How Hollywood is Losing Sales...and it's not to Piracy

Today, I realised that my aged rip of The Iron Giant was looking a little long in the tooth. Blown up to full screen on my 24" monitor was showing every little compression trick in the book.

Before anyone gets up in arms, I ripped my Special Edition DVD that I bought before DVDs came with digital downloads and before BluRay was even invented. So save your letters and phone calls.

My daughter and her cousins love watching the movie. They're all under four. They've watched it, or parts of it, about 17 times in the past five days. It's the new Cinderella.

So back to the rough lookin' rip.

I thought it'd be great to buy an HD version thru iTunes. It'd sync to the Apple TV (1st gen) and everyone and their laptops could benefit. So I head to my wife's Graphite G4 (still works like a charm) to buy it thru iTunes. (IG was currently playing on my machine for my daughter). Very quickly I find it and look for the link to the HD version. This is what I was presented with:

Screen_shot_2012-03-04_at_8

 

Despite my first world problem I do not own an iPad.

At present, to buy something on my Apple TV I'd have to go downstairs, turn on the ancient projector, (oh boohoo, i know) setup the screen, possibly screw around with the AppleTV interface should it not be snycing properly with my iTunes AND leave my 2.5 year old unattended for more than 10 minutes.

Soo, no. Not gonna do it.

Lost sale.

Amazon, here it come.................Long story short: couldn't find it. Live in Canada. Couldn't buy and download. If. I. Could.

Lost sale.

Bit Torrent. Found it easy. Before I had taken my hand off the Return Key at least 10 options presented themselves.

But no. I did that just to prove a point for this article.

I'm a collector and like the special features. I live for the special features even though my wife calls me 'freak', rolling her eyes as she walks away.

I want to support the work of these brilliant artists and - just to stick it to Warner's for screwing up the ad campaign for IG all those years ago - give them my money.

But no. They won't let me.

iTunes will let me give them money. Amazon will let me give them money. But not for this movie.

Just because it's a 13 year old movie, should they even concern themselves with it? Have they read Chris Anderson's The Long Tail? Someone in Hollywood must have.

Here I am, ready to plunk down $20 (or more) to get a fully featured copy in HD of a 13 year old film. One of the greatest films in the last 13 years (or more).

And Hollywood won't let me.

What I know of iTunes Extras' features is that it's built out of HTML and CSS. Easy peasy, I'm sure, compared to formatting those features for DVD and BluRay. I discovered that even the mediocre film Anger Management comes with iTunes Extras (lost the movie choice that night). They were mediocre Extras to be sure. I watched them.

I know I'm just a statistic in the eyes of Hollywood. But the funny thing about statistics: we add up.

Recently, a study showed that piracy cost Hollywood about 7% of their overseas boxoffice. Seven. Percent.

I can guarantee you that the long tail will take care of that 7% inside of a month. I don't need a study to confirm it.

The unfunny thing is I don't care about release windows, cable TV VOD options, Netlix streaming, Amazon Instant, or the iTunes Store. If my kids would let me, I'd be in the theatre on opening night to see all the crazy superhero movies Hollywood keeps throwing at me. I eat that crap UP! I PAY FOR IMAX TICKETS.

But for those nights when my wee ones are teething or constipated or sick, and the wife and I have a small window to veg out before exhaustion and sleep take us over, we'd love to watch something new.

Here's my perfect Hollywood scenario:

Fade in:

INT. - Living Room

TITLE: Friday, March 9, 2012, 8:40pm

Two incredibly good looking yet exhausted people sit on a couch. They're husband and wife. Lit by the glow of their MEDIA PROJECTOR, Mr. Tired And Good Looking reaches for the small APPLE REMOTE and points it randomly around the room until a familiar BOOP sounds.

Mr. TAGL

So. You ready for John Carter?

Mrs. TAGL

I don't care. (yawns)

Mr. TAGL

It's directed by the dude who did Finding Nemo.

Mrs. TAGL

Yeah. Fine. Go.

Mr. TAGL pushes the button on the remote.

CUT TO:

FULL SCREEN of John Carter page on iTunes store: The RENT BUTTON clicks.

A title shows: Downloading John Carter.....

Momentarily, another title shows: John Carter is ready for viewing.

CUT TO:

Mr. TAGL pushes PLAY on the remote. The film starts playing.

To screen right a baby monitor fires up it's red lights.

Baby VO

WHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

Mr. TAGL

Who's turn is it?

Mrs. TAGL

Yours.

Mr. TAGL

No it's no--

Mrs. TAGL

Yours.

Mr. TAGL

Dammit.

Mr. TAGL gets up and runs up the stairs.

Mr. TAGL (VO)

Pause it!

Mrs. TAGL

Helloooo Mr. Riggins.

FADE OUT.

 

You see? Hollywood just made another $10 on John Carter's opening night. And that adds up.


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