by Mike Masnick

Dan Glickman's Big Plan? Beg People Not To Tape Movies

from the yah,-that'll-work dept

Hollywood does have a reputation for lacking in creativity at times, so it shouldn't be any surprise that Dan Glickman is looking like something of a badly thought out sequel to Jack Valenti as the head of the MPAA. A short article discussing his plans to "save" the movie industry from "a potential dagger poised at the heart of the motion picture industry" (what he calls "piracy") suggests he really has no plan at all, other than to focus on "informing the thieves it's not a victimless crime." Problem number one is the fact that he automatically assumes these people are "thieves" when that's not the case at all. It's hard to come up with creative solutions when you set yourself up with the wrong assumptions. Meanwhile, the article also quotes a movie theater owner suggesting there's simply nothing that can be done to stop people from going into the theaters and taping movies. Again, the lack of creativity is showing through. There are a ton of things that can be done. For example, some have suggested releasing DVDs at the same time movies show up in the theater. That would certainly take away a lot of the incentive. More importantly, however, is the fact that Glickman and these theater owners seem completely blind to the fact that movie going is a social experience. The reason people are willing to go out to the theater and spend $10 per person on a movie and more on insanely overpriced food is that it's part of the experience of "going out to the movies." If they focused on making that experience better and more enjoyable, people would do it more often, and would sometimes prefer that over watching a movie at home. While the industry frames it as a problem of technology and "thieves" it's really just a marketing problem on the industry's side.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Danno, 21 Mar 2005 @ 12:30pm


    Especially with the increasing prevalance of giganto-sized home theatre, the impetus to go out to the cinema is becoming smaller and smaller. The only experience left to speak of that the theaters will be able to hold on to is overpriced food and sticky floors.

    Serious film buffs will still go to movie theaters to see movies, but your average person isn't a film buff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      loraan, 25 Mar 2005 @ 10:14am

      Re: Disagree

      I disagree with your disagreement ;-)

      With $5,000 today, one can purchase a home theater setup that beats the pants off of a movie theater picture in every respect except picture size. Movie theater pictures are okay, but not great, especially once the film starts to wear out after a few weeks of use.

      Audio seems like less of a cut-and-dried case to me. Theater speakers are loud, but they're not known for being particularly accurate, and you can get much higher bass levels in your home than in a theater, simply because you've got a smaller room. At the same time, it takes lots of work to eliminate reverberations in a home theater, whereas there, a movie theater's large room works to its advantage.

      I submit that, as home theater technology continues to get less expensive, serious film buffs will just buy their own equipment and watch whatever they want, instead of fighting their way to the theater to watch whatever crap hollywood happens to decide to spoon-feed them this week.

      For reference, my price example breaks down as follows: $2k for a 55-60" CRT rear-projection television; $1k to $1.5k for a receiver; $1k to $1.5k for speakers and a sub. If we extend the price point up to about $7,000, one can purchase a newer display technology, such as a DLP or LCD-rear-projection television, or a projector (which pushes screen sizes into the 70-inch to 100-inch range). Not everybody has this kind of money to spend on a home theater, but lots do, and prices will only come down.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Permanent4, 21 Mar 2005 @ 12:34pm

    Two different problems.

    If the problem is with the experience of going to the cineplex to catch a movie, doesn't the onus for that fall on the theater owners rather than the MPAA? How much control could Glickman really have over dozens of dodecaplex chains?

    On the other hand, perhaps it's a problem of negative vs. positive reinforcement. Instead of "Don't steal movies," maybe the MPAA could adopt the slogan, "It's better on the big screen." Then, it's not about just the downloading, but the "whole experience" that so many still claim to love.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      jeremiah, 21 Mar 2005 @ 2:06pm

      Re: Two different problems.

      Permanent said "dodecaplex." New word for the day.

      Maybe if the plex's abandoned the despised "2wenty", people would feel less cheated, and perhaps less inclined to obtain media illegally.

      I don't condone the breaking of the law to obtain one's favorite films/music/fur, etc, but I will concede the onus is certainly on the industry (producers, distributors and exhibitors alike) to be aware of their market (rather than trying to mold it) and provide the products/services that people will pay for.

      A momentary aside re: DVD's @ the theaters: The greatest hurdle this idea faces is simply one of capital: distrubutors are used to having a period of time between paying for film prints (**INCREDIBLY** expensive) and paying for DVD fabrication/distro. To demand that both a print and DVD are available simultaneously places a large capital burden on distributors.

      I think this approach (while probably inevitable) may have some unintended consequences. For instance, I could easily forsee the reciept period (the period of time before filmmakers see royalties) extending greatly, which would impact indie producers and smaller studios. It would also shorten the shelf life of movies, as the window of time for sales (now measured in years) could be shortened to weeks, required MASSIVE marketing campaigns in an effort to recoup costs during shorter sales cycles.

      Did any of that make sense?!!?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ross, 21 Mar 2005 @ 2:51pm

    Movie-going experience

    I think what would also help would be making more movies that don't completely suck. That would be a great boost in getting me into the theater. If my wife and I go, that's at least 20 bucks, plus overpriced snacks, squeaky seats, sticky floors - and then the bad dialogue kicks in.

    Now is the time to completely alter the movie going experience. If not, you will see even more people staying at home, downloading a movie in some kind of iTunes movie equivalent kind of way, and enjoying it on their home-theater system that rivals anything in a theater setting. Cheaper. Better Seats. And no sticky floors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daranthalis, 22 Mar 2005 @ 5:49am

    No Subject Given

    My family and I have almost completely stopped going out to movies altogether. Price and convenience were certainly issues, but even with nice new theaters, the final deciding factor was the 'hacked apart' quality of theatric releases vs DVD releases.

    Why pay $20 plus to see a movie once, when I can wait a couple of months and see a *better* version of the movie, as often as I want, for less money? Why go to a theater and see the rushed cut version when the DVD version will have scenes not included in the original release?

    Just two examples are LOTR and Chronicles of Riddick. LOTR had *55* more minutes in the DVD version, and Chronicles of Riddick actually made sense in the DVD version. So what is a theater offering me, again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      A non-movie theater person, 22 Mar 2005 @ 10:29am

      What are yopu paying for ?

      Yeah, what is the theater offering me in exchange for my 10 bucks ?

      Sticky floors ?
      Over-priced stale food ?
      Advertisements ?
      Cell phone abusers ?
      Uncomfortable seats ?
      Blabbermouths ?
      No pause or rewind ?

      I'm surprised anyone goes to the movies anymore. Why should I go to the movies when I can buy the DVD for less than the price of two tickets, watch it when I want, how I want over & over again if I choose ?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pete Austin, 22 Mar 2005 @ 11:30am

    Stop delayed releases

    Delayed TV releases seems to increase piracy, so it would not be surprising if the same was true of movies.

    For example "The UK leads the world in downloading television programmes ... The most popular programmes are hit series that air in the US months before they reach screens overseas."

    A single release date for each movie, on all formats and in all countries, would give people a legal alternative to piracy. The news media can do it, so why not "film" companies?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 24 Jan 2009 @ 11:13am

    Movies aren't the same as they used to be. There used to be some creativity that went into making movies. Now it's all about special effects and no plot. Movie producers need to get back to the art of telling stories. Until they do that movies will continue on their downward slide into oblivion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.