Sunday 13 December 2009

What exactly do movie studios think they are doing?

I like watching movies. A lot.
So my typical movie usage scenario might go somewhat like this:
  1. I go to the movies. Nothing like the big screen and thundering audio with no wife around to tell you to turn it down already :)
  2. I go to the movie rental shop and rent the movie
  3. I buy a DVD with the movie
  4. I watch the movie on TV
Not all movies go through all these actions, in fact very few go through two of them in my case. With today's Hollywood Special FX and no story products it's a wonder even that happens.
Very few movies see me buy a DVD, most of them are blockbusters. Well, European movies are a bit different. Very few are blockbusters but quite a few are definitely worth owning :)

Every single one of those actions requires the consumer to pay percentage to the movie industry. So that means that I need to pay for the movie up to four times! Well, at least action #3 (buying a DVD) lets me watch the movie as many times as I want.

Which brings me to the following "calculation":
I have to pay to watch a single movie up to:
+4 - 8€ (cinema)
+1 - 2€ (rental)
+10 - 40€ (buy)
+change (view on TV)
This totals from practically free (TV) to 50€ per one single movie per, say, family if it's really good.

I've spent a total of 460€ on movie purchases this year. And it wasn't all that many movies come to think of it. I got 21 movies for that money which averages to 22€ per movie (blu rays are a bit more expensive). If there wasn't for packs, I wouldn't have gotten away this "cheap".
Practically every one of those movies I also went to see in Cinema, some of them I also watched on TV. I must admit not to have rented any of these particular titles.
I would have spent even some 30 - 40€ more if I was able to get my hands on LOTR blu ray, but I couldn't - which made my wallet very happy / less starved.

This is one heck of a lot of money to give for 21 movies in my opinion.

No wonder Hollywood is all freaked about piracy. With these prices I can't really blame anyone for pirating. This is beyond ridiculous. Just how much do they want me to pay them? One month's salary? No? Two months? How much then? I do need to eat too, you know?

Instead of prolonging this rant I propose content owners to finally accept and embrace modern day technology. I don't care about the boxes in my closet, they are just gathering dust now. Though I must admit some of them are pretty. OK, OK, pretty much all of them are nice to look at. :)
Movies should be legally downloadable - in highest quality and without and stupid show stoppers like DRM. Movies can already be illegally downloaded non DRMed before they hits the shops so it's completely pointless to try to "protect" the legal downloads. Personalized, maybe, but nothing that might interfere with playback in any way. It's easy to encode purchaser's e-mail address into the movie every x > 50 frames and this is a completely adequate "protection" even though with today's trojans and other malware even this would prove nothing since the user's computer might have been compromised and the movie files simply published to the internet.
There would still be plenty of opportunities for studios to make money:
Sell movie at base price, say 4€
Sell extended version for 1€ more
Sell director's cut, uncut, etc versions for 1€ more each
Sell extras for 1€ more
etc, etc.
There's plenty of money to be made here and with *reasonable* prices, I'm sure a lot more people would buy movies too. Currently these prices just make almost everyone to just wait for the movie to appear on TV or go rent it. I don't think pirating is as high as RIAA would like to show. With rental prices so low it just doesn't make sense.

So turn around a bit faster guys!!! You're losing money because I simply can't buy your movies (no stock / not correct version / not high quality, etc).