by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 11th 2013 12:47pm
by Tim Cushing
Thu, Apr 4th 2013 8:55am
Warner Brothers Thinks What People REALLY Want In A Streaming Service Is Something That Costs More But Offers Less
from the artificial-scarcity-meets-artificial-infinity dept
Warner Brothers, one of the many studios to sign on to the rightfully-maligned Ultraviolet "service," and tireless proponent of lengthy arbitrary blackout periods, has decided to leap ungracefully into the streaming business with Warner Archive Instant.
Now, Warner Archive Instant isn't necessarily meant to be a Netflix killer. (Or even to take out the severely wounded Hulu.) It's way too niche for that. But it's unclear exactly what perceived gap in the market Warner is hoping to fill (other than a gap of its own creation). Here's a few of the underwhelming details.
Warner Archive Instant [is] a service that streams vintage films and shows from the vast Warner Bros. catalog. It's an offshoot of the existing Warner Archive DVD and Blu-ray site, but the digital selection is unfortunately rather limited — there are only 123 distinct titles available as of now. While most of these aren't typically found through other outlets, it's still a pretty small selection, particularly for the $9.99 monthly fee associated with the service. Warner says that it'll be constantly adding and rotating new content in and out, but for now it's not the most robust offering around.This certainly sounds like a studio-directed effort. More expensive with less selection! That's what people are looking for in a streaming service! Warner, despite dipping a toe into the Stream, seems to be relying on artificial scarcity to drive subscriptions. Many of the movies and shows it offers on Archive Instant aren't available through other streaming services or retailers. So, if you're absolutely dying to watch selected episodes from seasons 2 & 3 (but not the entire seasons, mind you) of 77 Sunset Strip (or late-80s insta-classic Disorderlies) and have nothing better to do with a ten-spot, Warner Archive is tailored precisely for you.
Of course, this being a studio effort, there are a whole lot of caveats to the severely limited, expensive, streaming service -- many that you won't find hampering cheaper services with more titles.
For instance, if you want true HD, you have a single option: Roku box to TV. That's it. Hi-def streaming for PC and Mac is not supported "at this time." Also not supported: smart TVs, networked Blu-Ray players, Wii/Xbox/PS3 or mobile devices. Here's more good news: the service can only be utilized on one device at a time.
This service is far too limited and far too expensive to appeal to about 99% of everybody. Perhaps several months down the road when Warner adds more (and it will need to add a lot) content, it might be tempting. But even with additional content, it will still be nothing more than yet another streaming service competing for market share in an overcrowded field.
Warner is making a couple of mistakes here (at least). The first is arbitrarily locking up certain content solely to "create" a market for the shackled products. The second mistake is assuming people are clamoring for a fragmented streaming market. Most people are satisfied with one or two services and very occasionally use others to fill in the gap. What they're not interested in is creating yet another account, setting up yet another device and adding yet another line item to the debit side of their bank accounts in order to access limited niche content. (And even the "niche" part can be argued. The titles available are hit-and-miss -- a collection of true classics mixed with below average films, accompanied by a bizarre selection of TV shows, some of which are represented as "best of" sets, rather than the entire season[s]. Archive Instant seems to have been set up by a faulty database query, rather than curated with the classic movie fan in mind.)
At the end of the day, though, Warner will still be able to say it tried. When the MPAA presents its anti-piracy legislation suggestions, it will point to this (and Ultraviolet) as evidence of the studios' willingness to meet
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 22nd 2013 1:15pm
Lawyer Suggests That Prenda Law May Have Only 'Released' Movies It Sued Over As A Honeypot For Lawsuits
from the well,-look-at-that dept
Apparently getting curious about the whole shell within a shell within a shell setup of Livewire/AF Holdings/Ingenuity 13, Syfert began wondering about just what copyrighted works were actually at the center of those lawsuits. As you may recall, Prenda, used to represent actual porn studios, but at some point shifted to a variety of shell corporations, which it's now accused of running itself (a big no no). But then what copyright was it using? Well, Syfert looked at the details of the lawsuits, and then looked around, and basically found that the "movies" in question never appear to be distributed in any way, except via BitTorrent, all seeded by the same user. Hmmmm....
So, four out of the Five Fan Favorites that Ingenuity 13 wishes to protect are shared by sharkmp4. (Other hash values referenced in complaints do not result in any valid torrent). One wonders if the "Five Fan Favorites" copy registered with the copyright office includes all of these sharkmp4 videos. Would that be proof that Prenda Law is seeding its own works and then suing? The honeypot. The venus fly trap. The pitcher plant? Or is sharkmp4 just another pirate?Syfert digs a bit deeper and digs up a bit more info on this "sharkmp4" character:
Now of course, this all begs the question: Who is sharkmp4? Well, the IP address associated with this user can be determined by a technically skilled individual who could load up all the torrents, join the torrent swarms and then find the common seed. However, there is no reason to do this, because it will come back with a Mullvad VPN on an IP in Germany owned by Leaseweb and get you nowhere.Well, almost nowhere. Because back at FightCopyrightTrolls, they add a little piece to the puzzle.
I want to point out to one coincidence that Graham did not mention (probably he did not know): a person who we strongly believe was John Steele had been commenting on this blog via Mullvad VPN (links at the bottom). Although it does not prove anything per se — a single exit IP address is shared by many VPN users — the fact that Mullvad VPN was allegedly used to seed certain pornographic movies is interesting.Obviously, not conclusive proof of anything, but enough to leave you scratching your head and wondering. It's not like Mullvad is one of the more popular VPNs either. And, of course if John Steele, or a representative of the copyright holder themselves is uploading and distributing the file in the first place (and that's the only place where it's released), there's a reasonable argument to be made that any downloads are not infringing, since it's clearly an authorized copy. At this point, Steele and Team Prenda are likely in enough hot water, but it seems like a court that wants to dig even deeper into the whole thing might uncover some more... interesting things during discovery.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 22nd 2013 8:01am
from the why,-yes dept
So, let's try to look at why the two studies might both be right -- and what that might actually mean. First off, there's the obvious difference: the first study was about movies, and the second study was about music. While there are obvious similarities between the two, there are also significant differences, which may also lead to differences in consumption. Movies, for example, tend to involve more initial commitment, since it takes a lot more time to watch a movie. Music can be consumed much more easily. But, for music that people like, they're much more likely to listen to it over and over again, whereas most people will view a movie only once. Even for movies that people absolutely love, they're likely to consume it many fewer times than corresponding music that people love. And, on top of that, movies come together as a whole package. Music, for the past few decades, was packaged as a bundle of songs, in the form of an album. However, the rise of digital distribution for music has often broken apart that bundle, such that people focus on the single unit of the song, rather than the album.
In those differences are the seeds of why these two studies could both make sense. The recording industry, obviously, points to the massive decline in overall revenue from recorded music sales. That is indisputable. But, much of that can be explained by the breakup of the album into single song sales. When you're no longer forced to purchase 10 songs you don't care about just to get to the 2 you do, it shouldn't be any surprise that overall sales revenue may decrease. At the same time, because people can then spread their interest across more artists, something like file sharing can still increase digital distribution sales, because they sample via unauthorized sites, and then purchase a few songs from those they like best. The file sharing acts as a way to figure out where they want to spend their money, but because they can spend less to get more, overall sales dropped off. The market is much more efficient.
Movies, on the other hand, are somewhat different. There isn't a great unbundling happening there. And, often, consuming movies is done for a different reason and in a different manner than consuming music. Watching a movie is a way to "kill" an evening. Need something to do? "Let's watch a movie." As such, you'd expect movie watching behavior to remain more consistent, as people have the same "void" to fill at a regular interval. And, while alternatives (such as surfing the internet or playing video games) may fill that void, some percentage of the people will prefer movies -- and if one source of movies goes away, they will look for others, and some percentage of those are likely to switch to a pay service.
There's one other factor that may impact all of this as well, as hinted at in the post about the first study: the level of development of legal services. For years, we've seen one thing that is almost certainly true: when there are no legal services available, the amount of unauthorized use increases. Unauthorized use is almost always an indicator of an under-served audience. And, if you look the development of online music and movie offerings, authorized music services tend to be a lot further along in creating compelling, user-friendly offerings that people find to be "better than piracy." There are some movie services that are getting there, but movie services are more likely to be encumbered with DRM and annoying restrictions (e.g. "watch the whole thing in 24 hours or you lose it!").
If anything, this final point is the most compelling explanation to me for the different results in the two studies -- and why I'm less confident that the results of the first study will hold up in the long term, unless Hollywood finally allows the creation of more user-friendly online movie services (i.e., lower prices and less restrictions, which is where the music services have all gone). In the music world, more and more people are making the gradual shift to authorized services, because they really do provide a good overall experience. The file sharing that goes on tends to be complementary to all of this because it is one way that people can further sample and figure out what they like, which they can then support within an authorized context (especially since music people like is played repeatedly).
With movies, on the other hand, you have less of a need to "sample," since the product is often watched just once. And there, convenience becomes king. People will flock to the most convenient offering (convenience being a combination of a variety of factors, which may differ per each individual, but generally include elements of ease of use, pricing, overall selection of movies, ability to view in multiple places, ability to watch at different times, etc.) For many, Megaupload represented the most convenient offering, and after that went away, other services, sometimes pay services, represented the "next best option." But, those other services are still at risk of newer more convenient services re-emerging and taking back those movie-watchers.
In those cases, both studies "make sense," but the lessons they suggest may be somewhat different than the lessons put forth by the supporters of the studies. The authors and supporters of the MPAA study suggest that this proves that shutting down unauthorized sites is a reasonable goal. I think that may be looking too narrowly at the results, and discounting how much people are focused on the "most convenient" solution. An even better solution is to provide more convenient offerings, which would win over customers from unauthorized sites even if they aren't taken down.
Finally, I wanted to respond to the IFPI, which appeared to completely freak out about the European Commission study, claiming it was flawed:
IFPI believes the JRC study is flawed and misleading. The findings seem disconnected from commercial reality, are based on a limited view of the market and are contradicted by a large volume of alternative third party research that confirms the negative impact of piracy on the legitimate music business.The IFPI seems to be responding based on emotion, rather than fact, and possibly a misunderstanding of the data. The data directly supports the commercial reality, which is that digital music sales have been regularly increasing, which the IFPI itself records quite clearly. The decrease in overall recording industry revenue (the IFPI is misleading in talking about "the legitimate music business" because they really only mean the portion that is recorded music sales), comes from the decline in the sale of physical music: CDs. And the study only looked directly at digital distribution, not the impact on CD sales. The other studies that the IFPI refer to look at the connection between file sharing and CD sales, showing a general decline there, but much of that may just be from people shifting from physical (inefficient and wasteful) distribution to digital (efficient) distribution, in which case you'd expect a decline in overall sales, not because of "piracy" but because of less inefficient bundling and physical manufacturing and distribution costs.
The IFPI also repeats the BPI's misreading of the "Kantar Worldpanel" data. That is, they highlight that many people who fileshare don't buy anything, but then leave out the people who neither fileshare nor buy any music, thus setting up an apples and oranges comparison. They also cite the debunked HADOPI study, despite the fact that reports have already explained how the impact observed in that study likely had more to do with the introduction of new iPhones rather than HADOPI's three strikes policies.
But, really, the most ridiculous argument in the IFPI response is at the end:
The fundamental problem of the music market place remains as true as ever: why pay for music when you can get it illegally free?The fact that they still believe this to be true is the real problem with the legacy industry in one simple sentence. They still think the only way to compete is on price. That's clearly not true, as seen by the IFPI's own data, which consistently shows that massive numbers of people buy all the time, even when they can get it quite easily for free from unauthorized sources. As noted above, it's really about convenience -- which is a result of a combination of factors, of which price is merely one. Creating more authorized services that provide greater convenience than unauthorized sites is the most effective way to fight back. If the IFPI actually focused on providing more value, rather than freaking out every time piracy was detected, we'd be talking about what an amazing time it was for music today, rather than having this same silly debate all over again.
In the end, despite the IFPI's whining, these two studies do add valuable data to the debate. And while they may appear to conflict, I don't think they really do. The results both make sense in context, and viewed from a wider angle they suggest, still, that the best way to respond to unauthorized file sharing is to make authorized service more convenient.
by Tim Cushing
Wed, Feb 27th 2013 9:11am
from the man,-that-kamal-ddr-sure-makes-a-ton-of-movies dept
A search for Kamal DDR will bring up hundreds of listing, all pointing to various torrent links. Kamal DDR apparently "supplied" this copy to Saregama, although exactly how that ended up on the official channel rather than the studio's own un-pirated version remains a mystery.
Returning to the scene of the self-inflicted crime (as it were), viewers are now greeted with the familiar skewed-emoticon-o'-public-embarrassment.
No explanation for this switch-up has been provided by Saregama, so we're left with speculation. Could it be that torrenting the file was easier than finding it on the server? Was this preserved on a Saregama hard drive as evidence and labelled unclearly? Was this a disgruntled employee's last act? Rogue administrator? Are the phone calls truly coming from inside the house, torrentially-speaking? It also appears that this issue may not be limited to this film. Roughly a third of the links on Saregama's Upload list dead end with a "page not found" message.
Maybe original and pirated copies mingled freely within Saregama's local storage, much as they do on the open market. India's struggle with truly rampant piracy (as compared to the non-rampant piracy that is fretted about constantly by lobbyists and ICE heads) has been well documented and yet the country still cranks out roughly 80 million films (estimated) every year.
At the end of the day, Saregama's house is (mostly) back in order. Only the quizzical private-video-face remains, along with a selection of full-length films from the Saregama catalog (many with English subtitles) and a few unanswered questions.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 18th 2013 10:08am
from the look-at-that dept
A few years ago, theatre releases were limited to tier-I and tier-II cities due to high costs of prints. It took between three months and a year for a film to be released elsewhere. Consequently, films reached television and home video only after six months of a theatrical release. Pirates gleefully filled that vacuum by bombarding consumers with cheap optical discs....There's an infographic that shows most movie releases in 2011 were shown on about double the number of movies screens as similar movies just the year before. That's a massive increase in availability for theater showings. As for the home market, while it still competes with pirated copies, quality seems to be winning:
Not anymore. The brightest stars of the Rs 100-crore constellation are theatres and prints.... Digital prints, which cost one-fifth of analog prints, have facilitated the swift reach of movies across the country.
According to Dwyer, the better-off who earlier paid to have high-quality cinema systems at home are no longer interested in poor quality (pirated) copies. "The quality of DVDs and Blu-ray discs is excellent with extra features and at a reasonable price."While the article still says that there's a lot of infringement going on, it's just fading into the background for the most part, especially given the record-setting revenue numbers.
For one, producers are happy with the current box-office fortunes. There is also no evidence to show big hits suffering from online piracy. On the contrary, data crawls suggest that the most downloaded films are nearly always the biggest hits, according to Lawrence Liang of Bangalore's Alternative Law Forum, one of the authors of the India chapter of the Media Piracy report.And, thus, the studios have finally realized that paying more attention to improving the authorized market is probably more important than "stomping out piracy."
What has really changed is the focus on piracy. As the case of AACT shows, the struggles against pirates are few and far between to make even news, leave alone act as a deterrent. "The tendency has been to focus always on the numbers we are capturing rather than looking at leaked markets," says Uday Singh, managing director, MPDA.Of course, the article is still full of dire warnings about how the studios need to stay vigilant or everything might fall apart, but that seems based on random hyperbole, rather than any actual evidence.
None of this should be even remotely surprising. For years we've been pointing out that if you make works available, make them convenient and reasonably priced, and stop treating your customers like criminals, people will pay. Sure, there will always be some piracy, but those people are unlikely to pay no matter what, for the most part, and you just need to stop worrying about them and focus on giving more fans more reasons to actually pay. It appears that India is an example of a place where that's actually happening.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 15th 2013 7:39pm
from the and-so-it-goes dept
Play up just how amazing the movie industry is because it "tells stories." Then, transition into just how many "jobs" the industry creates -- and focus on how those jobs aren't the glamorous ones, but those everyday people (the "little people" if you will) -- and always claim that there are over 2 million of them, even if that's massively exaggerated. At least this time he put in the caveat that he was including people who are both "directly and indirectly" in the industry (plus he admits that he's including TV people, as opposed to just movies) -- such as the people who "prepared our lunch today." Of course, I would imagine those people would likely be preparing lunch for someone else even if the movie industry disappeared. He also highlights that the industry creates jobs across the country, naming New Mexico, Georgia and North Carolina. Don't think those are by accident. Those are three states that have provided significant subsidies to the Hollywood studios, and are some of the very few such programs not rated as a dismal failure for the local economy. He claims that "You can go down a list of states all across the nation and find one economic impact success story after another." He conveniently leaves out that the evidence actually shows that most of these are actually not economic success stories at all, but dismal failures that funnel taxpayer money from states to Hollywood studios which bring in their favorite crews, and hire few locals.
But, then, of course, there's the key section on "technology" and innovation. At first he tries to play up all of the "innovation," but again, leaves out how many of these "innovations" wouldn't actually exist if the MPAA had its way in the past:
Because movies matter—to more people, in more places, who want to watch them at more times, across multiple platforms—the film and television industry is continuously innovating to meet that demand.That the industry was dragged, kicking and screaming, to support many of these things is sort of left out. Also, the fact that the industry has worked ridiculously hard at crippling many of these services, making them way too expensive and annoying (how many services require you to watch a video within 24 hours, because, apparently, no one in the MPAA has kids and recognizes you might want to start a film one night and finish it the next?) seems kind of important, but not mentioned.
Today movies and TV shows can be viewed in theaters, on the big screen, or at home on TV screens, laptops, iPads, Kindles and smart phones.
There are more than 375 unique licensed online distribution services around the world that provide high-quality, on demand film and television shows, offering the easiest, fastest, safest, highest quality product and viewing experience possible.
There is one thing we agree on:
These innovations are great for consumers. I'm not exaggerating when I say a new golden age in television and film is being ushered in. You can watch more content than ever, through more channels, and the quality of the movies and TV shows is outstanding.So why did the MPAA fight nearly every one of these changes all along? And why is it still trying to do so? Well, then we get to the usual talk about how the next wave of "innovation" isn't about providing more value to those consumers. It's not about extending the golden age. It's about how can Silicon Valley help the MPAA stop piracy:
This is why it's so crucial that we protect this content from theft. Because consumers deserve to enjoy first-generation versions of their favorite films—not secondhand, pirated films-of-films shot and recorded inside a movie theatre on a mobile phone.First off, it's not theft. Stop saying it is when it's not. It just makes you look totally out of touch. Second, you know what helps consumers get good works? Making them available in convenient ways at reasonable prices -- something the big studios frequently work against, despite his list of services. Finally, you know how to beat the "secondhand, pirated films-of-films shot and recorded inside a movie theater on a mobile phone"? You offer more convenient ways to view the actual product. I don't know why Dodd and the MPAA think that anyone really wants to watch a crappy cammed version of a film shot from a mobile phone. They don't. Give them legitimate reasonable options and they prefer that.
We must strike a balance between the desire for a free and open internet and the protection of intellectual property. The future cannot be about choosing one over the other—between protecting free speech OR protecting intellectual property—it must be about protecting bothThere is no "balance" needed here. What we need is a free and open internet, period. Protecting IP is a fool's errand. Focus on providing more legitimate services with better service, more convenience and reasonable pricing and there's no need to protect things. People pay for Netflix, Spotify and others because they're simply more convenient. Do more of that and stop worrying about piracy.
We can and must have an Internet that works for everyone, and we can and must have protection for the creative industry’s genius that intellectual property represents.This assumes that protection is a reasonable goal. It's not. It will always be costly to protect and will always have collateral damage. Considering you can solve the problems merely by providing better services, stop worrying about piracy, and just start helping more companies innovate cool additional value.
There should be no confusion. For the more than two million Americans whose jobs depend on the motion picture and television industry “free and open” cannot be synonymous with “working for free.”I'm sure whichever staffer wrote this line thought it was really clever, but what does it even mean? No one is asking anyone to work for free. Just moments before in the speech, Dodd was talking about how the industry was doing great and growing. More movies than ever before are being made and there are all sorts of new opportunities. Focus on those.
To protect IP, and the openness and freedom of the Internet, we must together innovate our way through these challenges. Fortunately, Silicon Valley and Hollywood are making some progress on this front.No, the challenge is not how to "protect content." The challenge is "how can we make money" and the tech industry has been providing answers to that over and over and over again, creating new and useful tools and services that help the creation, promotion, distribution and monetization of movies. And the industry has either fought to block or simply looked down upon nearly all of them, until suddenly they're "big enough" to matter, and then they take credit for those innovations. Don't "work together" on the useless goal of "protecting content." Focus on innovating in a way that makes consumers better off.
It's a simple thing: are you adding value to the consumers, or are you trying to stop them from doing something? If you're doing the first thing, you're moving in the right direction. If you're doing the latter, you're throwing money away on the impossible. While Chris Dodd represents the movie industry, the joke around here for a while has been that industries fighting the future "sound like a broken recording industry." Dodd's been telling this same tall tale for a year now, and it's time he got some new material. Stop focusing on ways to stop people from doing stuff, and start looking for ways to help them get more value.
by Tim Cushing
Wed, Feb 13th 2013 7:39am
from the we-NEED-to-throw-this-money-down-a-hole,-but-WHICH-ONE? dept
"Can you tell me why video games need a tax incentive?" Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, asked Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio at one point.They may be right -- these tax incentives aren't paying off. After all, EA received $9.1 million during the 2011-12 fiscal year and is looking to score another $14.5 million to underwrite (full retail price!) roster updates for Madden NFL, NCAA Football and the latest iteration of Tiger Woods PGA Tour. EA, which has been in Central Florida since long before the subsidy train started rolling, defended its grab of state incentives by saying the money has "motivated the company to expand its Central Florida workforce during the last three years." That may be true about the last three years, but as is pointed out elsewhere in the article, EA employs fewer people today than it did in 2007.
"I just don't see video games as an issue that's going to bring a lot of people to Florida and [bring] big expenditures," added state Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Coconut Grove.
Don't get me wrong. I don't think EA should be given tax breaks and other incentives in order to continue operating in Florida. In fact, I'm of the opinion that if a business needs subsidies to get by, it's probably not much of a business. However, they are a fact of life at this point, and giving businesses a tax break to move to your state is a powerful persuader. Many locales compete for the affections (and taxable revenue) of large companies, throwing larger and larger amounts money at them in hopes of a decent return on their investment.
If these legislators want to drop the subsidies, more power to them. Unfortunately, they don't want to get rid of subsidies. They just want to throw the money in another direction.
"To have such a concentration of it going to games — I mean, people sitting at computer terminals — I'm not sure most of us really think that's film," said state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater. "Film is movies. … People have to hire a lot of folks and they have meals and have to stay in a hotel room."Oh, I see. You just want to take these extraneous fiscal crutches and offer them to a different member of the entertainment industry. This doesn't really change anything. Sure, legislators want to believe that a big Hollywood production will boost the local economy for the duration of the shooting, but prior experience shows that Hollywood-aimed subsidies rarely improve the financial situation of anyone other than the studio receiving them.
"I think we ought to be focused on those kinds of things [rather] than games," he added.
"Do you consider any difference if a company is already situated in Florida and has a stable workforce, compared to a company that comes into the state and hires people that might not be hired otherwise, purchases food for the people they've hired, provides lodging for them?" [Sen. Geraldine] Thompson asked.
As was previously covered here, a study showed that nearly every subsidy program developed to attract motion picture studios to various locations has turned out to be a losing proposition. Most of the states studied recovered less than $0.25 on every tax dollar invested. Why? Because when a studio rolls into town to shoot a movie, it brings in a lot of its own talent. Sure, there are some temporary bumps to food and housing income, but when it's all said and done, the studios roll out of town slightly richer, leaving their hosts stuck with the bill.
Despite these losses, states continue to wave ever-increasing amounts of money in the air while shouting "Pick me!" at every passing entertainment concern, gambling away their constituents' tax dollars. Florida's legislators seem to be no different. They've mistaken movie studios for good-natured philanthropists and written off "people sitting at computer terminals" as a drain on the economy. It's a "spend money to make money" plan that has failed to pay off time and time again. All these legislators are arguing over is on which losing horse they should put their money.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 1st 2013 3:25pm
from the day-and-datish? dept
Netflix, of course, understands this quite well, as its streaming service has become quite popular with people as a way to "catch up" on the hot TV shows from last year that people missed when they were first aired. A growing number of people really really like just being able to "binge" on a TV show and watch them all over a short period of time. However, some purists worry that releasing all of the episodes at once takes away from some of the suspense and enjoyment. At the very least, it limits the "watercooler" moments the day after something airs, but with so many people just recording stuff and watching it later, that social moment was under attack already anyway.
It will be interesting to see how well the show does, and how people react to all 13 episodes being available at once. Perhaps my brain is still stuck in the "old way" of television, but this strikes me as quite different than something like movie windows, which feel really stupid. A "series" that dribbles out content once a week (but lets anyone catch up with full episodes later), seems perfectly reasonable. I almost wonder if releasing all the episodes at once takes away from long term buzz for the show as a story arc grows across a season. Also, it may make for a different kind of commitment from viewers. People who might jump in knowing that they're really only committing an hour, may be more fearful about recognizing they may be about to get sucked in to something much longer.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 15th 2013 8:03am
Hollywood Accounting Strikes Again: Investors In 29 Paramount Films That Earned $7 Billion Dollars Get No Return
from the those-accountants-are-really-expensive dept
The latest example of this in action involves a group of investors who gave $375 million to Paramount Pictures expecting to see some return on blockbusters like Mission: Impossible III, Blades of Glory and the Transformers series. All in all, those $375 million dollars found their way into 29 movies, many of which were massively successful. In total, the collection of films brought in $7 billion dollars worldwide. And... Paramount didn't pay a single dime out to those investors, until they were finally taken to court.
Perhaps hoping to keep the mysteries of Hollywood accounting secret, Paramount has now worked out a "settlement" with the investors, just as hearings were about to begin. It seems likely that Paramount coughed up some money to keep the investors happy... and to keep from having to provide to the court information on how the money flowed, where all of us would have seen some more details of the infamous Hollywood accounting practices.
The financiers charged Paramount with understating gross receipts, delaying payments, overstating production and distribution costs and hindering audit rights to verify revenue and costs with the films that Melrose II had funded. The plaintiff also had a bone to pick with how revenue from Melrose II-funded films was being received through Paramount parent Viacom, not Paramount, and how money was flowing. For instance, Paramount allegedly paid sister company MTV as a third-party participant for Nacho Libre and Charlotte's Web.
In reaction to the claims, Paramount initially described the lawsuit as "filled with hyperbole" and claimed that it "ignores the true facts."
Later, Paramount characterized the investors as being impatient. "Based on the performance of the films in which it invested, Melrose II is expected to make a double-digit return on its investment," the studio alleged.