"Piracy" Isn't a Problem, It's an Opportunity

The big movie studios will tell you that "piracy" is a huge problem.

And they'll tell you that the solution to their problem requires more laws and regulation of the internet.

While it's undoubtedly true that the studios are losing revenue when content is shared illegally online - I suspect that the studios' problem 1) won't be solved by more laws and regulations and 2) may require a new type of thinking about how to monetize online content.

My thoughts are not just ideological musings, there is evidence that many so-called "pirates" will actually pay for content when that content is legally and reliably available.

Once customer expectations (new films on demand anywhere and anytime from the cloud) are met by paid services, it seems that the demand for illegal copies begins to dry up.

This is great news for the motion picture business, because it suggests the best new revenue model for the studios since the multibillion dollar home-video business came along back in the 1970s. (Remember the way the studios fought home-video back then?)

Yes... this is a disruptive time. Many workers who made their living in the world of physical copies of motion pictures will lose their jobs - if they haven't already been pink-slipped. But there is also enormous opportunity.

As Professor Janet H. Murray suggests in a provocative blogpost, fortunes will be made: "Who will come up with the right combination of encyclopedic archives, immediate availability, reliable delivery, and reasonable pricing that will turn a global media piracy crisis into a global digital market?"

Whoever figures out the new-films-on-demand-anywhere-and-anytime-from-the-cloud business model might just become a billionaire...

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Randy Finch's Film Blog:

Thoughts from a film producer about making and distributing films.