The MPAA's Problem In A Nutshell: Views Relationship With The Public As One Way
from the consume,-consume,-consume dept
Reading Dodd's column, it's pretty clear where the problem lies. He still thinks of the movie business and its relationship to the public as a one way thing: they deliver content that the public consumes. He's right to point out that the public is the ultimate boss for the entertainment industry, but he frames them, incorrectly, as consumers, rather than something more:
If there is one key point I hope the audience left with, it’s this: Despite what the media and the advocates on the extremes would have you believe, the content and technology communities are not adversaries, we’re partners. Our companies call them audiences and tech companies call them users, but giving consumers the best possible experience is our shared goal. In the end, we all report to the same people: consumers.Notice the language here. The public's job is only to consume what the MPAA delivers. It's all about distribution, in one direction only. There is no attempt to actually further listen to what the public says (in fact, Dodd has famously dismissed the concerns of the public, calling them thieves for wishing for better and easier access to content that they can share and build upon). There is no attempt to understand the public. It's all about shoving content to them in one direction.
We both share a commitment to innovation. Developing fresh and interesting content, and new platforms for seamlessly delivering that content to audiences, is the lifeblood of both of our industries. That’s why Hollywood is partnering with Silicon Valley and others — from YouTube to Facebook to Netflix to Roku — to deliver our great content to screens of all sizes. In fact, every one of the studios that I represent at the Motion Picture Association of America has a distribution deal with Google. Partnerships with these tech companies are only growing. There are currently more than 350 unique, licensed online services that provide motion picture content to viewers around the world, including more than 60 in the U.S. alone.
But that's not how the media landscape works any more -- and this is a big part of the problem. Above all else, the internet is a communications platform, in that the conversation is multi-directional. Yes, part of that can be broadcast content, but the public wants to do much more. They want to discuss and share and have experiences with each other. And their concern over the MPAA's constant overreaching on things like copyright law are that the end result will actually prevent them from communicating and sharing.
If he were actually concerned about the public, he wouldn't just talk about shoving content to them, he'd be talking about understanding what they want, and that would mean actually talking to the public on the internet, where they live.
Take UltraViolet, for example. UltraViolet is technology that allows customers to purchase content in one form — digital or physical — and then watch it on any of their devices. UltraViolet is the result of a coordinated effort between dozens of content and tech companies — because all of these companies understand that it is in the best interest of their customers to ensure that people do not have to buy multiple forms of movies or shows.Indeed, he spoke about UltraViolet over and over again at the event. But UltraViolet is really the shining example of the MPAA's wrong approach. It's an attempt not to deliver what the public really wants -- but to have the MPAA and some tech companies try to build a service that fits what Hollywood wants, while pretending to give the public some more control. It's just a new form of DRM. The fact that it's received mostly scathing reviews says it all. This wasn't designed with input from the public. It was yet another attempt to tell the public what it should like.
The tech community will be integral to helping solve this problem. It’s going to require cooperation and voluntary best practices from all interested parties. We saw some of that earlier this summer when Google altered its algorithm to de-emphasize pirated content. That was an important step because it recognizes the problem, and it recognizes Google’s ability to do something about it. It was not a silver bullet, and there’s much more to be done — but it was a good acknowledgment from Google that content theft is a problem and one that can be tackled.Yes, the tech industry is important, but not nearly as important as the public. And Dodd has made little to no effort to actually hear from them. Just the fact that he thinks Google's decision to pervert its search results is an example of the kind of innovation that's needed, again shows how misguided his approach is. He thinks that the "innovation" is about limiting consumers and holding back technology. It's about protectionism, not about opening up new opportunities and new markets. It's not about enabling what the technology can do, but holding it back.
That's not innovation. That's not what the public wants. It's protectionism for an industry that doesn't want to adapt.