MPAA Boss: Actually Being Good To Consumers Would Be Horrible For Hollywood

from the how-is-this-person-in-charge? dept

MPAA boss Chris Dodd has apparently decided to take the fairly insane stance that what's good for the public is clearly bad for Hollywood. That's the only conclusion that can come from the news that he's actively campaigning against the EU ending geoblocking rules:
In a keynote address at the CineEurope convention this week, MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd described the unblocking goals as a threat to the movie industry. Encouraging participants to reach out to their representatives, Dodd described the concerns as “real, very real.”

“While the stated goals of these proposals are laudable – offering greater choice to European consumers and strengthening cultural diversity – in reality, these ideas could actually cause great harm to Europe’s film industries and its consumers,” Dodd said.
Opening up more markets and more users, while having less overall friction will be bad for the film industry? Only if it's run by complete idiots who don't know how to take advantage of a larger market. But, I guess that's the MPAA way!

Of course, it's not hard to understand what Dodd is really talking about. For years, Hollywood has been able to squeeze extra money out of a convoluted and corrupt manner of territorial licensing -- a system that may have made sense in a pre-modern world, but which hasn't made any sense at all in decades. But because the Hollywood studios abuse that system for profit, often making it impossible for people to see the content they want to see (and are willing to pay for), it doesn't want to change that system.

But, because it's Hollywood, they have a mythical fairy tale to try to make it all make sense:
“The European Union is made up of 28 different nations with different cultures, different languages, and different tastes. Forcing every film to be marketed and released the same way everywhere, at the same time, is a recipe for failure,” Dodd said.

“The ability of filmmakers and distributors to market and release their films where, how, and when they think best gives them the greatest chance to succeed,” he added.
Of course, this is the EU where (at least while the EU lasts... as may now suddenly be in doubt...) people are able to travel freely across borders. Which means that the country you live in may not be the country you grew up in, nor match the same cultural sensibilities. And, these days, it's entirely possible to market films through the internet to find their intended audiences. The idea that by getting rid of geoblocking you suddenly change any of the above points makes no sense. The films that are targeted in one geography can still be proactively marketed in those geographies -- it's just that they will also be available to people from those regions who now live elsewhere (again, making it accessible to a wider audience).

But, again, this is the MPAA that is so focused on locking things down and limiting consumers, it still doesn't realize that treating its customers badly is why the MPAA is so hated.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 9:56am

    OMG! I might actually be confronted with people speaking different languages or some such in my TV or whatever?! The horror!
    Except I'm Portuguese, living in Portugal, and I get access to all kinds of different stuff from all over the world, not just the EU or the US, mind you.
    So no, Mr. Dodd, not everyone is so close-mindedly afraid of "contact with aliens". Not even in the US!
    And while I'm talking at you, I wouldn't mind accessing a US movie trailer online without subtitles. But you guys still try to block me,and are the only ones to do so, because I guess marketing knows best what my feeble mind can cope with. Thank you for your kind service!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 9:58am

    “While the stated goals of these proposals are laudable – offering greater choice to European consumers and strengthening cultural diversity – in reality, these ideas could actually cause great harm to Europe’s film industries and its consumers,” Dodd said.

    Well, Mr Dodd, I can find a wide diversity of content on YouTube, all of it legal, and none of it produced by the companies you represent, so it is only the legacy film industry that is hurting, and that by making it hard to get hold of your products, and leaving the field of convenient access to independent creators, who use convenient distribution services, that do not demand that the creator hands over ownership of their work to them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 27 Jun 2016 @ 10:06am

    “The European Union is made up of 28 different nations with different cultures, different languages, and different tastes. Forcing every film to be marketed and released the same way everywhere, at the same time, is a recipe for failure,” Dodd said.

    “The ability of filmmakers and distributors to market and release their films where, how, and when they think best gives them the greatest chance to succeed,” he added.

    The man has become delusional. People thrive to see and experience other cultures and are willing to pay for it.
    He's just angry all those damn kids are on his lawn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Michael Long (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 10:11am

    Pricing

    I think this is more about controlling pricing A movie might be marketed in one country at one rate but priced lower elsewhere.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 10:23am

    The European Union is made up of 28 different nations with different cultures, different languages, and different tastes.

    And if all of them weren't fed up with Geo restrictions it wouldn't be an issue being discussed. They want to see the stuff wherever they are whenever it's available wherever it was produced. If you want to keep up with your delusions don't complain when people turn to alternatives to bypass your idiocy (including vpns, piracy and whatever).

    I mean, let's ignore the fact that a continent is considering abolishing the practice because it doesn't make sense and pretend it will harm someone other than Hollywood's ego that they can't control who gets what.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 10:36am

      Re:

      The European Union is made up of 28 different nations with different cultures, different languages, and different tastes.

      All of whom can live and work anywhere in Europe, and would like content in their own language when abroad, and to watch the same thing as their friends back home are watching and discussing..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 11:43pm

        Re: Re:

        I cross a border every day, could watch a DVD from one country quite legally, can receive a TV signal from either country (and sometimes from Morocco as well) and this has never been a problem. But, I switch to a different Netflix region and can't carry on watching the show at lunch that I started at breakfast because the the idiotic licencing regime. But, if I use a VPN to access that same legally obtained content, I'm in the wrong...

        It's not just about easy travel and relocation, it's an actual daily problem for some people.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 10:44am

    Mr. Dodd is the guy who thinks pubic hair will corrupt my brain.

    Or that actual realities of sexuality (horny women, women enjoying sex, abortion, body fluids, women who don't look like Dakota Fanning...) will make children implode.

    He's also the one who wants to turn off the internet because it interferes with his preferred business model.

    So I have cause not to like him or even people who listen to him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 1:08pm

    Yeah, but I'll bet you a nickel that what's good for the MPAA is good for the consumer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 1:41pm

    No, it's not that what's good for customers is bad for the film industry...

    It's that film company executives worry that what's good for customers is bad for film company executives. And seeing that they play a totally unnecessary role as gatekeepers, is probably true.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 2:43pm

    The film industry is like any other internal industry.

    They want the flexibility to produce in low cost regions, taking advantage of lower wages, but then want the government to enforce different pricing based on the local ability to pay.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Whatever (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 5:25pm

      Re:

      "They want the flexibility to produce in low cost regions, taking advantage of lower wages, but then want the government to enforce different pricing based on the local ability to pay."

      Actually, they don't want anyone to enforce it. The stepped release concept is in some part to release a film or whatever in the best paying market first, so that they can (like all good business should) extract as much profit as possible for their shareholders and owners. Releasing a product into lower dollar markets first would just support the natural flow from low cost to high cost centers, handing (diminished) profits to others.

      Further, you have to consider the costs and risks related to releasing a movie. In many cases, it's better to release it in some markets first, and use the audience reaction to help drive your next release process. Perhaps your "quirky love story" turns out to be "offbeat comedy" in it's initial release. In the next markets, you can use that as your last minute pitch.

      We also don't need to mention the costs related to making a film conform to the various laws and rules of each country and region, and how restrictive ownership and distribution rules in these areas make it much harder to release all at the same time anyway.

      But hey, carry on slamming the MPAA. Sometimes you are right, but for a site run by a guy with a business degree, you seem to really hate business.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 29 Jun 2016 @ 7:41am

        Re: Re:

        Not so keen on the (allegedly) free market, are we, Whatever?

        In a market that was actually free, the protectionism imposed by the government on the consumers at the behest of the MPAA and the RIAA would not exist. They'd have to sink or swim based on consumer choice.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 29 Jun 2016 @ 7:56am

        Re: Re:

        "Sometimes you are right, but for a site run by a guy with a business degree, you seem to really hate business."

        I won't address your usual parade of logical fallacies, half-truths and "points" that deliberately miss the arguments being said. Suffice to say you're as accurate and on topic as ever. I'll just address the word salad above.

        Who, exactly, are you attacking in the above quote? You state "you", which as this is in reply to DB would suggest you're attacking DB. But, then you ramble on about the website. Now, unless you have some information you're not hallucinating that's available to the rest of use, DB is a mere commenter like you with no influence over the site nor any relationship to the guy who ruins it. Which makes your sentence a rambling piece of nonsense, where you're switching who you address in the middle.

        So, did you mistype something, did you comment on the wrong post, or are your attacks so weak that you're unable to even pick a target this time?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Whatever (profile), 29 Jun 2016 @ 11:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hi Paul. Thanks for being your usual (insert term here) self. Other than that, just learn to read. If you do, perhaps you might actually be able to follow along like an adult.

          For Wendy Cockcroft:

          I am very keen on a free market - including the freedom to choose when and where to sell or market a product. Release windows and such are a free market business choice. If people don't like they choice, they don't have to enjoy the product. They could create their own and distribute them in any manner they see fit. That's the beauty of a free market.

          Just remember that the "release it everywhere on the same day or we will pirate the shit out of it" types really are just objecting to a free market. Perhaps you should ask one of them why they hate a free market.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2016 @ 8:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So why does it make sense to pay Dodd increasing amounts of money? Does it make business sense to be running out of money, yet instead of paying the people in production, you choose to pay more money to a private police force of questionable effectiveness?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 29 Jun 2016 @ 11:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So, you can't be bothered to explain your own pathetic attempts at insults? Typical.

            "Release windows and such are a free market business choice. If people don't like they choice, they don't have to enjoy the product"

            Apart from your poor grasp of grammar, this is your typical failure at understand what the adults are talking about. Release windows are there to block the customer from enjoying the product. They don't "have to" because the people you obsessively defend won't allow them to under normal market conditions. Then they whine when consumers use what would be acceptable free market tactics to pay for and enjoy the product anyway.

            "That's the beauty of a free market."

            When products are monopolised and artificially restricted, there is no free market. That's the point, it's sad you don't grasp it even after all your time here pretending you actually know what you're talking about.

            "Just remember that the "release it everywhere on the same day or we will pirate the shit out of it" types"

            You mean the strawmen you attack so that you can reject the honestly held opinions of the people you attack on this site?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 30 Jun 2016 @ 2:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              What Paul said. Free market does not mean "lop-sided supply-side market."

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 2:35am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yep, he's redefining terms again so he can argue within his own invented reality. In his world, product monopoly combined with trade restrictions = "free market", complete consumer choice on price and location of purchase = "you hate the free market".

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            MrTroy (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 10:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You're using the term free market, but it doesn't really count unless you understand what the words mean and use them appropriately.

            A free market means that there are no restrictions on who can buy and sell an item. The competition between buyers and between sellers allows the market to set the value of the item based on an equillibrium of supply and demand.

            I am very keen on a free market - including the freedom to choose when and where to sell or market a product.

            You're confusing free market with global/local market concepts. You can have a free local market (which isn't actually free because copyright and lack of second sale, but whatever, that's a compromise we currently live with) and a non-free global market. And localised release windows are only possible with a non-free global market, kind of by definition.

            If people don't like they choice, they don't have to enjoy the product. They could create their own and distribute them in any manner they see fit. That's the beauty of a free market.

            I make these lovely tables, but I only sell them to Scottish people who have lived for less than three years in the British isles, and they have to sign a contract affirming that they may never sell the table to anyone else or else ownership reverts to me. But I'm not forcing anyone to buy these tables, they're free to create their own and distribute them in any manner they see fit. Free market, yay! Yeah, no.

            The stepped release concept is in some part to release a film or whatever in the best paying market first, so that they can (like all good business should) extract as much profit as possible for their shareholders and owners. Releasing a product into lower dollar markets first would just support the natural flow from low cost to high cost centers, handing (diminished) profits to others.

            And that made sense in the '80s. Why not just release it TO THE WORLD at the higher price, then step the price down as you'd normally release to wider, lower cost, markets? You know, live in the 21st century and reap all the same benefits as your legacy business model with all the same advantages of a global marketplace? I mean, really?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 30 Jun 2016 @ 11:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "And that made sense in the '80s"

              That's the real issue here. The industry is trying to keep hold of a business model that worked, without paying attention to the fact that it was based on market realities that no longer exist.

              Windowing was always common at the theatrical level due to limited numbers of prints, new versions having to be created for each region, etc. Bulky, heavy VHS tapes that didn't work across regions due to quirks of local TV standards? Fine, while it could be frustrating to not get a movie for a couple of years in the UK after its US release, most people knew the issues and weren't going to investing in a special NTSC VCR to play on their PAL TV with a bunch of messing around.

              DVD? The same things applied, although the lack of compatibility became less of an issue as most players and TVs eventually supported all formats. The industry tried artificially retaining their local monopolies via region codes, but even they seemed to understand this wasn't going to work long term (witness them going from 6 regions on DVD to just 3 on Blu Ray, with some studios not putting a region code on their Blus at all). Now, of course, it's 100% artificial with any restriction. There's no technical reason why I can't stream from Australia instead of the UK if that's where the film I want to access is located.

              But, the restrictions on the front end were only part of it. Due to the regional nature of theatrical and early home viewing, the back end business was split up into countries, and distribution often happened by selling to each of these regions. This is where the disconnect lies. They built their business model around being able to dictate when and where something is accessible, while their customers have come to expect few to zero borders.

              Their response to this, rather than streamline the backend to adjust to modern reality, is to move the frontend to restrict the consumer more than ever before. Even in the laserdisc and VHS days, a dedicated consumer could import from another region. Now, they're trying to block even that. It will fail, but not before we';ve heard some more years of whining from people who just wish it was still the 80s.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Jun 2016 @ 4:43pm

    its a recipe for failure!!!

    When are we going to learn that anything the industry and its mouth pieces issue dire warnings about will actually benefit that industry immensely & we should save time skipping the extra protectionist BS laws they demand and teach them to stand on their own 2 feet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2016 @ 5:52pm

    See, the health of foreign film industries are all fun to talk about whenever the MPAA and usual trolls need to justify rigid geoblocking and other antipiracy enforcement practices.

    But when the same countries start relaxing their laws a little, and local filmmakers have no problems with piracy, then suddenly those film industries aren't worth talking about because they haven't won Oscars, pirates only download Hollywood stuff and the other same, threadbare excuses trolls love to trot out. Convenient...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 12:54am

    This is all about protecting the overcharges for worldwide distribution rights because it's A LOT more profitable to sell distribution rights piecemeal.

    As an example an UAE licensee may be charged a lot more than one from Egypt, because the UAE is perceived to be richer.

    Funny how they act like most of these deals are inked before the shows/films start production when in fact few of them are.
    The deals are usually first negotiated for a limited set of territories (US, UK, maybe France and/or Germany) but usually only the US or UK.

    Every other licensee will normally buy the rights for their respective territory long after production has finished (and bear the cost of subbing / dubbing the thing themselves. Sometimes promissory agreements might exist between content owner and licensee but that's a very rare occurrence.

    So no, global distribution won't "actually cause great harm to Europe’s film industries" unless by that you mean the middlemen of the film industry and definitely won't cause any harm consumers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 3:58am

      Re:

      So no, global distribution won't "actually cause great harm to Europe’s film industries" unless by that you mean the middlemen of the film industry

      The middlemen are exactly the people represented by the MPAA and their companion associations around the world, and exactly the people threatened by the use of the Internet as a distribution medium.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2016 @ 3:33pm

    Chris Dodd is a specialist in failure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2016 @ 4:50am

    Whats good for the public is bad for hollywood

    Or

    Whats good for hollywood is bad for the public

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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