I Never Want To Buy Hollywood Again. Period.

“The economics of the motion picture industry are based on exclusive release windows which allow price differentiation; that is, some earlier transactions take place at higher price points,” Freeman said.

The above is a quote from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, which is a Cali business trade group.

The above is also stupid. You can’t legislate an unvalued business model forever.

Here is the original article; it made me laugh a bit, and think about Redbox vending machines.

I’ve observed several things about Redbox Rentals.

  1. I’ve never used one, but the kiosks fascinate my kids when we are at the grocery store.
  2. My mom loves them; the instant-gratification even trumps Netflix sometimes for her.
  3. If you have a business in which a 4000 square-foot store can be replaced by a red vending machine or the US Postal Service, you do not have a business, you are going out of business.

The law can be stupid; I have no idea if Redbox can can or will win their court fight with the studios; I stopped ascribing common sense to the legal interpretation of technology when the My.Mp3.com case was decided.

More annoying is the quote later in the first article:

This report comes on the heels of our earlier story about Hollywood […] trying to drive consumers to buy DVDs and Blu Rays instead of renting them.

Listen to me, Hollywood. Listen well.

I never want to buy your product again. I have no interest in owning Terminator: Salvation, or an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Spare me from ever owning your transient product ever again. Unlike music, I never want to own a large library of Film and Television works — I have an actual library for that.

I hate walking through Target and seeing acres of plastic discs; nothing is sadder than the $5 copy of Love Actually.

I positively loathe the iTunes store, with its ridiculous insistence on purchase-only for television episodes (and a majority of movies). Would I really watch the twelfth Bones or ninth Numb3rs episode again in a couple of years? I think not. Yet, because we failed to TiVo it a couple years ago, I own an episode of the sorely missed Life; I’ll own it forever, dammit. (And you can bet I’ll never be allowed to sell it to someone else — horrors!)

Music, we like to buy music. It has a performance quality to it that is timeless; people really do build their own soundtracks to life. It is no accident that the money for musicians is in live performance; each show is new all over again. This Steely Dan concert will be different than the last. That difference is precious. The recorded music tides a fan over, keeps them hooked for the next concert. You might listen to an album a hundred times before going to a concert, or you might never go, but the music serves as a teaser for the finer object, the live show.

But television and film works, being narrative-based (mostly), derive nearly all of their value from their initial performance. Once you have seen it once or at most twice, its value to you drops precipitously. It devalues. How can it not? The ending will never change. The plot might thicken, but it will thicken the same way with each viewing. You can admire the performances, but by the tenth time you see a show, it  is no longer making much of an impact.

You never see a film twice for the first time.

If I can’t rent it, I won’t watch it. Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, cable OnDemand, I am done with buying your product. Rent to me or go away.

Addendum: Note that Hollywood has the opportunity and technology to make malleable works, with variable plot lines, randomized twists, etc. That they might be able to sell.

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