Hollywood Wants To Kill Piracy? No Problem: Just Offer Something Better

from the and-watch-people-go-away dept

Just John points us to a recent Reddit thread, in which a rather basic suggestion is made for how Hollywood could do a much better job killing movie piracy: by offering something better. It was summarized with the following graphic:

Or, basically, create a service that doesn’t limit people and offers them what they want, in a convenient manner, at a reasonable price. Simple. Except… that’s just not how the MPAA works. As we’ve stated many times in the past, services like Spotify have massively shrunk how much people in Sweden use The Pirate Bay for music. They now use it for other media, because no one’s really created a “Spotify for movies.” In fact, whenever the industry seems to get close to creating a good product for video — see: Hulu or Netflix — the industry then freaks out that it’s going to cannibalize their old way of doing things, and tries to make it worse. It’s why the big studios have been pulling content from both services, and trying to limit what they can provide. And that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. That’s how you encourage more piracy.

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Comments on “Hollywood Wants To Kill Piracy? No Problem: Just Offer Something Better”

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101 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

unfortunately it’s not in the interest of mpaa to offer this service. They like getting paid repeatedly for the same thing in different countries. Cinema > DVD > PPV > CABLE > Normal TV > Interent, all for different countries, then STANDARD EDITIONS, HD EDITIONS, Collectors editions, director editions, 3d editions, remakes. all for many years plus a day, until one day getting to the public domain one day. And even that may change.

Mike C. (profile) says:

Hollywood thought process

In my opinion, one of the big drivers of the Hollywood thought process is “shareholder value”. Since investors want constant growth, all Hollywood ever does is look at where things are now and try to think of ways to increase what they have currently. This means that their first thoughts on growing the business will always start with how to increase the number of units shipped, tickets sold, licenses sold, etc. Any consideration of what the consumers might actually want is so far down the list that it might as well not even BE on the list. Unfortunately, that is also why an idea like this will probably not come about until long after the big media companies are gone.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

You know how Hollywood and the music industry argues again and again that they’re under no duty to provide us their products the way we want them? Well, they’re right. They don’t.

However, imagine if a meat-space retailer operated that way. Imagine if Wal-Mart was only open a few utterly inconvenient hours per week, they had all of these “windows” (aka, timelines) for selling fresh fruit and meat, and sometimes they would simply refuse to even sell fresh fruit or meat. “Sorry, we have the steaks in the Wal-Mart vault.”

And to make the analogy complete, Wal-Mart would only barely lock their doors. Anyone could walk in anytime they wanted and take whatever they wanted.

Who would the police blame each and every time Wal-Mart called for another robbery? Wal-Mart, of course. And after a while, I’d guess the police would even stop coming.

But in the wonderful world of intellectual property, it’s never the copyright industry’s fault.

Michael says:

This is pointless

It’s pointless to make suggestions to the legacy players. They don’t care what the people want, only what they want (i.e. to control the internet). If they valued public opinion and if their actions were morally upright, they wouldn’t be drafting the TPP in secrecy. They enjoy suing people and writing bad, damaging legislation in order to encourage the ‘copyright infringement’ so that they can paint the populace as criminal and thus further their own agenda.

John Doe says:

Re:

The other thing not mentioned here very often is price. The biggest reason they are fighting the move to digital is it will ultimately lower the price. They want the controls in a misguided attempt to control the price. They are trying to create an artificial scarcity to do this.

Netflix and Redbox has dropped the price people are willing to pay. There is no way I will rent a PPV for $6 for the HD version when I can grab a DVD from Redbox for $1.20. Maybe they will make it up on volume, maybe not, but they will get dragged into the future even if it is kicking and screaming.

Just look at VCRs; I paid $400 (on sale) for my first one and by the time they went out of vogue they were $30. DVD players followed the same path. It is that path that the MPAA and RIAA are fighting. They will ultimately be drug down that path but it will be painful to watch.

bob (profile) says:

Wah. What a little baby.

I wish I could have everything on that list, but I’m afraid some of them are pretty unreasonable and incompatible with each other.

For instance, it’s hard to keep the price low and let people just gift the movies to friends. If the studio was able to break even selling a movie for $10, then it needs to charge $100 if it wants to let everyone give the movie to 10 of their friends. (And many people have 100+ friends on Facebook.) Or they have to pay 1/10th the salary to the actors, editors, camera operators etc. Or maybe they just hire 1/10th as many.

As it is, Netflix already handles most of these options and it’s not clear they’re going to be able to stay in business. They charge much too little to sustain the quality of films they offer. If they want to keep going at this price point, they either have to offer only moldy old content or start streaming cheap stuff. You can’t even make many sitcoms if you’re only going to get 20 to 30 cents per viewer.

Sorry dreamers, but reality bites.

Michael says:

Re:

“The other thing not mentioned here very often is price. The biggest reason they are fighting the move to digital is it will ultimately lower the price. They want the controls in a misguided attempt to control the price. They are trying to create an artificial scarcity to do this.”

The thing here is that it’s in their interests to keep coming up with newfangled attempts to repackage the same content over and over ad nausea. Giving the public the means to digitally replicate anything is viewed by the industry as dangerous to their business model since they prefer to keep everything under lock & key, even though people still buy their products regardless of whether or not they’re available somewhere on the internet.

To flip over to the music industry, once the new tech of CDs arrive in the 80’s, people with vinyls, cassette tapes and 8-tracks rushed out to re-purchase their old music library in the new format, much like movie shoppers did with VHS to DVD and then DVD to Blu-ray. Once they sense that their current model is beginning to hit a slag, they conjure up some newfangled method of distribution in order to lure you into purchasing the same stuff all over again. That’s their business model in a nutshell.

The cries of ‘copyright infringement’ have nothing to do with sales and everything to do with hostile corporate takeover of the internet. The internet represents a vast pool of knowledge, advertising, business and innovation, so they want to take it all for themselves, just like they have a hegemony over TV, film and radio. How to accomplish this? Call everyone a criminal, write self-empowering legislation to and bribe Washington.

dniMretsaM says:

Sadly, Big Media will never do anything this smart. They keep forcing legacy distribution methods down their customers’ throats and eventually we’re going to vomit in their faces. We want stuff fast, cheap and easy. The Internet allows for all of those. If anything is going to kill the movie industry, it won’t be piracy. It will be their own utter stupidity.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

There was at least a little bit of a start this weekend. NBC did stream the Superbowl. I tried to watch it, but it was difficult. Basically the interface was too fancy, and at the same time it did not do enough. They put the ads in a bar across the bottom after they aired, but if you clicked on an ad there was no easy or at least obvious way to get back to the game except to close the window and start it again. Which of course, mean that you had to watch the intro about how great it was again.

The guy with the glasses that kept badgering you to like them on Facebook was supremely annoying. If I could have hated him on Facebook, I would have gone for that option.

There was a meager feed of game statistics and you had a little bit of choice of camera angles. I would have liked to have seen more, but that aspect was better than what you got on TV. I did miss the opportunity to do DVD tricks like replay and pausing the feed.

Still, I will give NBC credit for at least trying. As it was, the stream was useful for people who cut the cable or who were not in a position to watch it on traditional TV.

Magicl1 says:

Let's look at another side of this.

Viewing content delivery is also hampered by “bundling”. Costs of viewing content are too high. As an example my cable bill is $80/month and I only watch 5 or 6 channels (although I have 200+ available). I am almost to the point of pulling the plug and getting my content from the web as needed.

Traditional views of the consumer are all wrong and I suspect that the legacy producers and deliverers are going to be sorry in the long run.

Joshua Bardwell (profile) says:

Wah. What a little baby.

I didn’t read it as, “gift free copies of the movie,” I read it as, “buy the movie and send it to your friend as a gift.”

As for Netflix’s costs: let’s remember that the bulk of those costs are licensing fees to studios. Netflix’s business model is more lean than any other distribution model in existence. They could make a lot more with a lot less. But the studios are fixed on bleeding them dry with licensing fees. Of course when the people you rely on to provide you with product are intent on over-charging you and driving you out of business, you’ll probably eventually go out of business. This is not an indictment of Netflix’s business model.

Michael says:

Wah. What a little baby.

“For instance, it’s hard to keep the price low and let people just gift the movies to friends. If the studio was able to break even selling a movie for $10, then it needs to charge $100 if it wants to let everyone give the movie to 10 of their friends. (And many people have 100+ friends on Facebook.) Or they have to pay 1/10th the salary to the actors, editors, camera operators etc. Or maybe they just hire 1/10th as many.”

Ah, but it’s not the public’s fault whenever Hollywood decides to pay some actor $X million and invest insane amounts of money into the production of their films. They have the right to charge whatever insane price they want to for said content but that doesn’t mean that the public has to eat it up, much less justify them as deserving to write secretive legislation in order to give themselves regulatory powers over the internet.

“As it is, Netflix already handles most of these options and it’s not clear they’re going to be able to stay in business. They charge much too little to sustain the quality of films they offer. If they want to keep going at this price point, they either have to offer only moldy old content or start streaming cheap stuff. You can’t even make many sitcoms if you’re only going to get 20 to 30 cents per viewer.”

That’s more an issue with viewership and advertising revenue. Again, you’re laying the blame for their failed business practices squarely at the doorstep of the average citizen. Why?

Anonymous Coward says:

Hollywood thought process

Correct. This is a side effect of the mentality of worrying about your quarterly results over long term profits. This is the difference between companies like Apple and Universal Music. While Apple certainly cares about quarterly results/profits, they also have an eye on what is five years down the road.

Wayne Gretzky summed it perfectly: “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be”

The only difference is Hollywood is sitting in the stands, so they are neither a good player or a great player :-/

Torg (profile) says:

Wah. What a little baby.

I take it you’ve never used Steam. I can’t give free copies of games I’ve bought to friends. What I can do is buy the game and send it to my friend’s account instead of mine. It’s a very simple and apparently popular system. Gifts and free redistribution are two different things.
Another advantage the Steam-for-movies concept has over Netflix is that it makes more than a couple dimes per viewer. As in, people pay for each item instead of just buying a subscription. This only works, however, if the service is as accessible as Netflix, meaning it’s on everything that can play video. And it doesn’t even need to charge what retail does to make the producers more money per sale. Steam provides 70% of purchase price to the content creators, as opposed to 30% at retail, so selling at anything more than half the price of retail means the company makes more money than if they sell a box.
Actually most of that is just what Steam does but with the word “games” replaced with “movies”. So the business model has been proven to work.
Sorry, cynics, but reality’s actually kinda cool sometimes.

Mike C. (profile) says:

Re:

Actually, I don’t think there is as big of a rush to Blu-Ray as you think or Hollywood had hoped. The rush from cassette/vinyl to CD and VHS to DVD was largely driven by consumers seeing an obvious increase in the quality of the new media. CD’s were seen as more durable, usable in more devices, not prone to getting “eaten” and best of all, no rewinding. Similar things could be said about DVDs.

With Blu-Ray (and HD-DVD when it was around), the only thing you got was HD vs SD and more content on one disc. In return, you got a significantly more expensive copy with annoying DRM that meant it was possible your new Blu-Ray player wouldn’t work with your 2 year old TV. Many people also looked at the effort as an attempt to get people to re-purchase their libraries and now, any future media format shift will either have to have a significant increase in benefits OR, be cheap enough that re-purchasing a library is worth it. Given Hollywood’s love of money, neither is likely to happen.

Michael says:

Re:

“With Blu-Ray (and HD-DVD when it was around), the only thing you got was HD vs SD and more content on one disc. In return, you got a significantly more expensive copy with annoying DRM that meant it was possible your new Blu-Ray player wouldn’t work with your 2 year old TV. Many people also looked at the effort as an attempt to get people to re-purchase their libraries and now, any future media format shift will either have to have a significant increase in benefits OR, be cheap enough that re-purchasing a library is worth it. Given Hollywood’s love of money, neither is likely to happen.”

Yes, that’s all true, but it was more a case of them shooting themselves in the foot than the public’s unwillingness to purchase. They made the transition from DVD to Blu-ray far too quickly and put a hamper on convenience by incorporating DRM.

Hollywood still brings in record profits. If the internet was to spell their doom, it should’ve already happened long ago. And even if it were true that the internet really was causing them to lose business, maybe they should consider changing their business model to adapt to the changing market rather than force the changing market to fix itself to their antiquated business model.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re:

They won’t be happy until the only content on the internet are things that have been licensed and paid for. After all, they’re content companies, and they can’t put anything on the internet without licensing and paying for it first. From their point of view it isn’t fair unless everyone follows the same rules they do, and it’s pretty easy to convince Washington that it isn’t fair too.

Another reason we won’t see a Steam-like service is they know people pay far more for cable than what they actually watch. That how cable TV can be filled up with hours and hours of nothing, and why they’ve avoided offering a la carte cable. If people only pay for what they watch, they really will be hurting (meaning those hours and hours of garbage on a hundred different cable channels will go away).

Anonymous Coward says:

Wah. What a little baby.

I’m going to just point this out to you Big Idiot bob because obviously you’ve never used Steam. Ever. In your life. Or know anyone who has.

By “gift” a movie to their friends, assuming for a moment we’re thinking of this as the “Steam” version of movies. By “gift”, it means “pay for”. As in I “gift” (pay for) a movie on behalf of my friend and then send “it” (usually a redeem code) to them through the service, which they then use at their convenience to “redeem” the “gift”. (Aka, get the movie that I paid for on their behalf.)

Seriously, get a clue before you speak. You really do your side a disservice by showing such blatant or convenient cluelessness.

As for the “as it is, Netflix already handles most of these options. Let’s just look into that, shall we? For your sake, because of how aware you seem to be on everything you say (or better said how NOT aware you seem to NOT be on everything).

There are no daily/weekly/seasonal sales.

There is DRM (but of the Steam variety, so in this case, I’ll say okay “Netflix does do this”).

There are NO special features that you’d normally get if you purchased a physical copy.

There is box art, that you can view on the service, not download and save.

The application is available on a variety of devices, but again, it is limited. There are deal in place to prevent it’s use on quite a few devices.

The “gifting” thing, see what I already said.

You DO NOT buy movies/shows on Netflix, you merely rent them. For a time.

There is no access to movies before they hit traditional store shelves.

You cannot burn the movies/shows to bluray/dvd. At all.

There are no collections of films or whatnot. There are you know, styles and whatnot you can peruse. But collections, nope.

As for “and it’s not clear they’re going to be able to stay in business. They charge much too little to sustain the quality of films they offer. If they want to keep going at this price point, they either have to offer only moldy old content or start streaming cheap stuff. You can’t even make many sitcoms if you’re only going to get 20 to 30 cents per viewer.”

Well, let’s take a look at that. Netflix was doing great for quite some time. In fact, it was seen as “likely to fail” by the studios, which is why Netflix was reaping the benefit. Their customers got what they wanted, and Netflix got to make deals at bottom level prices. However, once the studios realized Netflix was doing all the work and raking in the cash and that people loved it, they got greedy. They started jacking up their rates, trying to renegotiate deals (which were detrimental if not completely unrealistic/reasonable), etc. So Netflix was forced to comply on some of the “request” (aka demands) made by the studios in order to keep receiving content (and even then, they lost quite a bit). At which point, they were forced to turn those cost onto their customers. Cost which became ridiculous compared to before and thus drove away a large percentage of customers. So yeah, it looks like Netflix might not be able to stay in business… but it’s not because of Netflix’s own doing. It’s because of the studios and the greed of those who run them and their unwillingness to negotiate/be reasonable in any way, shape or form.

But by all means bob, call us “little babies”. It’s a hoot. With no effort whatsoever, I have dismantled and explained on a point by point basis just about everything you said. This has been fun.

DanZee (profile) says:

Free Movies

Since Netflix and Amazon already stream movies, why don’t the movie studios do it themselves? Make you watch 6 minutes of ads, like they do in the movie theaters, and you get to see any movie you want for free! If the studios charged $1 per 30-second ad, each ad could generate $12 for the studio, which is probably what they make from a DVD. It would kill piracy’s advantage overnight!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“They made the transition from DVD to Blu-ray far too quickly and put a hamper on convenience by incorporating DRM.”

While I agree to a point, that’s not really the full story. Yes, by removing DRM and region coding, they may have gained more sales. A more naturally increased level of interest in the format might have happened if more people has HD TVs earlier in its lifespan (though we still had the format war before Blu even became a standard).

But, the fact is likely that the format was never really had a chance of becoming as mainstream as DVD in the first place. Blu only has a couple of advantages over DVD (mainly audio/video quality) that are frankly irrelevant to a large number of consumers. DVD has a huge number of advantages over VHS, ranging from being relatively cheap and durable (ever hear of a DVD player tearing up a DVD?), easy to transport (enabling Netflix and Amazon to build a customer base with far lower distribution costs than VHS) to extra features and so on. If you don’t care about the better image quality – and most people, especially those with smaller TVs don’t – then Blu is not worth the upgrade. It has its place, but it was never going to be a mass market replacement in the same way as DVD was for VHS.

What’s likely to drive new consumers is range and convenience – i.e. digital. It’s time they stopped fighting market forces and embraced them like they were forced to in the past.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wah. What a little baby.

You mean sitcoms like Friends? Where the actors were each paid $1 Million per episode?

This is another thing about the media industry: we often speak of the insane profits of the publishers, but actors get paid plenty of money and I just don’t see how to justify it.
Sure, actors have talent, but it’s their job. A lot a people are really good at their job and don’t get the same salary.

The only way I see to justify these salaries is that the public is more than willing to pay $60 for a full season on DVD. And sure, if people are willing to give you the money, then you deserve it. But people are *not* willing to pay that much. Most people think it’s too expensive, and for every person who buys a DVD there are 10 who refrain from buying because of the price.

In all the “publishers steal the artist’s money” rhetoric we rarely discuss those artists who make millions when they don’t deserve to.

The media industry, from publishers to artists, is built on people who think they deserve millions for their product, no matter what value the public (i.e. the market) thinks their product has. These people could pee in a cup and they’d think they deserve a million dollars for it.

It’s pointless to argue about lowering prices when the industry thinks their worst music or film is worth gold and diamonds.
We need to attack the media industry at the very roots: we must reopen the debate on the actual value of their “art”. We need to ask if it has value at all. We need to make everyone aware that in fact, the media industry’s “art” is complete garbage compared to actual art.
You wouldn’t pay a bad quality Chinese toy gun the same price you’d pay for a Nerf gun, and you have no trouble understanding why Nerf guns are worth more. But nobody seems to question what Big Media is worth, everyone seems to have accepted for no apparent reason that a DVD is worth at least 10 bucks. Well we should question that and unmask the media industry for the cheap Chinese toy manufacturers that they are.

Prisoner 201 says:

I’d buy a ton of movies with an app like that. I buy tons of games on Steam, so many that I don’t have time to play them all.

If they did this, and put the price seemingly suicidally low, they would drown in cash from sheer volume of purchases.

Of course, BluRay retailers would be pissed, and anyway they probably have 75 year contracts with cable networks they can’t break out of.

Anonymous Coward says:

i agree with the majority of suggestings, but i’d also add a cheap monthly non locked down subscription, for those who like to consume a lot of content, it wouldnt be to feasible too buy the content individually unless we’re talking peanuts here, but with their history………

I like the feeling that you dont have to worry about you’re finances. Monthly sub means you can watch/download as much as you want without worrying what your finances are gonna look like at the end of the month

Piracy, say what you will, offers peace of mind in regards to people’s finance’s, which is a big fucking deal, to the people, we think about our savings just as much as corporations think about their profit

Profit driven companies will keep refusing to acknowledge that, with their, “its only you’re money, until its ours” mentality

To corporations i say this

If you dont care that we buy from many many companies other then you’re own, and price accordingly, then sure, continue with you’re outdated business model, continue to bleed us dry, to bolster as much profit from us as you can get away with

But………..
The first company who wises up to that, and starts to implement a new business model that the internet is just waiting to provide………….well, not’s let beat around the bush shall we, you’re gonna try and take em out………..but they’ll have the people behind them

Megaupload has shown us the lengths you’re willing to go to, you got us by surprise, but you slipped up, by showing you’re lengths in a world that is so interconnected, i guess we surprised you to, with this good ol’ internet thingy me jick,
where in the past it was a a few torchlights, now you have a global size spotlight on you’re comings and going’s

The internet is the last place thats not government or corporately controled, the last refuge for the TRUTH FOR THE SAKE OF THE TRUTH

To whoever it may concern
Please dont mess with the internet, but if and when you do, remember, we did ask first

Rant over, i do apologise

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re:

Exactly right.

“If you don’t care about the better image quality – and most people, especially those with smaller TVs don’t – then Blu is not worth the upgrade.”

This, especially. I have long wondered why they keep touting improved audio/visual quality as if it were a strong selling point. Sure, it’s better, but it’s not as much better as the DVD was over videotape. It’s the type of improvement that only videophiles care about. For most people, DVD is very much good enough. I wonder if it’s because the industry is filled with videophiles and don’t understand that most people don’t care very much about image quality as long as its above a minimum threshold. Which DVDs are.

Improved image quality is, really, the only thing that makes Blu-ray better than DVD. And Blu-ray brings a lot of additional downsides.

I used to think that Blu-ray would eventually be the dominant video medium simply because eventually DVDs would no longer be produced. But with the rise of streaming, I think that Blu-ray will not catch on in the way that VHS or DVD has — it will have a relatively short lifespan as a videophile product until HD streaming becomes common.

MAJikMARCer (profile) says:

Re:

I love the quality of Blu-Ray but the constant firmware updates, slow load times and some disks simply not working in my player is part of what is preventing me from moving over to Blu-Ray.

I don’t have a huge collection of DVDs, but the thought of purchasing all the Blu-Ray versions just isn’t appealing enough.

That said, downloading BR quality movies is a time consuming process and as Netflix streaming has proven, not everyone feels the need to have the best AV experience available.

So people will stick to DVDs and streaming, it’s good enough.

Thomas (profile) says:

Hollywood Enabled tv

Why can’t I just get a tv that has a shiny, metallic, embossed sticker on it that says “Hollywood Enabled”? It basically would be like Netflix, Steam, and Xfinity mixed together. I would pay my normal ticket fee with a click of the button and “UnderWorld Awakening” would play on the day it is released. I use that film as an example because it is a movie I want to see, but it is also a movie I don’t feel like allocating time out of my day to go to the theater to see. It’s a win/win situation for Hollyweird! They get ticket sales from people who wouldn’t normally have even seen the movie! Of course, that brings me to the oft overlooked evil in the Hollywood situation-the movie theaters. They are just as bad with their stagnant, out of date methods and whining.

Loki says:

Re:

I agree. Even though I don’t have the same level of disposable income I did 15 years ago, I think convenience is a LOT more important than price. In addition to spending a great deal of time online (so much so I don’t even own a TV right now, and if I did, my computer would be hooked up to it), I am about to move for the 11th time in the past 8 years. I used to pride myself on displaying my entertainment collection, but lugging around 500+ DVDs, 1,500+ CDS, and 1,000+ books in several dozen boxes once or twice a year is getting to be more of a hassle than it is worth when I can store all that one a few devices I can carry in my pockets.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Re:

Who would the police blame each and every time Wal-Mart called for another robbery? Wal-Mart, of course.

Unless your police force was ICE… then the customer would be wrong, 150% of the time. (Additional 50% is for the people that would be arrested without Walmart making an actual claim, and even then that number might be grossly underestimated.)

Overcast (profile) says:

Broadcast TV and Radio have survived for quite some time – serving up content to consumers for ‘free’. Sure, there are advertisements, but there are on Google/Facebook too and people use them like nuts.

People are well aware that any media now can be duplicated with pretty much no effort as many times as you want with no loss of quality.

So they need a new business model or they will loose – simple as that. Even if they could somehow mystically stop piracy via the web, it won’t change much of anything, people still know that $15.00 for a DVD or a digital download is a rip-off, plain and simple.

I block torrent at home now – I don’t get any thing free from torrent, but yet I haven’t bought anymore movies than I would have if I could download anything I want for free. See – many movies are *barely* worth the time to even freely download, and many I just haven’t seen.

I don’t buy movies or music that I haven’t sampled yet first, at least in 98% of cases. How many of you own movies or music and just bought it without seeing it or hearing it first? Usually the only time I’ll do that is if I really like a specific artist, even then it’s quite rare. Usually I’m prompted to buy a physical disc ****AFTER**** I am familiar with what’s on it – like anyone with common sense.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re:

Yesterday I was at my mother’s house with my kids. They wanted to watch Over the Hedge and my mom put it on for them. I came into the room about 30 minutes in and sat down and was looking at it. I thought the image quality was pretty nice and asked my mom if it was a Bluray disk. She said it wasn’t. I just sat there and thought to myself, “Why do we need Bluray again?”

She was watching it one a 42″ HD TV with a Bluray player that upscaled DVDs. If that is all it takes to get great video quality for the masses, why do we need a new format rather than just a bunch of upscaling DVD players?

DannyB (profile) says:

Oh, noes! Veriaon, Redbox team up to build video streaming

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2012/02/verizon-redbox-team-up-to-build-video-streaming-dvd-service.ars

How can the MPAA stop this evil piracy!

Quick! Help me Chris Dodd, you’re my only hope!

The danger of people being to watch a movie they want (not what you want to force them to watch), when they want (not when you want), and where they want (not in a stupid “theater”) is looming! You’ve got to stop this insidious monster.

ChrisB says:

Let's look at another side of this.

> almost to the point of pulling the plug

Did this last month. Got sick of paying for all channels while I only watched HD ones. Hated HATED the way the guide on my DVR got the shows wrong. Go to watch Poker and I’m watching Lacrosse. Totally unacceptable. Now all we have is Netflix, Hulu, and the occasional d/l to get things that aren’t available. It has almost killed my d/l’ing. It is just so much more convenient to fire up Netflix.

I’m proof that infringement is a service problem. Oh, and I have a huge bluray/video game collection and go to the theatre all the time, before anyone assumes I’m living in my mom’s basement.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Wah. What a little baby.

Bob…its a Steam clone that’s being described in the article, and I for one would jump ship over to it the minute it opened.
Steam has posted record profits every year since its inception. Its offered everything a gamer could want and then some. It puts low prices on games and still manages to make a profit (would you take $50 from ten customers or $5 from a hundred customers? The amount taken is the same here, but the second option gives you a lot more repeat customers).

So…tell me. Why can’t there be a Steam clone for video? They’ll just have to adopt the same practices as Steam itself, avoid whatever mistakes its made, and voila, everybody’s happy!

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re:

“Broadcast TV and Radio have survived for quite some time – serving up content to consumers for ‘free’. Sure, there are advertisements, but there are on Google/Facebook too and people use them like nuts”

Yeah, true, but an advertising model without some kind of “pay to get rid of the ads” option would make me very sad.

One of the major reasons I do not watch TV or listen to commercial radio is that I couldn’t stand the ads anymore. I use an adblocker with my web browser to avoid them (and when sites I frequent have an option to pay, I do so.)

I know full well that I’m in the minority on my allergy to ads. I simply detest them. However, I also know full well that I’m not alone. Having an ad-supported-only model is, for me, the same as not making the product available.

Derrick says:

Wah. What a little baby.

By “gift it to a friend”, I’m assuming the author meant “buy a copy for a friend”, the way you can with games on Steam, not “buy a copy and give it away to ten people.” This feature list isn’t especially unrealistic, if you understand what each item means, which you apparently don’t. You can already do all of this with games (except they still have DRM).

Torg (profile) says:

Wah. What a little baby.

I have used iTunes. I hate it. I see no reason that it should by default put purchased shows on either all or none of my devices. Ten percent of my laptop’s hard drive is wasted on storing data that I don’t want deleted from my iPad when it synchronizes. It would be better if my purchases could be watched on anything except iTunes, but apparently preferring Media Player Classic means I want to steal a show I’ve already bought.
I have also used Netflix. I had no idea that it allowed me to send purchases to other Netflix users, since it seems to run counter to the idea that you don’t purchase things on Netflix. It also doesn’t meet a number of other criteria that are listed in the article, such as having everything available online.
I haven’t used Amazon. Perhaps that was an oversight.
This is not a list of things that Hollywood has never allowed ever, though. It says at the top that it’s a recipe. Like any recipe, the presence of most of the ingredients does not mean that complaining about the product is unreasonable. You can’t mix water and flour and call it a cake just because you don’t want to add eggs. All the components are necessary. Anything less is half-baked.

JMT says:

Re:

I love watching free-to-air HD content on TV. My 46″ screen and 8-foot viewing distance make HD look noticeably better than both DVD and SD broadcast TV. I often record HD movies that I own on DVD, simply because I enjoy watching them in a higher resolution.

I would much prefer to watch HD movies, but I haven?t bought a Blu-ray player even though they are now easily affordable for two main reasons. Firstly, I?m completely turned off by the DRM issues and unskippable content, and secondly because like a lot of people I simply buy a lot less shiny plastic discs than I used to.

When my 7yo DVD player dies, I might replace it with a Blu-ray player simply because they?re so cheap now, or I might just save that money and use my Xbox 360 for watching DVD?s.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wah. What a little baby.

bob you have to read the article and understand what it says without making assumptions on your own. Nowhere in the article does it say “Hollywood won’t allow” this or that. It just says that’s not how they work, history has shown that. You keep bringing up Netflix, Amazon and iTunes as examples. Failing to respond to the comments above which point out exactly what isn’t allowed or done by Netflix. The same goes for Amazon. iTunes to an extent.

In fact, the only thing they do allow and I doubt it’s in the same manner as meant in the article/picture above is “gifting”. If by gifting you mean purchase a gift card that can be used by someone else, then yes, they allow “gifting”. But as a Netflix user, I can state with certainty that I am NOT allowed to “gift” anything to another Netflix user.

You might feel perfectly okay assuming what someone meant, but that doesn’t mean you’re assuming correctly or are even right. And no one at all who read the article and has any idea how Netflix or Steam operates would EVER say/mean “give copies to friends without paying”. This is exactly how Steam DOES NOT operate. You pay for the gift, then give a redemption code to others. Emphasis on PAY FOR THE GIFT.

Stop putting your own misguided/biased spin on things. People are being abundantly clear in what they’re saying/meaning in this article. Here’s a hint. Use the internet to go to Netflix, sign up for an account. See what you can actually do or not do. Then repeat that process for Steam.

You’ll find you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried.

mischab1 says:

Re:

That is disingenous at best. Selling at a loss means the act of selling costs you more than not selling. Companies do it all the time, it is called a loss-leader. On the digital side, it is next to impossible to sell at a loss given that creating a new copy is essentially free.

Whether or not you make a profit is a separate matter and depends completely on how many people purchase at the price you are selling for. If party A sells their movie for $50 and only 100 people buy it while party B sells their movie for 25 cents to 92,488 people, who is really losing?

(For the latter number I randomly picked my favorite youtube channel’s 50th most watched episode. If he was selling his shows for 25 cents each, I’d buy them.)

SuperiorAnonymousCoward says:

Hollywood, MPAA, RIAA, etc can go eff themselves. I going to get what I want for free for as long as I can and when that easy method ends I’ll go back to my old ones. Also I hate all hollywood produced sh1t.
1. I’m a jealous asshole who wants to get intimate with the famous ladies but I know that won’t happen legally.
2. Except Rush Hour/2/3, the first Harold & Kumar, and some other movies that I can’t remember that tom cruise/angelina jolie hasn’t molested almost everything made by hollywood is sh1t to me, also basic tv/cable/satellite. Anime all the way.

Rekrul says:

If the movies would be DRM free, I don’t see why a Steam-like application is needed in the first place.

Requiring a specific application limits the potential customers to those who use the supported operating systems. All the purchasing options could just as easily be done through a standard web site accessible by anyone who can use a web browser.

Then again, I suppose all the technically clueless would be at a complete loss as to how to actually keep track of their files if they didn’t have some kind of library program to hold their hand and babysit them. I mean, finding and clicking on files is just sooo hard without a program to automatically show you a list…

Just John (profile) says:

Re:

Think you basically have the point.

While I am very adept at the engineering level and can do many things that would leave many people wondering how I did that (Thank you Google for letting me find those in depth tech blogs so I can do those things=P), remember most people want simplicity.

Even some of us, like me, would like to have a simpler system. Single login, don’t need to try to remember every different website and every different user name/password (In case you are like me and have a common name like John, which is taken on pretty much every sign in website…).

When I want to set up my home server, I do research, evaluation, participation in Q&A, whatever I need, and suffer through the headaches (And please understand, I love doing things like that, even though I want to throw computers out the window periodically). When I want to watch a movie, I do not want to spend a great amount of time trying to figure out how to use different services. I do not want to waste my time trying to figure out how to login, how to navigate this companies website for the first time, or waiting for my password reset to be sent to my email because I forgot what my password was on this website.

I think examples like these are the exact reason why a common portal can be great. But, again, to each their own.

Al Bert (profile) says:

talking to the wall

1: They don’t care about anything but striking deals. Your position as a ‘valued customer’ is a farce. They value nothing about their relationship with you.

2: Their ideal business model does not rely on an exchange of valuable goods/services for money. Their goal is a unilateral, unbounded growth in their returns. The existence of a product is merely a ruse.

3: Having ‘sales’ would defeat all they’ve attempted in the pursuit of higher returns on lower volume via artifical scarcity.

4: Again, choice and post-sale value erodes the functionality of an artifical scarcity.

and on
and on

These people cannot be reasoned with. The only thing you can do is conquer them.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“why do we need a new format rather than just a bunch of upscaling DVD players?”

This is really where the argument becomes another audiophile argument where people who can notice the differences and care about them will wax lyrical about how inferior MP3s are to FLAC or vinyl.

Yeah, if you have the equipment and you notice the difference (as Mr. Knight above apparently didn’t), then the argument might matter, perhaps even be a vital issue. Otherwise, people simply don’t care, and thus it’s a weak basis for trying to sell a new format…

Michael Rivero (profile) says:

The reason Hollywood is dying...

I want to share a personal story of how this digital rights management nightmare, designed by lawyers utterly clueless about computers and the real world, encourages piracy.

I have a new computer, purchased recently when my older computer succumbed to planned obsolescence. This new machine is less than a year old. It has a blur-ray capable drive in it, so I decided I wanted a blu-ray player application to watch an occasional movie while I work. I purchased a professional blu-ray application from a company which presumably licenses all the correct technologies. The blu-ray disk I used to test the player is “Avatar”, again store bought, totally in compliance, etc. Also very expensive.

But the disk would not play.

I run the special tool that came with the blu-ray player to validate the system and it turns out that there is a new security protocol that has been ordered by the lawyers to make sure that the blu-ray application is playing to a monitor and not to a recording device, and this security protocol has to be implemented in the graphics card. The card is less than a year old and I am being told it is already obsolete in the eyes of the lawyers.

Now, I have to upgrade the card anyway to add a second monitor so I make certain the new card has this special protocol in it.

Again the disk will not play. Again I run the special tool that came with the blu-ray player to validate the system and it turns out that the new security protocol that has been ordered by the lawyers to make sure that the blu-ray application is playing to a monitor and not to a recording device ALSO must be implemented in the monitor as well as the graphics card. Both monitors are less that a year old; one just came home from the store with the upgraded graphics card and it still does not have this special protocol to play the blu-ray disks. So, between the software and the upgraded card, I am down about $130 and several hours and have already forgotten why I wanted to watch the movie in the first place. I think it had something to do with relaxing, but relaxation is now a distant memory.

In about 5 minutes of web searching I find a pirate blu-ray player that plays avatar with the press of s single button. Now, to be honest, I did not keep the pirate player. I wound up deleting all the blu-ray code on my machine and giving the Avatar disk to a neighbor and will not bother wasting any more money and time on trying to watch Hollywood movies until the process is made user friendly rather than lawyer approved. And until Hollywood starts listening to the audience more than to the lawyers, it is doomed.

Wyrd says:

Let's look at another side of this.

80 dollars a month can buy a LOT of internet content.

Cut the cable. Stop funding the people who supported SOPA and PIPA by not paying your cable bill.

I stopped paying for cable a decade ago. I don’t miss it since I can go to my buddies house to watch the games and if i want to watch a show or movie, there are more choices online than on TV.

Hint: Hook your computer up to your TV. you can’t even tell the difference when you watch the show. Except for the lack of Commercials!

Rekrul says:

Re:

For myself, I use a dual-pane file manager. I know where all my files are stored because I created the directories myself. For the stuff I’ve burned to disc, I have a master list that tells me what number disc a file is on.

Frankly, I’ve always hated software like Kodak’s Easyshare program, which tries to make everything abstract. You work with photos, not photo files. It doesn’t show where they’re located on the drive, how big they are, etc. As soon as I found out that I could plug the camera or memory card in directly and just access the files, I deleted Easyshare and never looked back.

It’s this unfamiliarity with the actual files that leads to users having three copies of every digital photo on their system.

Torg (profile) says:

Re:

I’m very picky about where all the files on my computer go too. Directly manipulating picture files is much easier for me than using a photo manager.

Video games are not photos. They are bigger and clunkier. All using Steam means is that I only have to go a couple folders deeper to get to my purchases, and in return I get a much more streamlined purchase, installation, and file transfer process (Steam cloud: saved games show up on all your machines; best service ever). The installation is a lot more streamlined from the machine’s perspective too, as since the game files are put directly in the program’s folder you don’t need to bother with all that confirmation or unpacking nonsense. I doubt I’d appreciate that last bit as much with video files, but with games it’s awesome, and means I don’t have to bother with my hard drive having three copies of the same game on it as it sorts out the installation.

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