So this is interesting: the MPAA wants the FCC to sign off on tech that would let them give you first-run films direct to you in your homes. The tech the MPAA wants is anti-piracy stuff that will, like the FBI warning and the MPAA We Will Find You and Kill You and Your Pets If You Copy This opening on DVDs, annoy and waste the time of normal consumers while real pirates will crack the code and bypass it anyway.
I’m not concerned about the fist fight this sets up between the MPAA and your local cinema. Yes, your local cinema, which sees this as just another reason for you to Not Show Up on their doorstep to buy their overpriced popcorn.
Here’s what really blows my mind. MPAA chair-CEO Dan Glickman had this to say about the plight of your local cinema.
That’s right: the major reasons for you not going to the local cinema? 1. You have young children. 2. You live in the middle of nowhere. 3. You are disabled.
I’m sure these reasons cover some people. I can’t speak for #3, but I know that having young children doesn’t appear to keep parents out of the cinema where I live…especially if it’s R-rated…they’ll just drag the little buggers along for the ride. And #2 I can’t really speak to except to say that my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama has a better cinema than the Atlanta metro area. So sure, if you live in Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, then there’s not a multiplex nearby. (Although apparently there’s an IMAX cinema.)
But the major reason, Mr. Glickman, that we don’t go to the cinema as often as we used to is we’re given no compelling reason to go. Not “we just can’t make it.” On one hand, we’re faced with paying $20 (and that’s lowballing it) to get a couple into the cinema, then another $10 for food (if we were foolish enough not to eat before we went), then having to deal with the aforementioned rude bastards who bring their two-year-olds and then don’t cart them out when they start getting loud, then having to deal with hauling ourselves over there through whatever traffic there might be, then having to deal with being bombarded with ads because we were smart and got there early enough to get good seats, then on and on and on. Oh, and there’s the fact that a lot of what’s playing is, frankly, not worth the $20, much less all the added hassle. Especially when I know that for that same $20-$30, in about three months I’ll be able to own the DVD, usually with bonus features, and I can watch that whenever I please.
On the other hand, there’s Netflix. There’s the DVDs on my shelf I still haven’t watched. There’s console games. There’s hanging out online. There’s blogging. Hell, I hear there’s still television worth watching and some folks–no, seriously–some folks read. And I’m not even getting creative with the things that “making it to the theater” is up against. But I speak with a lot of people who love movies–and unless you’ve got something where it’s absolutely, positively see-on-the-first-weekend, big-screen-wow stuff–you can forget it.
So you can tinker about with your delivery model all you want–I just don’t want you surprised when (if the price is comparable to the $20+ ticket price to actually go there) you don’t get much of an uptick in sales. Because why would I want to “rent” a DRM-ridden digital copy of Transformers 2 when I could just easily save some dough and buy it when it comes out on DVD? Or better yet, buy it used? Or even better yet…not watch the damn thing in the first place?