More Misinformed Drivel

Just read this Interesting Article from Brian Deagon. It’s interesting because there is no because there is no mechanism to post corrections or comments, which is probably just the way a biased writer likes it…

If you haven’t seen the hit movie “300,” you can always catch it for free on the Internet — along with just about any other Hollywood blockbuster.

So Mr Deagon… how many people do you personally know who watched a movie downloaded from the Internet? And how many of those then decided not to watch it in the theater as a result? My guess is zero. Sure it is possible to download a move from the Internet, but that does not mean that it is easy, and it does not mean that it represents a significant monetary loss to Hollywood.

You can also watch any popular TV show — every episode of each season, even from channels not available on your local cable network. It’s all just a few clicks away on your computer.

Err… you know it is completely legal to Videotape TV programs and keep them for as long as you want, right? The Entertainment companies (“BigEnt”) desperately want to destroy Fair use by burying the VCR and wiping out the Analog Hole. So… why is home taping legal but downloading is not? Because BigEnt hates a technology that they cannot control and, to use a word I loathe, monetize. Besides, many of these episodes are legitimately available from the TV companies, whether you have that show on your cable lineup or not, which destroys that part of your argument.

In January, U.S. Internet users viewed 7.2 billion videos online, according to comScore, a digital media measurement firm. The typical viewer watches two online videos a day, averaging 2.6 minutes each. The comScore research did not include videos viewed on P2P networks.

And my watching five minutes of Internet Video a day damages BigEnt’s bottom line how???

The motion picture industry estimates that in 2005 alone it lost $2.3 billion to Internet copyright breaches in the U.S. and $7 billion worldwide, including box-office receipts and video sales.

Sigh… yet another multibillion-dollar loss figure pulled out of thin air. If I spend less on theater tickets it is because there are very few movies that I would pay $5+ to see – I did not see a single movie in the theater in 2006. You’re assumption – that I downloaded them – is simply not true.

The rest of the article is the same old “The-Internet-is-killing-us!!!!!” drivel that we have been hearing from Big Music for the past decade. Guys, the Internet is not the problem; your unwillingness to change is the problem. Everybody else has to deal with downsizing; Hollywood seems to think that they are exempt. Not so.

Just so this is not construed as another meaningless rant, I have a few constructive suggestions:

  1. Tell Jim Carrey et al that you’re not paying them $30M a movie. $5M is more than enough for a few weeks – or even months – of work. It’s not like they’re going to starve, though they may have to sell the beach house in Malibu and slum it like the rest of us…
  2. Making a movie is a gamble; but currently some stars get paid even if the studio pulls the plug. This needs to change – tell the actors they don’t get make money until the studio does.
  3. Last year’s big hit – Pirates of the Caribbean – is a good story, well told. A movie that a Granny and a six-year-old can both enjoy. Concentrate on making movies that the whole family can watch – you’ll get more tickets sold that way. On the other hand, if you decided to load up on sex and violence with side orders of profanity and blasphemy, don’t expect me to pay to watch it.
  4. Lower the price of theater tickets. The best way to do this is to Lower the Studio’s take of Box office receipts.

Don’t make the same mistake that the Music Business are making – suing your customers and throwing your weight around like a four-year-old with a temper tantrum will not win the hearts and minds of your customers.

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