movies illegally.

    Those with direct access to (and experience with) movie pirating may never be swayed, realistically. I guess i'm saying i'm not sure how one defines "easier". Perhaps they mean to stop new converts, rather than convince every movie pirate to pay because it's just so easy.

    Oh, and good for Morgan Freeman. Not enough credit for a good idea.... i'm sure it will be swallowed up by the bad implementation.

     

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  16.  
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    past_a, Dec 18th, 2006 @ 3:13pm

    Why do you nned to burn it?

    I haven't bothered to look at the site - I'm sure it sucks. But I am curious about is why burn to DVD needs to be a feature... Why would you want a DVD if you have it digitized? That to me is the big advantage of a DL service. Most people I know rip their DVDs - what is the use of going the other way around?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Morgan, Dec 19th, 2006 @ 6:35am

    Pirates

    I recall that my good friend Andy DeFrane had a run in with some sort of a pirate fella back in Shawshank prison.

     

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