I have never understood what the difference between recording something off the television and downloading the same program was. Other than the latter being vaguely trackable.
From the time that video recording and playback was possible in the homes and we were no longer dependent on television broadcasters, radio and even movie theatres to program when we we watch or listen, experience basically, the movie, TV and music content. We could be like mini-broadcasters and program our own entertainment on our schedule.
With entertainment all being digitized – in no small part to the Star Trek franchises, spoiling us with visions of future interactive holo-suites where anything we could experience in real life being programmable and on-demand – its a given that cultural products be readily available for our entertainment.
But consumers are in a clash with the manufacturer/distributors of the cultural products – books, movies, music, television, games.
We need to revamp the system in which people create something and a large company copies and distributes it for sale, keeping the majority share of the profits for it’s efforts.
Under this system, the consumer pays the most while the creator is compensated the least – and the middle people benefit the most for putting their fingers on someone else’s work in exchange for manufacture, distribution and marketing. Not a small part when works had to be made into physical objects.
But, as many stores are following the bank’s Auto Teller Machine model of reducing the number of teller/clerks by making it possible for customers to do their own banking – so too are major chain stores allowing cashiers to be reduced and replaced by customers who self-check out by scanning their own purchases.
So too can the movie, television, music, game and book – anyone who produces content that can be digitized, shift the distribution model directly to the consumer.
People are willing to download and access content on playback devices or burnt to CD or DVD. Any particular item is no longer limited to how many copies can be produced, but however many can be downloaded.
Amazon is moving towards a subscription model for books and the other entertainment industries should be following their lead instead of going after consumers for downloading.
Companies needs to look at how people are willing to access material and monetize that.
Don’t charge anymore for this song or that movie, but rather, a monthly subscription for access to the library of works of a given studio. Either on a unlimited or pay per view/listen/play/read model. There’s no limit to the types of accounts that could be created.
We are not far from when the home computer and television will be one device that is central to home entertainment and entertainment bundles are offered through cable services to access movies, music, games and television.
Instead of creating a hostile environment between consumers and providers, which is what the attempts to prevent piracy now by charging individuals – open up the vaults and let the content be available in downloadable, high quality secure torrenting via subscription by the GB or monthly access.
The studios can continue to beat at the pirates, or they can outwit them and convert the piracy model into the new business model of allowing consumers to do the heavy lifting and just rake in the subscription profits.
It’s less upstart cost than building manufacturing capacity and distribution networks. For historic content, the marketing is already in place for long tail distribution and word of mouth.
As Telus discovered with their 2005 advertising campaign, the public taste is fickle and creates their own hot commodities as the 1960’s novelty tune “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas” used in their ad campaign caused a British Columbia wide demand for the song and anything hippo related.