Warner Bros. Wants You To 'Buy' Movies Instead Of Rent… And By 'Buy' It Means Spend More To Still 'Rent'

from the that's-not-buying dept

We pointed out that the early reviews of Hollywood’s new UltraViolet DRM aren’t particularly good, but the industry is still pushing forward with the idea. Leading the way is Warner Bros., who is trying to turn the movie-based “social network” it bought a few months ago, Flixster, into the central hub for your movies. The NY Times has an article about it, where it repeatedly claims that the strategy is all about trying to get people to “buy” movies again, rather than just rent them via Netflix of Redbox. Of course, I find this pretty funny, because nothing about UltraViolet is about actually “buying” anything. You’re still renting — and if things ever went to court over, say, your first sale rights to resell a movie you “purchased” using UltraViolet, you can bet that Warner Bros. would be first in line to claim that the license shows you’re merely renting the movie, and not buying it. It’s just that you’re renting it on an open-ended timeline, basically until the studios bail on UltraViolet and shut down the servers.

Rob Pegoraro, in commenting on the article, notes that oddly, the article doesn’t even mention DRM in talking about why people don’t want to buy from the studios or the fact that it’s still much more convenient to get the content by unauthorized means. But that concept still hasn’t reached the brain trust at Warner Bros., who seems to insist that as long as you can access the movies you “bought” from anywhere, people will prefer that to file sharing. While it’s great that they’re at least trying to add benefits, to make it more valuable and worth paying for, the whole thing smacks of someone’s father trying to “act cool” for his kids’ friends. Warner Bros. still doesn’t seem to understand why people like things like Netflix: the convenience. Everything about Ultraviolet sounds inconvenient, and that hardly makes anyone want to “buy.”

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Companies: flixster, warner bros.

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Comments on “Warner Bros. Wants You To 'Buy' Movies Instead Of Rent… And By 'Buy' It Means Spend More To Still 'Rent'”

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45 Comments
fogbugzd (profile) says:

Big media is always trying to get people to “go back” to whatever model used to be obscenely profitable for them.

Any company that drools over past glories is doomed to find that technology, the marketplace, and consumers tend to forward. The next profitable market lies in the future, not the past. Any company that tries to drive the market backwards is destined to miss the next big thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Oh?

Oh I think I know what you’re getting at…

Col. Sandurz: Private, get me the cassette of Spaceballs the movie.

Private: Yes, sir!

DH: Col. Sandurz, may I speak with you please?

Col. Sandurz: Yes, sir?

DH: How can there be a cassette of Spaceballs the movie? We’re still in the middle of making it!

Col. Sandurz: There’s been a new breakthrough in home video marketing. Instant cassettes! They’re out in stores before the movie is finished.

DH: Nah!

Private: Here it is, sir! Spaceballs!

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

“whatever model used to be obscenely profitable for them”

They’re still using the same old business model (of illegal monopoly), and raking in tens of billions at it. Do you think that Microsoft will convert to the “free” model, give away the OS and “sell scarcities”? If not — and it IS not — then why won’t DRM and enforcing copyright work for movie biz same as does for Microsoft? (And don’t try that Microsoft has a stream of new products: so does movie biz.)

The existence / ungodly success of Microsoft disproves not only Mike’s notions of needing “new business models”, but also much about the “free market” insuring that the best products succeed and that price in mass markets approaches “marginal costs”.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

Do you think that Microsoft will convert to the “free” model, give away the OS and “sell scarcities”?

Do you mean like how they took Microsoft Office – one of the most profitable segments of the company – made it free online, dropped the price on their home & student editions, and focused on selling enterprise solutions?

Because yeah, they did that…

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: @"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

There you go. That is how to compete with free. Match it.

This is the trend in the world of IT IP. They offer a service and support it through other revenue streams. Some of their argument is to make things more convenient (aka The Cloud).

The entertainment IP crowd are having difficulty with the ‘other revenue stream’ part of it, even though radio and TV played that game for a long time (aka advertising). The VCR taught them a lesson about convenience they are now denying.

out_of_the_blue says:

Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

Piracy definitely is getting the content without paying.
“Buying” the movie would mean acquiring the copyright.
In between those is perhaps in need of a new word, though everyone except Mike and a few pirates understand that one isn’t really “buying” a movie merely by downloading a file, DRM-ed or not. Sheesh.

Whole piece smacks of amateur reductionism. It’s only by these weenie legalisms that Mike keeps going.

Here’s an example of how easy this is:
“…it’s still much more convenient to get the content by unauthorized means” — SEE? Mike doesn’t at mention that those “unauthorized means” are ILLEGAL! He favors “piracy”!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

Buying a movie is not the same as buying the copyright to a movie. But buying a movie is still purchasing a copy of the movie with all the attendant property rights that are normally entailed with ownership including perpetual usage and resale.

Buying access to a copy is closer to what UltraViolet provides.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

Just look at the prevalence of the ‘Own it today on DVD’ commercials on television, and the message is clear. ‘License it today’ just doesn’t have the same ring but they’d like you to think that’s what they really said. I sign nothing and agree to nothing when I buy it but the merchant happily takes my money – that, friends, is a sale, not a license.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

Not entirely, if it was a real sale you would be able to use that as you see fit for personal or financial gain, which you can’t, to address that issue courts ruled hilariously that when you are dealing with a physical manifestation of the work you sell the physical part but not work itself, basically meaning you are basically only just buying the container of the work but not the work itself because otherwise it would undermine copyright, which has a lot of problems in and on itself.

Really copyright should last 30 seconds than nothing in there would be a problem, who can abuse a law in 30 secs?

Computers can but there are no computers with the power to Judge anything so I don’t believe it would be a problem in the near future, maybe for future generations LoL

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

Oh stop!

Seriously, your example (by its self) has value in the conversation. You’ve proved from time to time you can make intelligent contributions to the conversation and I look forward to those comments.

Verbally assaulting Mike for giving us something to talk about is childish and displays a desire to derail the whole conversation. I would think that you would want to know what is important to the other side of the argument/discussion. At least it makes you more informed and possibly a better decision maker.

I am not the enemy. While I tend (Not always.) to disagree with the basics of the discussions held here with you, I have come to recognize that what you have to say can be important. So I watch for that.

I want to retain my basic rights and freedoms that the laws now hold for me and my children. I want content creators to get their due and I want tech to continue to innovate. (i.e. Tapes to MP3 to steaming media to digital lockers where I can put my legally obtained media, so I can use it anywhere in the world.)

I also want, obviously, content creators to continue to make content so I can enjoy it. I have proven over my lifetime that I am willing to pay a reasonable price for content that is easy to use on my devices. (Can some one please get rid of those very annoying FBI warnings!?)

End of my rant. Carry on smartly.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

everyone except Mike and a few pirates understand that one isn’t really “buying” a movie merely by downloading a file, DRM-ed or not. Sheesh.

umm… it’s Warner Bros. calling it buying – and Mike pointing out that it is not, in fact, buying.

How did you read this post and get the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it said out of it?

JackHerer (profile) says:

Re: Making a lot over "rent" / "buy", when neither apply.

The fact that they are unauthorised/illegal is irrelevant to the argument. The point being made is that the entertainment industry has such contempt for its customers that it isn’t even prepared to offer a product/service that is as good as or better than the “pirate” services. Their attitude of “we don’t care what you want you will take what you are given” is exactly the reason pirate services are popular. The sooner they realise that and offer compelling legal alternatives the better if they are going to survive.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m done “consuming” movies and music altogether, legally or illegally. This whole mess with SOPA and the studios’ asinine products like Ultraviolet has forced me into a situation where I will minimize money spent on products that goes to the bottom-line of these nazis. I will keep my home TV provider out of fairness to the GF but she is already aware that my money will not be spent on such luxuries beyond that, meaning she has to pick up the tab on any movies she wants to see in the theatres. If you are still supporting these nazis by purchasing anything they sell, then you have no right to complain about their tactics. Standup for what you believe in by not supporting companies that employ such underhanded tactics.

Anonymous Coward says:

"Lifetime warranty"

It’s just that you’re renting it on an open-ended timeline, basically until the studios bail on UltraViolet and shut down the servers.

So you’re saying this is kinda like getting a product from a company that tells you that it has a lifetime warranty. That is, the lifetime of the company– not the product…

Honestly, server-based DRM needs an expiration date: “Guaranteed good until 2014”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Lifetime warranty"

a lifetime warranty. That is, the lifetime of the company– not the product.

It’s my understanding that a “lifetime” warranty would be for the lifetime of the purchaser, not the product. If it was for the lifetime of the product, then it would be the same as no warranty at all. To wit:

“Hello, this widget I bought last week won’t turn on.”

“Hmm. You’re right, it looks dead.”

“OK then, please fix it or replace it.”

“Oh I can’t do that – it’s out of warranty!”

“What do you mean? I was told it has a lifetime warranty.”

“Oh yes – but as I said it’s dead – its lifetime is over!”

And in general, all warranties (lifetime or not) are limited by the life of the company – if the manufacturer goes out of business, who is left to honour the warranty?

Big Mook (profile) says:

This is why I hope the physical disc doesn't go away

The only way I can see anyone using UV digital copy would be if the physical disc were never available and it was the only method of getting the movie for home/personal use. The digital copy is usually going to be sub-DVD quality, and looks blurry even on a notebook, much less on my big-screen TV. Tell me why I would want to watch a blurry video that’s going to give me a headache?? I have no use for the digital copy. I guess they keep the video quality way down to save on drive space and/or bandwidth, but today with 1 and 2 TB drives common, and fat broadband available almost everywhere, I don’t see the reasoning there.

When I get a new Bluray disc (purchased legitimately or received as gift), I’m most likely going to rip it to my hard drive. That way, I get a true 1080P digital copy instead of that crappy VHS-quality digital copy that comes “free” in the bundle. My BR disc goes into storage for safekeeping. I’ve already paid for the disc and I’m using it as I see fit. I’m not putting it up on a torrent, or handing out copies to my friends. I’m just using it how I want since I paid for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

1408.iso
300.iso
30_DAYS_OF_NIGHT.iso
3_10_TO_YUMA.iso
ADJUSTMENT_BUREAU.iso
AGORA.iso
ALICE_WONDERLAND_2010.iso
AVATAR.iso
BULLETPROOF_MONK.iso
CIRQUE_DU_FREAK.iso
CLASH_OF_THE_TITANS.iso
DAYBREAKERS.iso
DOOMSDAY.iso
FROM_PARIS_WITH_LOVE.iso
G_I_JOE.iso
HAUNTED.iso
HEREAFTER.iso
INCEPTION.iso
INGLOURIOUS_BASTERDS.iso
JONAH_HEX.iso
LEGION_2010.iso
LOSERS.iso
MUTANT_CHRONICLES.iso
NINJA_ASSASSIN.iso
OUTLANDER.iso
PANDORUM.iso
PATHOLOGY.iso
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.iso
PREDATORS.iso
Quarantine 2 Terminal.iso
RED_RIDING_HOOD.iso
REPO_MEN.iso
ROBIN_HOOD.iso
SALT.iso
SHERLOCK_HOLMES_DISC_1.iso
SHUTTER_ISLAND.iso
SLEEPY_HOLLOW.iso
SOLITARY_MAN.iso
STAKE_LAND.iso
SUCKER_PUNCH.iso
TERMINATOR_SALVATION.iso
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010).iso
THE_CONTRACT.iso
THE_CRAZIES.iso
THE_FIGHTER.iso
THE_KILLER_INSIDE_ME.iso
THE_KINGS_SPEECH.iso
The Mechanic(2011).iso
THE_REAPING.iso
THE_RITE.iso
The_Sorcerers_Apprentice.iso
THE_STRANGERS.iso
THE_TOURIST.iso
THE_WALKER.iso
THE_WOLFMAN_2010.iso
THOR.iso
TRON_LEGACY.iso
TRUE_GRIT.iso
ULTRAVIOLET.iso
VANISHING_ON_7TH_STREET.iso
WANTED_2008.iso
WHITEOUT.iso
XMEN_FIRST_CLASS.iso

Anybody want to trade iso files?

When I say I don’t use cyberlockers I’m not lying, when I say I don’t use torrents I’m not lying, so unless those people can ban email, zip files, rar files, instant message apps, Facebook, etc they are screwed.

Make it pricier, make it difficult to use and a lot more people will just trade things among themselves.

The right price for their products is $0.20/month for all you can eat buffet if we are talking up to a thousand companies more than that and the price will need to drop fast.

Maybe that is what those companies really want with SOPA the power to destroy others so they don’t have to compete with anyone is not really pirates, they are in for harming other business other content producers because they believe they can’t fall from grace.

Warner just may be the one to show them, that it could happen to anyone. Ford also couldn’t believe others could produce something Americans would want they were wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

@"fogbuzd": How does this apply to, say, Microsoft?

“Do you think that Microsoft will convert to the “free” model, give away the OS and “sell scarcities”? If not — and it IS not — then why won’t DRM and enforcing copyright work for movie biz same as does for Microsoft? (And don’t try that Microsoft has a stream of new products: so does movie biz.)”

Actually, while not specifically giving away the OS, Microsoft is giving away Microsoft Office. There are also ad-supported versions of it. So Microsoft is essentially giving away for free (in two variations) their second largest product. Also, this isn’t an “old” version of Microsoft Office. No sirree, this is Microsoft Office 2010. The most current version available.

Also, this “free” model you speak of is actually incorrect. I don’t think Mike has ever advocated for “give it away and pray”. In fact, I’m pretty sure he recently said that’s a dumb idea. What he has advocated for is adding extras to entice customers. The extras can be anything and everything. From throwing in a poster and t-shirt with a cd. To a Q&A session with the director and writer of a particular movie when you see it in a specific theater. Things like that.

Of course, it’s much easier to ignore the proper answers Mike (and others) give and misquote them when you’re just trying to shoot down what they say in the first place.

JBDragon says:

Ultraviolet

What I don’t get, is why is it called UltraViolet in the first place. They are copying the name of the movie Ultraviolet!!! You know staring Milla Jovovich so it’s a little confusing. It’s not a Original Name.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0370032/

I won’t get into the whole Ultraviolet light area for example, but Naming your new Movie format after a Movie that came out in 2006 seems wrong to me. Strange? Copy Cats?

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