To Boost Its New Crappy DRM, Hollywood Tries Giving Away Free Movies
from the free-sometimes-isn't-worth-the-cost dept
We’re always told that the reason there’s so much piracy out there is because “people just want stuff for free.” This isn’t actually supported by the facts, because we see people pay when they can get things for free all the time. And, similarly, we know that those who often get the most free stuff, also buy more. In other words, price may be one component of why people buy — and free may be an appealing price — but it is hardly the only component in how people make their decisions on obtaining content. One of the key issues, for many, is the freedom and or convenience in how they can make use of said content — an area where DRM solutions take away value from the end-user (which, by definition, lowers the price that the average person is willing to pay).
Given all that, there’s something rather amusing about Hollywood’s new pitch for its Ultraviolet platform. As you may recall, this is the kinder, gentler DRM for video content that the industry has been pushing. It does let you watch content on multiple devices (within limits), but it’s still DRM. And, as such, it’s no surprise that the reception to UltraViolet has been somewhat lukewarm.
In order to deal with that, the movie studios are trying something different: giving away free movies. Yes, there’s something somewhat bizarre about Hollywood using “free” movies as the incentive to get people to buy into their Ultraviolet DRM, which is meant to get them away from the “free” movies they were getting through unauthorized means. While it may attract a few people, it seems likely that the industry is going to (once again) discover the point that many of us have been making for ages. It’s not just about free. If free comes with massive strings — such as annoying DRM — it’s just not going to attract that many people. If they were strategic thinkers, perhaps they’d finally realize that it’s not just about free, but about the overall package, and then maybe they’d stop making the overall package so annoying all in an effort to stop some people from accessing the same content… for free.