Remember How Hollywood Promised Lots Of New Content If It Could Break Your TV/DVR? Yeah, That's Not Happening...

from the well-that-was-useful dept

With Hollywood getting the right to break your TV and DVR thanks to the FCC's granting of a waiver to let them use selectable output control to stop DVRs from recording certain movies, the MPAA insisted that this was a huge win for consumers. Why? Because it meant that the Hollywood studios would rush to put movies on TV earlier than ever before. Except... apparently, that's not actually the case. Despite the victory, no studios have stepped up to make use of the new ability to stop your DVR from recording, because they're scared about how the movie theaters will react to greater competition. Of course, the theaters are notoriously unwilling to allow any threat of actual competition from home viewership to encroach on their turf, even if it could actually help theaters.

But, uh, the whole argument that supposedly convinced the FCC to give the Hollywood studios this waiver was that they would make use of it to give consumers more access. Quoting from the FCC's decision:
This offering will allow the homebound, parents with young children, and others who simply want to stay in for the night to choose a new entertainment option that they may value highly....

[On] balance, grant of MPAA's waiver request will provide a benefit to those who have the appropriate equipment and would like to view movies in their homes in an early release window that outweighs the limited impact on consumers with legacy devices....
So, a large part of the basis of the FCC approval was that it would increase content availability to homes. But that's not happening. Does that mean the FCC will admit that the entire basis for the approval was wrong?

Oh, and my favorite part is how the MPAA is playing this. Acting MPAA boss Bob Pisano put out the following statement when the FCC's announcement was made on May 17th:
"This action is an important victory for consumers who will now have far greater access to see recent high definition movies in their homes. And it is a major step forward in the development of new business models by the motion picture industry to respond to growing consumer demand..." (emphasis added)
So, gee, what does Pisano have to say, just a few days later when it turns out that none of that is true?
When asked about the studios' plans late last week, Bob Pisano, the president of the Motion Picture Association of America, said, "I can't tell you that, because I don't know." To comply with antitrust law, he added, "we stay out of business-model decisions."
Uh huh. So, let me get this straight. He argued -- successfully -- to the FCC, that granting this waiver to break people's TVs and DVRs would certainly create new business models and allow much more content to be available earlier. But, when it comes to actually supporting that, he claims that the MPAA "stays out" of business model decisions? So, how could he possibly have promised such "new business models" to the FCC in the first place?

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  1. identicon
    PRMan, 18 May 2010 @ 11:22am


    The same thing happened on DirecTV with PPV a while ago. While never a heavy PPV user, I used to buy about 1-2 movies per year when the situation presented itself.

    But ever since they started the "we can delete your PPV off your DVR after 24 hours" nonsense, how many PPV movies do you think I have bought?

    That's right, zero. Why would I buy one? We might not finish the movie because something else comes up. Then what? I'm not paying twice to watch a movie once! I will NEVER buy a PPV movie now.

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