by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
availability, infringement, prices

High Prices, Lack Of Availability Driving Lots Of Infringement

from the well,-duh dept

As we've seen before, if you make authorized content available in a convenient and useful manner, it can really help minimize infringement. Of course, if you don't make it available, or if you price it wrong, it just makes the problem worse. A new report out of the UK took a look at the availability and price online of some top films and found that the movie industry isn't doing a very good job, likely leading to much greater infringement.
DVDs are available for just shy of 100% of the films. But a wealth of British cultural history is simply not available through legal providers. Only 43% of the top 50 British films can be bought or rented online. Similarly, only 58% of the BAFTA Best Film award winners since 1960 have been made available.

The situation looks worse if iTunes is discounted. Excluding iTunes, only 27% of the BAFTA award winners are available, with 29% of the best British films. Only 6% of the best 50 British films are on Film4 OD or Virgin Media, with 14% available through a LoveFilm subscription and 4% through pay per view on LoveFilm.
The industry wants so badly to blame infringement for many of its structural problems. But, perhaps if it just focused on making the content available in a convenient fashion at a reasonable price, they'd realize that it really was just a business model issue all along and had nothing to do with "piracy."

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2011 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I am sorry, but while I understand your point, I just think you are wrong.

    The studios aren't looking to make "exorbitant amount of profits" on old movies. They just aren't stupid enough to spend money for nothing. The costs to put an old movie into the digital realm in a quality that people will find acceptable, and so on isn't cheap. They do have to recoup it, and honestly, they need to recoup it in a reasonable amount of time.

    One of the things we learned from the "long tail" effect is that after an initial burst, the sales of most things trail off, and become oneseys and twoseys, not enough volume to merit the effort. Without some sort of promotion to get the initial surge to happen, you are stuck with basically only the tail end of a market.

    Let's also be clear here; Many of these movies are licensed to different distributors in different countries. There is no single global market on old movies, it wasn't something that was considered 40 or 50 years ago. The costs to undo that situation, or the costs to get movie distributors in various contries to agree to distribution isn't free either.

    So you have a situation where, because of assumptions made in the past, it is hard to, in the current circumstance, make things happen at a cost that is reasonable to consumers. Worse yet, doing it at a high cost to consumers only drives them into the piracy marketplace, where the expensive processing is given away for free, and pretty much kills any future revenues for the movie. Perhaps the only saving grace is there may not be enough peers to keep these movies in P2P distribution.

    All of this to say that nobody here is putting up a valid business model that really works out for all sides. I am seeing plenty of consumer friendly ideas, but none of them seem to really be based on the costs of getting that small amnount of business.

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