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?

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Criminy!

    There is no indication (that I am aware of) that the studios PROMISED they would do ANYTHING. It seems they simply said they certainly would NOT do anything unless this OPPORTUNITY was made available. It isn’t as if there was a contract, though perhaps there should have been.
    Besides, before this decision, there were NO PPV movies that were released at the same time as the movie (or within 90 days of it) , so there was nothing to record. After this decision it is the same-nothing to record. I see no big problem YET. This is no worse than we expected, and as long as it doesn’t get worse, it is most likely MANAGEABLE (though certainly not preferable).

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
Special Affiliate Offer

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.