Hollywood's Disgruntled Acceptance of Piracy & the Internet - For Now

First and foremost, piracy is piracy.  Theft is theft.  If you steal content (watch without paying) from any studio, it's theft.  And no, theft doesn't involve getting up off your butt and going out to steal.  Now a days, you can steal without ever leaving the cozy confines of your couch and laptop. Yet folks out there seem to think that stealing content that is for sale through legal, proper means, is O.K..  And I've seen some whopper excuses for being thieves.  And you folks should be comedians.

I'm not sure I get that mindset, except to note that once I'm done writing this piece, I'm going to go out and steal a Lamborghini to see if I want to buy one.  But before I do that, I thought I'd pull up some facts from an infographic that the website Paralegal has produced.  It's pretty interesting.  (Actually, if I stole a car, I would feel guilty about it and pressured into buying it later... without question.)

In a nutshell, it addresses how "Hollywood" is tackling (or not) the issue of piracy.  Because when you look at piracy and the venue in which it's procured, is a two-edged sword for studios.

On one hand, the internet is the place where they are "losing" their money.  They're still finding it hard to monetize and have sponsors/advertisers pile on.  Yet, that same internet is where a huge majority of their free marketing comes from.  Free marketing, as in websites and blogs like this one, that try to capitalize on TV news or movie news with parroting (repeating) the news of the day.

But aside from that, there's this 'infographic' that Paralegal produced and in it they point out that New Jersey used to be the center of the movie industry.  That is, until heavy copyrighting of equipment use pushed filmmakers out of Jersey, and into Hollywood!  But this was so they could pirate some equipment.  Which I find so very fascinating that Hollywood got started by the pirating of copyrighted material.

The graphic then points to a revenue breakdown for Hollywood:

  • DVD sales: 20%;
  • Movie Theater Fees and Charges: 26%;
  • Movie Ticket Sales: 37%.

As you can see, Hollywood double-taps the movie theater owners!

And Hollywood made $87 billion last year.  Which is how some of them can drop $10 billion on a single season of TV advertising for just the major networks alone.  (Never mind that schools are losing funding, hence, teachers getting laid off left and right.)

Paralegal's infographic goes on to point out how Disney made Snow White off of public domain material, but clamped down and restricts how others use their material.  So the practice of how material is pulled together and redistributed is still in active play!

And then we get to the pirating issue of movies.

I Do NOT PIRATE MOVIES. But what's interesting is as Paralegal presents the most pirated movies list, these same movies seem to also be the huge profit-making blockbusters in the sales world.

Avatar has reaped in almost $3B, The Dark Knight, a cool $1B and so forth.  It's a fascinating and slippery slope, but in the long run, it seems to pay off.

For Hollywood, they are slowly but surely embracing the internet.  But the slow embrace is related to how they can capitalize the web for their marketing partners and monetize it, much like websites like mine do. But the kind of monetization I do is "willing participation."  If you want to follow an ad link off to the side there, you are free to do so, but don't have to and I don't force you to suffer ads attached to images or what not.  (That's just insidiously annoying and greedy.)

With Hollywood, you sometimes don't get a choice, and it was proven we're willing to deal with it!

  • Networks these days are freezing the fast-forward buttons on VoD (Except for the uber-cool CBS... for now.).
  • Ads are louder.  (And bite me if you throw your technical crap at me. THEY ARE LOUDER to my ears.)
  • Ads in streaming content is a forced issue and can't be escaped from by you, the consumer.

Early last year The CW TV network proved that consumers were willing to put up with ads in their content, because they still flocked to the content.  (So our fellow man screwed us over on this one!)  So everyone else saw it was OK to go in that direction.

But it's all in the end game, to make money as milestones such as the following encourage the studios...

  • NBC streaming the Super Bowl, pulled in an additional 2 million viewers.
  • Hulu has made over $400M with around 1.5M subscribers to Hulu Plus.
  • Netflix has 20 million subscribers and
  • Digital movie sales have doubled in 2011, accounting for over $3B in sales.  (Did I mention how schools everywhere are losing money.  A school in an old neighborhood of mine just lost 8 teachers last week.  But I digress.)
But I get digital movie sales.  I also get that this venue will probably replace DVDs as time goes on, because face it, how often do you rewatch a DVD movie you've purchased?

Despite the quick fizzle of SOPA, Hollywood has sent a message to the politicos of the world...  at least that's what I see when I read the following quote the infographic points out:

"Those who count on quote "Hollywood" for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake.  Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake."  Chriss Dodd, MPAA CEO.

Ziiing!  Though I must admit, wanting to add more money to a movie that's pulled in $3B, seems hungry or hungrier for more...  and yet, despite efforts to take down some select pirating websites, others just pop up and take their place, and web traffic related to pirating doesn't even flinch.

Until the law gets truly serious about pirating, content pirating is here to stay.  As long as lawyers can argue that your laptop that you never let anyone else use, could potentially be used by someone else to watch illegal downloads, it's going to continue too.

Hell, I'm betting as biometrics become more the way of accessing your laptops/smartphones, etc, things will change for the online pirate.  Because if you have to use your thumbprint to use your computer, it's going to be hard to argue that someone else stole the movie you did. 

But then again, I know biometrics probably won't scare off movie pirates and their mindsets of entitlement.  I can tell, because so many are so willing to go online and brag about their piracy.  When Wolverine hit the web before it got to movie theaters, I was so amazed at the brazen words spun out from that situation on various bulletin boards.  It was like folks admitting guilt, freely, for all to see.  But then again, we can't prove they said that.  Right?

Gimme a break.

Any now, as the saying goes, it takes a few to screw it up for the many, and it will. 

One day the honest consumer will probably be finding themselves going through extra hoops to get new content to their devices and it will be what it is, because of how our fellow consumer behaved.  Whether it's in accepting online ads (that are louder, even online), to new-fangled methods to getting streaming movies, the many will have the few to thank.


Source:  http://www.paralegal.net/hypocrisy-in-hollywood/ 
(It's a fascinating infographic, with more content if you're interested.)