Every time I turn around, somebody else is trying to stuff the cat back into the bag, make the world stop turning, hold back the tide, stop the evolution of media distribution. That sort of thing.
Now it’s the National Association of Theater Owners (a new kind of NATO), who show the movies made by the constituents of the other famous cat stuffer, the MPAA. This NATO is all a tither because Steven Soderbergh’s new movie, Bubble, is being released in the theaters, to cable and satellite and on DVD at the same time. The horror!
I suppose this NATO is compelled by its charter to join the fray since the MPAA, the RIAA and all sorts of other AA’s are engaged in a full fledged war against all sorts of enemies of their long-standing monopoly on how we receive our media.
Mark Cuban posts a great rebuttal to the gyrations of John Fithian, Commander in Chief of this NATO, who basically said western civilization would crumble if someone got to watch a new movie at home without paying $7.99 for popcorn and $5.99 for a coke.
Mark’s nail on the head comment was:
How sad is it when the President of the National Assoc of Theater Owners doesn’t think his members can create a better movie going experience than what we can see in our houses and apartments ?
That’s just it. When you control the distribution channels, you don’t have to worry about the experience. If you want to see a movie, you have to go to the theater. That’s why so many theaters, at least around my neck of the woods, have fallen into a mild state of disrepair. And of course it’s also the reason why popcorn is priced like caviar.
Mark also pointed out most pro sports games are on TV (live, not 6 months later); that even good cooks like to eat out; and that people still buy stuff from bricks and mortar stores. Great points all.
Mark sums up the difference in his approach and the one this NATO is trying so hard to hold onto:
It didn’t take me long to realize that the business of the Mavericks was not selling basketball, it was selling a fun night out and creating a favorable brand identification with our team and our players, with the hope that people would be excited to buy merchandise, products and services from us.
Mark then tells this NATO, in fine detail, exactly how to fix their problems before home theaters and Netflix put them out of business (basically by picking movies that appeal to your demographics and creating a better experience, but read his post because it is very well reasoned and enlightening).
Will this NATO do it? Not likely as long as they keep obsessing on the catless bag.