Movie Studios Making Different Mistakes Than The RIAA

from the learned-the-wrong-lessons dept

There have been a number of articles recently talking about how the movie industry has watched and learned from the mistakes the recording industry has made in the last couple years when it came to combating file sharing. If that’s the case (as this article claims), it looks like they learned the wrong lessons and are quickly making their own set of mistakes. They’re certainly not embracing the technology – or realizing that watching a movie is a social entertainment experience that isn’t easily replicated by downloading a low-quality film online. Instead, they’re making life more annoying for their customers by practically strip searching those who go to see the movies and then playing whiny advertisements to try to get across the idea that file sharing is “bad”. Their latest move is to actually go into schools and put on a Warner Brothers scripted lesson on why downloading movies is immoral. Thankfully, at least some people are questioning if it’s appropriate for folks in the movie industry to enter the classroom and lecture kids on morality. As you read the article, though, the scary part is that everyone quoted simply assumes that file sharing is unquestionably bad for the industry. Not a single person brings up the idea that maybe it’s a good way to get attention for movies – and that there might be ways to build new business models around the movie-going experience. Instead, they simply take it as the official word that file sharing is bad… just like two decades ago when the VCR was supposed to be the death of the industry. Some people never learn.

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Comments on “Movie Studios Making Different Mistakes Than The RIAA”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

I beg to differ

Your comment about not being able to enjoy the ‘low quality’ downloaded versions at home is off base. There are lots of poor quality movies floating around on the P2P services, but there are many excellent quality versions as well.

I regularly download movies from the ‘net, convert them to rewritable DVD and watch them on my home stereo system (60″ digital progressive scan TV with 550 watt Dolby Digital/DTS surround). I erase the disc and reuse them. If a movie turns out to be worth owning, I’ll buy it when it comes out for the special features and behind the scenes stuff.

Is the quality as good the final version that you can buy 6 months later? No. Is it more than adequate for determining if a movie is worth paying full price for? Yes. Is it equal to or better than a VHS version of the movie? In most cases, yes.

A lot of the movies that can be downloaded are DVD rips from a movie industry insider, usually compressed with DivX or XviD codecs, and many include AC3 5 channel audio. With 4-8 hours of uncompression and conversion on a 1 GHz PC, the files are back in MPEG2 format suitable for creating a DVD.

There are lots of websites that can be found that offer plentiful advice for how to do this. My personal favorite is

Mike (profile) says:

Re: I beg to differ

Sorry, you missed the point I was trying to make, which is my fault, since it wasn’t clear. The industry should be selling the movie going *experience* – which isn’t replaced by a download. I wasn’t talking about the quality of the movie.

In fact, you’re a good example, in that you download the movies to see if they’re *worth buying* for all the extras. So, to you, they’re promotional.

However, they have this idea that because movies are downloadable no one will go see a movie or buy the DVD – and that’s simply not true. If they offer enough value on top of the movie itself, then people will still go to the movies and buy the DVD.

Jim says:

Re: Re: I beg to differ

The problem with the whole “movie going *experience*” though is that the current *experience* involves fairly high priced tickets and RIDICOUSLY overpriced concessions. I’d much rather watch a movie at home with a bag of microwave popcorn that cost me all of a buck, than pay $5-$10 for a small to medium sized bag at the theater. I recently took my wife and kids to see a Disney movie (me, wife, 3 kids) and it ended up costing me more than $50. And that was with skimping on the food… Personally, I can live without that *experience* VIVE LA INTERNET DOWNLOADS!

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