Go To The Movie, Get The Soundtrack For Free
from the yet-another-idea dept
It always amazes me when movie industry execs complain that the models we discuss wouldn’t work for the movie industry. That’s ridiculous, because in many ways, it’s already working for the industry. As Marcus Loew once famously said: “We sell tickets to theaters, not movies.” The movie has never been the “product.” The experience of seeing the movie is the product, and so the focus shouldn’t be freaking out about “pirates” while making the movie-going experience worse. It should be the opposite. It should be about enticing people to want to go out to the movies by giving them something extra that makes it worthwhile. Going to the movies is a social experience. It’s much cheaper to eat dinner at home, but plenty of people go out to eat at restaurants because those restaurants (while more expensive) give people a reason to go (better food quality, better service, a chance for a night out, no need to cook or wash the dishes, etc.). There’s no reason why the movie industry can’t do the same.
While we’ve talked about a number of different ideas for enticing more people to go to the theaters (beyond making the experience better, why not let people buy a discounted DVD of the movie they just saw as they exit the theater — if they really liked it, many will want to own it to see again, and to see the extras). Mark Cuban, who has actually been at the forefront of many of these ideas (and, also happens to be very involved in the industry, though more on the independent side) has an interesting new suggestion. He points out that only a small number of people actually buy the soundtracks associated with movies — but if you want to attract more people to go to the movie, why not give them the ability to download the soundtrack of any movie they go see in the theaters. Put a special code on the ticket stub that takes them to a download store — and on that store include the soundtrack as well as extras, such as the script from the film. Obviously, this content will be spread around and can be accessed by others, but many will value the fact that by seeing the actual movie they get access to the official content. As Cuban notes, this can also be a win for the music industry, as a portion of the movie ticket sales can be used to compensate them as well. It’s yet another example of the model we’ve discussed repeatedly: using infinite goods (music, script) to make the scarce good (seats in a theater for a show) appear to be more valuable.