Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yakko, Wacko and their sister BS

I wish the movie company was more like their namesake toons. It was recently announced that Warner Bros. (sans sister Dot) have strong armed Netflix into increasing the time it must wait before it has access to new releases. The new waiting period is 56 days, up from the previous 28 days. Warner Bros. reasoning behind this change is that “Since we implemented a 28-day window for subscription and kiosk, we have seen very positive results with regard to our sell-through business”. Now I am not someone who buys a great deal of DVDs or Blurays but I will when I feel that I will watch the film repeatedly and I will now certainly rethink purchasing any from Warner Bros. The wife and I are avid Netflix users, mainly to catch up on cable tv shows. We ditched cable last year due to the cost increasing every few months and haven't looked back since. This waiting period screams of the movie companies once again failing to grow with the times. It harkens back to the 1980's when movie companies claimed that VHS would prove the death knell of their entire industry. Instead of embracing new technologies to provide additional ways to bring their media to the consumer, they try to crush it as quickly as possible. Eventually the movie companies fold to the new technologies by providing substandard solutions that allow them to keep an iron grip on the properties. In the case of Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, and other sites of the same ilk, the movie industry wants you to embrace UltraViolet. A service chock full of digital rights management, where they store the films that you buy and allow you to stream them free of charge....for a year. After that additional fees may incur. That's awfully nice of them to allow the consumer the right to watch the movie that they purchased at least for a year.

The film industry would love nothing more then to have the consumer give up on physical media all together. Netflix is attempting to do this but are making far too much money in the eyes of the movie studios. The studios are blaming the rise of Netflix, Redbox, et al, on their decrease in overall revenues and loses in the DVD/Bluray markets. Perhaps they should take a step back and insert some logic into the equation. Last year Warner Bros. studios released films such as Valentine's Day, Jonah Hex, Sex and the City 2 and Green Lantern. I'm confident that these are the four horsemen of the filmocalypse. They shall be the harbingers of our movie watching doom, only to spawn more sequels and destroy our good taste in films. Though their exists a few bright spots to combat the darkness, i.e. Inception, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1 and 2, and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the crap thoroughly outnumbers the good. And with Joyful Noise and Magic Mike (seriously look at the plot), I feel our movie time on this world is running short.

When they are not blaming Netflix, they blame piracy. Just do a google search for MPAA and lawsuits and you'll find numerous stories of the movie industry suing the pants off of 60 year old women, who have no idea what a torrent is, because their son didn't secure their home's wireless network. However, the more they crush legal services (and sources of revenue for them), like Netflix the more people are going to turn to shadier places to acquire their films. Consumers aren't using Blockbuster, and Redbox because they're fine upstanding citizens that want to reward the movie studios with their hard earned money. They're using these services because they are easy and relatively affordable. Certainly more affordable then taking the family to the theaters. The harder the industry makes it to use media that the consumer wants to pay for, the easier it will be for them to find it in other less then legal forums. Of course with Congress deliberating on SOPA, maybe an increase in movie piracy is exactly what the studios are looking for...

Basically to make a long story short (I know, too late), the movie studios are the crotchety old men from Trading Places (great movie, I wonder if it's on Netflix)...
Yakko(left) and Wacko(right) after the studios got to them

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