Yesterday I posted about how the music industry innovates. If you caught the drift of the post, it was full of sarcasm around their “innovation” practices.
Seriously the music industry thought it was wise to spend money on an anti-piracy app. Paul McGuiness thought it was time to complain again about Google not doing enough to protect his 1990’s income stream and finally a copyright troll called “Rightscorp” is looking to shakedown people that they identify via IP addresses, even though judges across the world have stated that the IP address doesn’t show who the actual infringer is.
So continuing on with yesterdays innovation theme, what goodies do we have in store today.
First off, the Hollywood Reporter has an article about Voltage Pictures shaking down people that are sharing the “Dallas Buyers Club” movie. For those that don’t know, Voltage Pictures made the headlines 4 years ago for “pioneering” a new breed of copyright troll lawsuits around “mass swarms” of torrent users. However the question needs to be asked, IS piracy really hurting the movie? Wikipedia states that the movie cost $5 million to make. In the US it has grossed over $22 million. Now what Voltage Pictures should be doing is making the movie available to the whole world on the day of it’s release.
Portugal had a cinematic release date of January 16, 2014. Colombia had a cinematic release date of January 24, 2014. The Czech Republic, Netherlands, Singapore and Thailand had a cinematic release date of January 23, 2014. France had a cinematic release date of January 29, 2014 and Italy had a cinematic release date of January 30, 2014. In 2014, Geographical gated releases are stupid. The movie came out in the US in November, 2013. It came out on DVD in the US know in February, 2014. Once the movie is out in a country, it is out to the whole world.
Anyone heard of David Braben. He is known as “The Godfather of Gaming” and at one stage he was a very vocal piracy critic. However he now has a very different view on the issue;
“Piracy, while frustrating, can contribute to game evangelism.”
“It can also help you reach new territories. For example, we are huge in China now. In the old days of silver discs, it would have been impossible to break the whole country. We would have needed an office in every province but through piracy, our games are circulating and fans are now seeking us out.
“Piracy goes hand in hand with sales.”
“If a game is pirated a lot it will be bought a lot. People want a connected experience, so with pirated games we still have a route in to get them to upgrade to real version. And even if someone’s version is pirated, they might evangelise and their mates will buy the real thing.”
As the Techdirt post points out, Braden acknowledges that the piracy of his games is irritating. Every creator and artist can relate to that. However, instead of fighting them, he is putting strategies in place to turn those pirates into customers. His latest project, Frontier: First Encounters, the latest iteration in the “Elite” series was funded via Kickstarter. The initial goal was to raise £1.25m. In the end it raised over £1.5m, however the important part of this, is that once the mainstream media started to report on it, the project got another £700,000+ from investors. And that is what fan funding is all about.
It’s not about the money raised, it is about the marketability of the product. Are people interested in what you have to offer. Protest The Hero fan funded “Volition” and then they got label interest for the physical distribution of the album, along with merchandise interest for the tour.
So while Voltage Pictures are spending their money mobilising their legal teams to capture pirates and make them pay up, David Braden and his company are turning those pirates into loyal customers who are paying up because they want to participate in what Braden has to offer.
Going back to the anti-piracy app launched by the music business, I still can’t believe they actually spent money on that rubbish, especially when you have the company behind the BitTorrent client pushing the boundaries in relation to DIY distribution.
The BitTorrent Bundle has been around for a while and it has been used by various artists and creators to promote their works. Basically it is showing itself as another great distribution product, which gives any creator another way to connect with fans of their content and something to be used in conjunction with Netflix, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.
This is how the entertainment industries fail. They fail to think with a different mindset. Everything is so locked up with profit margins and sales, they fail to see the many opportunities on offer to their creators. While the executive boards of the entertainment industries focus on profits in return they are exercising a poor duty of care to their creators, who are the ones that actually make money for them.
No one wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves, “I want to hear some music from Universal artists” or “I want to watch a movie from Fox Studios” or “I want to read a book from Titan Books” or “I want to watch a TV show from HBO”.
We wake up with the mindset of “I want to hear Lynch Mob” or “I want to watch Star Wars” or “I want to read “Darth Bane: Path To Destruction” or “I want to watch “Game Of Thrones”.
In Australia, there has been outrage about how HBO signed an exclusive only deal with our only PAY TV provider FOXTEL for “Game Of Thrones”. Basically, if an Australia resident doesn’t have the stupid and expensive PAY TV contract in place, they cannot watch “Game of Thrones”.
So of course, Australians download it. Illegally.
However if you dig deep into HBO’s exclusive rights deal with FOXTEL, you will see that HBO really doesn’t care about “Game Of Thrones” being locked up behind a paywall. The reason why HBO doesn’t care is that they make a shit load on the DVD/BluRay sales in Australia. The profit margins from a DVD and a BluRay sale are exactly what HBO wants.
So while the entertainment business are trying to teach the consumers that piracy is bad, the technologists (like BitTorrent) are innovating even further and are providing creators even more options to distribute their product and connect with fans.
As David Braden stated; “It (piracy) can also help you reach new territories.” and “It can lead to an increase in sales.”
And that is what HBO is very aware of. They have seen the results, especially in Australia. PIRACY of “Game of Thrones” has led to huge sales of the DVD/Blu-ray releases of each series.
Finally, while the recording industry screams piracy, one of their own executives is accused of using major label money to fund an extravagant lifestyle. While the recording industry ignores innovative ideas like “BitTorrent Bundles”, the ones that do embrace them are seeing their products reach millions of users. For the record the most downloaded torrent for 2013, was a legal one.
The sad thing in all of this is the artist/creator. They are the ones that actually create the content that the people want. When they get into bed with a record label, it rarely ends well for them as the record label is only interested in profits RIGHT NOW.
They don’t care about the exposure that other distribution channels can offer them, which could lead to increased sales in the long term.