Movie piracy is a problem, but it’s not as huge of a problem as music piracy was this past decade. While certainly the size of the movie files and the need for fast broadband connections to get them in a reasonable amount of time plays into it somewhat, also helping is the fact that there are some fairly decent ways to get movies quickly, for a pretty fair price these days. And now Hollywood is apparently trying to change that.
The studios are starting to rally around a horrible new idea: Keeping new releases out of Redbox and more importantly, Netflix for 30 days. Let me repeat that: They think Netflix shouldn’t be able to ship many new movies to you until 30 days after they’re released on DVD.
Now, this doesn’t appear to be set in stone yet for Netflix, as the studios are said to be currently negotiating this with the company, but it is what the studios want. And the strategy is going forward with Redbox, which recently filed a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox over the same issue. And now, with Universal and Warner Brothers getting on board, another lawsuit seems likely.
And in a move that couldn’t be less surprising, Blockbuster is on the wrong side of this. Despite the company having a strategy to do a massive roll-out of kiosks like the ones Redbox has, it is all in favor of the 30-day window, based on comments CEO Jim Keyes made during its Q2 earnings call.
Here’s a revolutionary idea: let people buy movies as soon as they’re released and make it as easy as possible for people to buy movies legally. As Apple proved with the iTunes Store, if you make it easy enough to buy music (or movies) legally and keep the price as low as possible, there will be less reason to pirate music & movies. The majority of people will do whatever is easiest, as long as the price is reasonable.
Sure it will reduce the studios profit margins, but it will mean less piracy and more legal sales. They’ll have to learn to streamline their operation and reduce their distribution costs so they could still make a good profit.