Tuesday, November 03, 2009

shiver me timbers

"60 Minutes" had an interesting story on movie piracy on Sunday night. The report shows how the bad guys sneak video cameras into movie theatres, often hiding them in strollers or diaper bags and using their families to help avoid suspicion. Even here in Knoxville, a security team at advance promotional screenings prohibits audience members from bringing cell phones with cameras into the theatre.

The video pirates sit in the back row where their cameras pick up crowd noises and the silhouettes of people in front. Leslie Stahl asked why anyone would buy a DVD with such poor quality. An expert responded that buyers are not quality-conscious and that they want to pay very little for their entertainment.

In addition to bad DVDs, the pirates are distributing movies online via BitTorrent. The Internet file-sharing brings to mind the problems the music industry faced when Napster first came on the scene. Back then, they would overcharge consumers for albums on CD when the fans actually wanted singles. iTunes came along and dropped the price of a hit song to 99¢ and people gladly paid.

For a time, the movie studios got it right. While a music CD had filler songs we didn't want, DVDs were packed with fancy extras that added value. Plus, the price of a cool DVD was about the same as the price of a lame CD. Now they are trying to get us to buy the same movies we already have in a new, Blu-ray Disc format. They also jerk us around by adding or changing the extra features and releasing new "collector's editions" or "director's cuts."

I suspect that the studios and theatres will use piracy as an excuse to raise ticket prices yet again. What would happen if the studios dropped the price of admission to be the same or less than the cost of a pirated DVD? It would put the pirates out of business and have movie fans lined up at the multiplex.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate downloading songs! Plus, they never have the stuff that I want. "Today's Hits" mostly suck, so I reach back into the past for the good music. Back then, there wasn't any "filler" on albums; people bought ALBUMS because Led Zeppelin and The Beatles and The Rollings Stones were QUALITY from song #1 to song #14.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i grew up in CA (east bay) and remember $1.50 nighttime movies at the first-string theaters. i remember being appalled when the price suddenly jumped to $3.00

this is apropos to nothing. just ...just amazed at the $8.50 or more that they are now, never mind taking out a home equity line to get your popcorn and candy...




Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home