I have this lurking concern that I’m falling for a belated April Fool’s Date gag, but it seems that the Hollywood cartel, recognizing that the cat has left the bag, is going to start selling movies online for download.
I’ve reported before about Movielink (owned by the Hollywood cartel), where you can rent movies online for a few dollars a piece. Once you download the movie, you have around a month to begin watching it and 24 hours after you start watching it to finish it. Although it takes forever to download a movie (and that assumes a broadband connection), this is a good way to put movies on your laptop or Tablet PC for airports and airplanes.
The four people who really want to watch movies over and over on their computers have complained that the download service is a drag because of the time limits on starting and stopping the movie.
So the Hollywood cartel is going to give them what they want.
Now instead of the few bucks you pay to rent newly released DVDs from Netflix, Movielink or your neighborhood video store, you can download them from the Hollywood cartel on the day the DVD is released. For a mere “$20 to $30.”
New release DVDs cost around $20 to $25 to buy. Plus, those DVDs can be played on stand-alone DVD players, watched on TVs and used to pacify kids during long car trips.
So the downloads cost around $5 more, even though they cost around $5 less to distribute via download.
But if you meet these requirements:
1) You have a lot of money and don’t mind wasting it;
2) You want to be the first on your block to watch a newly released DVD (waiting a few days is just not an option for you);
3) You want to watch the same movies over and over on your computer;
4) You are reasonably computer proficient; and
5) You have a broadband internet connection at home (no tying up company resources for this),
then the Hollywood cartel has a treat in store for you.
Warren N. Lieberfarb, the former president of Warner Home Video and now an entertainment technology consultant, hit the nail on the head:
They are giving the consumer less and charging more for it. To me this really stacks the deck against mass consumer adoption.
The Hollywood cartel and its cousin, the record label cartel, don’t give a hoot about the consumer. They are only concerned with extending the inevitable decline of their distribution monopolies by making the consumer overpay and/or pay multiple times.
This is just more smoke and mirrors designed to extract more revenue from the same product.
My prediction is that this is met with a collective yawn by the movie buying public.