I’ve previously written about the artificial scarcity created by the movie industry through the tiered release windows between theaters, DVD’s and online streaming. Albert Wenger wrote a really great post a little while ago that points out not only the fallacies in this model, but also his theory on the actual improvement of the entire value chain if the movie industry would retire their current release window. An excerpt:
One of the great sacred cows of the movie business has been the theatrical release window. First a movie is only in theatrical release. Then there may be a period where it is only on DVD. And finally it may be everywhere including various online options. Over the years the theatrical release window has compressed as described for instance in this 2009 Wharton piece. But it still exists and I believe is a major contributor to piracy. Maintaining a theatrical release window is really the perfect example of imposing artificial scarcity.
Later on in the article Albert makes a point that I discussed with Alex over a lunch break while we explored music consumption behavior on the axis between streaming/renting vs/ owning/buying.
The current degree of illegal downloading is higher than it would be if legal copies were readily accessible at a reasonable price. Eliminating the theatrical release window would likely reduce not increase illegal downloads.
I never illegally download music, unless a release is not available for streaming and I really want to hear it. And in that case I’ll buy it if I love it, otherwise I’ll delete it. But even in that scenario, more often than not I end up not downloading it illegally either, choosing to simply forget about it and ignore it in favor of the gazillion releases available for legal streaming that I’ve paid for already. There is an abundance of music out there, so unless you’re a once-in-a-lifetime genius you need to be where the customers like to listen, which sooner than later will be streaming services like Rdio and Spotify for the mainstream populace beyond the early adopters as well.
- One World (Or The Inelegant Sadness Of Lost Transactions) (read)
- Help Your Customer (Or Fighting Them Means Losing Them) (read)