Blockbuster Says Choice Would Eliminate Counterfeit Movies

from the still-won't-happen... dept

The head of Blockbuster Video in the UK believe he has an easy way for the movie industry to wipe out a large percentage of the unauthorized copying of movies: release all movies in all formats in all locations at the same time. That is, put it out in the theaters, on DVD/VHS and on the internet all around the world at the same time. Obviously, this would benefit Blockbuster, giving them access to movies when they get the most publicity, but the idea really does make some sense. While some people want the counterfeit or downloaded movies because of the lower price, there is also a large component of it being people who just want to watch the movie in the easiest way possible. If the industry provided that at a reasonable price, plenty of people would pay. The folks who are only looking for free aren’t likely to bother anyway, but if people can be convinced to have a regular Netflix-style subscription plan, and the movies are available immediately, then there isn’t much of a reason to go after the unauthorized versions. The industry, of course, recoils in horror at the thought, believing that if DVDs/internet versions of movies come out at the same time as in the theater, no one will ever go to the theater. This is, of course, wrong. Certainly, some people will prefer to watch at home — and that’s their choice. Giving them what they want means it’s more likely that they’ll actually spend something on the movie instead of just letting it go away. However, for many people, going to the movies is a social experience. You get a group of people together and go out to the movies and enjoy it on a bigger screen with a better sound system than you have at home. If the industry worked on making the theater-going experience more enjoyable then more people would go to the movies. It’s not just about the content, but the overall experience. The fact that the industry still doesn’t realize this is somewhat surprising.

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Comments on “Blockbuster Says Choice Would Eliminate Counterfeit Movies”

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Loraan says:

One man's opinion

Speaking for myself, I am an avid movie watcher–I probably watch four to eight movies a month–, but I have been to a theater less than five times in the last year. The reason? A home theater. When I go to the theater, I get worse picture quality (in all aspects except size) and sound than I get at home, and I have to pay eight-fifty, deal with crowds, expensive concessions, can’t pause to use the bathroom or get some more popcorn, etc…

Although I think that the number of people whose home theaters serve as an adequate substitute for a public theater is still quite small, I’m not the only one I know who does this. And as home theater equipment gets cheaper and cheaper–as it appears to be doing–more people will do this.

I’m so happy with my home theater and opposed to going to a public theater that I’m happy to wait six months for new releases to come out on DVD. If the studios decided to release on DVD the same time as in theaters, it would affect my movie-going habits, though. The only time I go to theaters is if it’s with a group of friends–as a social outing. If new release movies were out on DVD, I guarantee that we would chose to watch them at my house instead of in the theater.

But I wonder: what do the studios care? How much are they making from theater revenues versus DVD purchases or rentals? If every theater ticket purchase instead bought a DVD, would they make more or less?

Mark says:

simultaneous release

It’s a good idea. Some movies work better in theaters — special effects extravaganzas, comedies (since laughter is a social behavior). There are plenty movies, though, that I read about and decide to see it when it comes to DVD, since the process through Netflix is so painless. If the studios gave me that option right away, they’d be more likely to get my business since I’d have less time to forget about the movie.

It also could solve another problem that Hollywood has made for itself: namely, the increasing tendency to force every movie, no matter the plot, into a PG-13 frame since those films attract family audiences and make more money. So you have obviously mature themes that are stripped down, destroying the quality of the narrative, to get it past the ratings board. Then, months later, the director’s cut comes out, but by then the buzz for the movie is long gone. Simultaneous multi-format release would also allow the studios to release different versions of the movie simultaneously, and those who prefer that their R-rated plots be within R-rated movies could have the choice of seeing them that way.

VonSkippy says:

Restaurants Worldwide Panic

believing that if DVDs/internet versions of movies come out at the same time as in the theater, no one will ever go to the theater.

Restaurants hearing this new and exciting theory panic worldwide since it’s well known that people can actually cook/eat food at home. Surely this means that NO ONE will go out to eat.

The record/movie industry is full of morons.

Unknown says:

Give Mark Cuban credit

Mark Cuban actually pushed out this idea a few months ago on his blog. I think its a great idea. Some movies are just better in the theatre and I often miss the DVD release because they come at unpredictable times after the intial release of the movie. It might even improve DVD sales because people who see the movie in the theatres, might buy it immediately.

Ralph J. says:

Re: Not a likely solution

Their business model is built on the fact that people pay multiple times for the privilege to see a film. First in the cinema, then from the video rental store and if they liked it a lot, they’ll buy the overpriced DVD as well. The only interest the entertainment industry has in keeping the cinema industry alive is that it brings in this extra money. If you could rent any film right after its release, you could just invite all your friends over and watch it for half the price of a single cinema ticket.

Alan Braggins says:

Costs of releasing in cinema worldwide

There’s no mention of the extra cost of making enough prints to distribute for worldwide release. Is he assuming that cinemas will go digital before this happens? Or will launchs happen in fewer cinemas at once in each country? Or does he think the savings on piracy will cover the extra costs?

Will says:

Simultaneous release of movies in theaters and on

I am a new father and I can say that I haven’t been to the movies in close to four months. Why? Because I think that my son can’t handle the LOUD noise the way adults can. My wife and I agree that he is TOO SMALL but what about us? We would still like to enjoy new theatrical releases just like the rest of the world. Yet we are stuck having to wait for the dvd releases just because of the fact that new movies are NOT released on the same day as in theaters. I personally would love it if we could watch a new release at home. It would be safer for my son and enjoyable for my wife and myself. ‘Nuff Said.

Joe Merritt says:

Movies On VHS or Dvd

I don ‘t give a hoot about the new movies because if they are any good I see Them At the Theater.
What concerns me are old movies, mostly from the 30s & 40s
Which I collect.
There are a number that I would like to see.
They are not on TV or for sale on the internet.
I think if they would license individuals to record these movies and pay a fee That I could get some I want.

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