Better Ways To Deal With File Sharing Sites

from the negotiating-is-just-a-step dept

There's an interesting article over at TorrentFreak about how the movie industry in Georgia (the country, not the state) has been negotiating and making deals with various file sharing sites, since there aren't really laws against such sites in the country. The studios are often able to delay movies from appearing on those sites until a few weeks after they hit the theaters by "negotiating" agreements with the sites. Of course, it's expected that the laws will eventually change in favor of the studios, and these negotiations will cease and be replaced by lawsuits. What strikes me as odd, though, is that the studios don't go beyond "negotiating" with these sites. Why not do more to actually embrace the sites? If a movie is posted for download, why not offer additional incentives to actually go to the theater, while promoting the experience of going out to the movies and seeing it on a really big screen, rather than downloading a low quality version for a computer screen. Such incentives could play into the marketing aspect of the movie, offering those who download a discounted ticket to the theater, or a discount on buying the actual DVD, which will contain extras. In other words, target those who clearly want to see the movie, and then offer them real incentives to go out to the theater.


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    Iddo, Oct 1st, 2008 @ 11:58pm

    I think the studios should go even further...

    I think the studios should make a deal with the file sharing sites. The file sharing sites would be legal distributors of content. I have a nice model for them: They can allow free DVDRips downloads but if one wants an HD version, he should pay. I know I'd pay for that.

     

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      hegemon13, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 6:05am

      Re: I think the studios should go even further...

      How are you going to enforce that? HD content is already widely shared. They would be in no better a place than they are now.

       

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    Adam Fisk, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 12:15am

    Could not agree more...

    All it will take is a single movie to succeed with the model you're describing, most likely an independent film along the lines of the Blair Witch Project. It's amazing how much online buzz that film was able to get what, almost 10 years ago? Way before the Internet had hit its stride. What could you do now?

    Clearly the "official sanction" such a move would give is holding the studios back. It wouldn't play well in future court cases, but again, the market could dictate something along these lines as soon as someone starts succeeding with it. Let's hope.

    Oh, by the way, generally fantastic posts, Mike. I'm continually amazed at the percentage of your posts I find interesting -- a far far higher percentage than anyone I can think of, particularly for how often you post (I find probably 90% of Cringely's posts interesting, for example, but he's much less frequent). It's not an easy feat!

     

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    Dave, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 12:45am

    In India, Bollywood movies are cheap. 18 rupees (25 for the balcony) at cheaper theatres, 40 rupees or so for seats in a nice theatre. Roughly 45 rupees = 1 dollar.

    Food and drinks are sold at the theatres, and there isn't a problem bringing in your own stuff. Plus, you can leave the theatre to buy food and drinks. There's an intermission since the movies here are 2.5 to 3 hours so you don't miss anything. The food/drink mark-up in the theatre isn't bad.

    Piracy is rampant. I can get a DVDr in a decent package for under 40 rupees for a new movie.

    I haven't seen as many over-the-top budgets like in Hollywood, but I've seen some movies that had a decent budget.

    I ran a couple of art house theatres in the US (one was an international chain, one was completely independent). Language problems have made it hard for me to talk to theatre owners here. I don't know how much of a take Bollywood gets.

    I'll be here for a while, and I hope when I go to south India next week where English is more widely spoken, I can talk to theatre operators and figure out how it works.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 1:07am

    The studios could release the movie to the torrent sites themselves and at the beginning of the movie there could be a code, if you go to the cinema and watch it their you get a free extra ticket or a 10% discount or something.

    Just one idea from the loads they could use to embrace it.

     

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    Twinrova, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 3:58am

    "rather than downloading a low quality version for a computer screen."
    Maybe it's just me, but my TV resolution is never out of focus, never has spots on the screen, and doesn't come equipped with annoying popcorn eating, cellphone, or crying baby sound effects.

    That being said, is there really a problem of movie goers not going to the theater in Georgia? Could it be an economic decision where downloading a free movie outweighs the cost of a ticket in a country with no stable economy?
    Things to think about before shoving your advice to "embrace" the sites and try to get people to spend money they may not have (or afraid not to have).

    In other notes, US economy saved by idiot senate passing $700 billion bill to bail out other idiots for being greedy. Expect movie goers to rejoice the loss of their savings and other investments by going to a movie in which the ticket price is absolutely ridiculous (and Hollywhine will rave about another blockbuster revenue summer while complaining thieves are stealing their profits).

     

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    YoMamma, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 5:57am

    Make Theaters Better

    I'm one of those that almost never goes to the theater anymore - for all the usual reasons: $$, seating, movie projection quality, annoyances from others around me, crazy prices on food, etc.

    But, I still find my way out there when there is something beyond what I can get at home, such as a 3D movie, huge screen iMAX, or in-seat effects: chair rumble, mist, wind, etc.

    Theaters need to invest in upgrades, providing things you can't get at home.

    They also need to invest in services and features that aren't typically available in theaters. Make DVDs available at the time of the show, or at least from other movies. I'd buy a DVD of the movie I just saw if I liked the movie enough. What about other entertainment, dinner and a movie, etc.

    Don't plaster the screen with advertising... find creative ways to earn $$.

    If I had a reason to go, I would. Until then, I'll take my massive HD screen and robust complete surround sound package on my comfortable couch any day.

     

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    what-a-farce, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 6:01am

    more security

    What a farce. The movies get ripped because people in the movie theater business hire Joe Schmucktard off the street to be a theater attendant without any background checks and "assurances" that these attendants aren't recording these movies as they're being displayed on the big screen.

    There is a simple solution to this matter:

    1. Put security cameras in the theaters (night vision capable)

    2. Put similar cameras into the camera room itself to monitor staff's activities.

    3. Have security staff that monitors the cameras

    4. Give staff incentives not to distribute movies (bonuses, gifts, or even competitive pay scales)

    People don't seem to understand that the movie theater staff has been a HUGE contributor to delivering ripped movies to file sharing sites. It's the same with the gaming industry.

    No one is to blame but the distributors of the movies (and games) themselves. That's the only reason these movies come out almost a couple of weeks ahead of time before the movie is even released for the public.

    To blame John Q. Public, and to accuse the regular crowd being the issue is a copout and not the root of the issue. If the movie industry would hire competent and trustworthy individuals, then they could make bit more of an statement. But as it stands, most movies and games get released on torrent sites weeks or days before the game is released through the retail sector.

     

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    Marcusg, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 6:52am

    I think studios should go even further..

    The problem is cost - cinema tickets are too high, DVD prices are too high. We, the consumer pay for each piece of the supply chain; cinema, dvd, cable, dvd bargain bin, tv (through time/ads). It stinks. Plus the stupid time delays in releasing movies in the north / southern hemisphere. We had The Children of Men months before it was shown in the States, just like you get most of the new release movies first. Therefore you get the DVD's first, so we have to wait. TV shows are worst still; Get Smart is about half the cost in the States than in Australia - even purchasing it through Amazon! We are only up to Season 8 (out of 11) for Frasier despite the States getting the full set years ago! The demand is there, but it is not being fed quickly and costed fairly is why torrent sites exist.

    The whole game has changed and the movie industry loves to sprout off about getting screwed by these torrent sites. Yet it is the consumer that, once again, copes it up the clacker!

     

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    Dave, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 9:44am

    what-a-farce is either a troll or someone who doesn't understand how theatres (not movie studios) make money. Employees aren't the ones responsible. If you subject treat min. wage employees to a TSA treatment, it'll make the theatre experience much much worse.

     

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    LostSailor, Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 11:01am

    If Piracty is inevitable, just sit back and enjoy it.

    So...the way to hinder piracy is to not just not hinder piracy, but to encourage piracy? Just embrace it! Resistance is futile!

    You've suggested this repeatedly, Mike, but it hardly seems like a suggestion that the major studios are going to embrace. They already offer incentives to go to the theater, just as 3-D and IMAX versions. Doesn't seem to affect piracy.

    The solution to the problem of "we spent a hundred million dollars on this movie" is not likely to be "sure...just rip it and share it, we don't care!" And it's not a recipe for investors to support high-quality films.

     

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      Mike (profile), Oct 2nd, 2008 @ 3:47pm

      Re: If Piracty is inevitable, just sit back and enjoy it.

      You've suggested this repeatedly, Mike, but it hardly seems like a suggestion that the major studios are going to embrace. They already offer incentives to go to the theater, just as 3-D and IMAX versions. Doesn't seem to affect piracy.


      Uh, if it doesn't seem to affect piracy then they haven't embraced piracy.

      What the 3D and IMAX versions have impacted is not piracy, but WHAT MATTERS: the bottom line. More people actually pay to see it because you can't pirate the 3D/IMAX experience. Even if people download it, they still want to see the better experience.

      You're focused on the wrong thing. Piracy isn't the issue. The bottom line is.


      The solution to the problem of "we spent a hundred million dollars on this movie" is not likely to be "sure...just rip it and share it, we don't care!"


      Ok. When other studios figure out how to make that work just fine, then the ones who take your advice will fail. Fair enough.

       

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