Take a hint from the MPAA, Ms. Rosen.
September 17, 2002 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Take a hint from the MPAA, Ms. Rosen. The IBC met to talk about problems with digital video/movie piracy, and came to the conclusion that they're at fault, not movie pirates. "We have met the enemy, and he is us." They realized if they offered a reliable, affordable online video service... it might actually work! I'd sign up for cheap downloads, and no return hassle. You?
posted by gramcracker (11 comments total)
Not really. I don't have high-speed at home, and neither do most people. The current monthly costs of DSL or Cable Modems outweigh the relative cheapness of heading over to Blockbuster once or twice a week.

The only way, at least in Northern New Jersey, to get cheap high-speed is to get a discount through Cablevision... but you get the discount by being a premium cable subscriber, which means you're already getting a handful of premium movie channels like HBO and Showtime. So with that the demand for, well, movies on demand is lessened by the movies already being... on demand.

Despite the hype about movies and their box office openings, the majority of film profits come not from intial screenings, but from rentals. (For example, ten times as many people rent Adam Sandler films then see them in the theater, and ten times a $3.00 rental fee is more than one $9.50 movie ticket.) As such, the profitable market is one that eases and accelerates the current vastly popular method of delivery to the audience, that of video rental.

A reliable, affordable online video service that would work right now would be an online directory that identfies where movies for rental are located, how many are in stock, and the ability to pay for rental online and reserve your copy. You can search by avaialability, title, how far away the nearest store with a copy is- think an Expedia.com for movie rental outlets. Then it's a matter of driving over with your reciept and picking up your pre-paid rental for the week. Or have it brought to you. Hell, if people pay to have Pizza delivered, why not movies?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:48 AM on September 17, 2002

Sorry, my anaolgy was actually an Adam Sandler produced film, not starring. The example was from an article I read in a media studies class about "The Animal," which probed why movies like this are still actually made. The answer is that even when they bomb, they make boatloads more in rentals. More people are willing to risk three bucks and their own scheduled time than $9.50 on a specific showing. I'm still trying to find the article, I'll post it when I find it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:51 AM on September 17, 2002

I have to have my DSL. After having high-speed Internet in college, I just can't do dialup. Many of my friends are the same way.

And I think the service would be incredible for college students. At my undergrad, we didn't have a nearby video rental store, and in the cold Chicago winter nights, it's tough to motivate yourself to go out to rent a movie... especially when your friends don't have cars.

I'd rather have internet access than cable TV. We get crappy local reception, but for news, communication, and most other things, I'll take the Internet over television anyday.
posted by gramcracker at 8:53 AM on September 17, 2002

The only reason I download movies is because they're free, it takes far less time and trouble to walk into a rental.
But I do pay for rental movies so it's not entirely impossible would pay for getting a movie over the net, if paying and downloading would be made easy and fast. Which I doubt is going to happen in the immediate future.
posted by lazy-ville at 8:55 AM on September 17, 2002

I'm not saying that this isn't a possibility; just not right now. Perhaps in ten years when a vast percantage of the country has high-speed, it would work. Especially if you could have the ability to make a tangible copy of the download, for example, burn it onto a DVD after downloading. If the enitre process cost less than a few bucks and took less than fifteen minutes to do, I'd be in.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:59 AM on September 17, 2002

I have a cable modem. At this point I have very little interest in buying (or even getting) my movies over it though.

Movies and Music are both entertainment products, and they can both be transmitted digitally. But, for the most part the way I buy and interact with them are still wildly different and I expect they will continue to be different for a long time to come.

I still want movies on shiny discs. Music is a different matter. I want to separate my music from the physical media it has traditionally shipped on. In fact I insist on it and I refuse to buy anymore RIAA product until I can get it that way conveniently and cheaply (with no DRM).

I do applaud the movie industry for being proactive about this. While they continue to advocate for DRM hard-coded into equipment, I've wrestled with whether I should boycott them as well. Probably because they and music are two different products in my mind though, their actions don't piss me off as much as the RIAA actions do, so I continue to buy DVDs where I refuse to buy CDs.
posted by willnot at 10:06 AM on September 17, 2002

XQUZYPHYR, I live in Northern NJ, and Comcast provides fairly reasonably priced cable modem service. Their reliability is, admittedly, crap, but download (alas, not upload) speeds are accceptable.
Both there and here, on campus, as far as I've seen, people are far more likely (in order) to: a) try to grab movie X off of the network/P2P filesharing b) netflix/rent c) see it. For new movies where a) isn't an option yet, I think that this service could fit in very nicely. It's really more about convenience than cost.
posted by teferi at 10:11 AM on September 17, 2002

If video-on-demand (which is basically what we're talking about here) had a catalogue as good as blockbuster, with comparable prices, a video quality level at least as good as cable, and it went into my tv, rather than my PC, it'd be a killer app.

Hell, if all I had to do to check the latest Adam Sandler POS, was press a button, I'd probably watch it during one of those long dark insomniac nights when even MeFi has been bled dry. It doesn't even have to be instant, TiVo pretty much shows that.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:07 AM on September 17, 2002

The current monthly costs of DSL or Cable Modems outweigh the relative cheapness of heading over to Blockbuster once or twice a week.

Not where I live.
posted by rushmc at 11:25 AM on September 17, 2002

XQUZYPHYR, most of the profits on the rental business go to the rental stores, no? They don't pay a per-rental fee back to the studios, they pay once to buy the movie with rights to rent it as often as they want.

willnot, don't you think that's partially because of the options for playing them back? In ten years, when every surface is an OLEP display, you might want to dissociate your videos from your discs.

My real problem for movies is that I have all this movie-watching equipment (large TV, digital surround), and there's currently only one way to get movies to take advantage of it - DVD. Some digital cable stations are starting to offer 5.1 audio and widescreen video, but they're taking a loooooong time to catch up. I don't see video on demand being much better than cable TV in that respect.
posted by Caviar at 11:30 AM on September 17, 2002

if [...] it went into my tv, rather than my PC, it'd be a killer app.

My PC is my TV. And I have DSL anyway. And I'd probably pay for that, and/or a similar, high quality music service.
posted by walrus at 11:34 AM on September 17, 2002

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