But copyright licensing gives the programmers (many of whom are vertically integrated with cable/broadband access providers) the ultimate say over who gets to (legally) put programming online. this gives the programmers considerable input into how the business model will evolve. Which is why, as Hulu explained in their blog post back in February (which I expect to disappear as soon as the Video Powers That Be realize that such a frank admission of market power seriously undercuts their stated position that the internet is the ultimate competitor to every video or audio service), Hulu decided to block access to its content by Boxee despite the fact that Hulu “realize that there is no immediate win here for users”:
Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes. While we stubbornly believe in this brave new world of media convergence — bumps and all — we are also steadfast in our belief that the best way to achieve our ambitious, never-ending mission of making media easier for users is to work hand in hand with content owners. Without their content, none of what Hulu does would be possible, including providing you content via Hulu.com and our many distribution partner websites.
In other words, Cuban is right when he points out to the CEO of Boxee that programmers aren’t stupid, so anyone wanting to distribute programming needs to stop thinking about the supposed inevitable march of technology and start trying to cut some deals that keep the current players happy. Mind you, this does not mean that video will disappear from the internet. You will still get to see all the dramatic chipmunks and other video clips you desire. But, if this goes on, it seems unlikely that internet distribution will become a competitor to cable or other MVPDs.
With that Feld points out that the carriers still have sufficient clout to knock off advancing services from MythTV and Boxee. Both being the equivalent of Open Source STB’s that can store video content. [That a smart carrier might embrace one of these projects to enhance their bottom line is an offer for a different post.] But it does point out that regardless of technology’s march, the presence of copyright law and licensing agreements can stand in the way of its use.
Now here is the odd ball question I wish to pose. Do the likes of the MPAA really care where the money comes from? So long as they get paid? I would think not. Not only that but the likes of Sony and Time Warner have rumbled in the past that they might market their own TVoIP channels. Another words by pass of the cable cos. So I see no reason that the MPAA could not come up with a annual subscription to content for $100/yr and the api to support it.
The cable companies would scream bloody murder of course. But it is as a legitimate contractual agreement as those between the cable cos and the production houses. Its just Thomas Friedman’s Earth is Flat model. Will it happen? Not in the short term. And if it does, maybe not with the major production houses but the indies. But sometimes you need to show the elephant that there is another source of water before they are willing to change watering holes.
Attention MPAA studio and network bigwigs. This is not another silly spoof from the upper class twit of the year or the knights who say nee. By posting their entire catalog, the Monty Python troupe have increased DVD sales on Amazon by 23000%.
“We’re letting you see absolutely everything for free. So there! But we want something in return. None of your driveling, mindless comments. Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies & TV shows and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years.”
Despite the entertainment industry’s constant cries about how bad they’re doing, it works. As we wrote yesterday, Monty Python’s DVDs climbed to No. 2 on Amazon’s Movies & TV bestsellers list, with increased sales of 23,000 percent. (Mashable)
This is the same concept as the Chic Fila A guy giving away samples of his sandwiches in the mall. He doesn’t give away one or two of the ingredients, rather he offers a slice of the whole sandwich. Same idea here. Show a full skit in el crappo YouTube format, and many will want to see the better quality widescreen version. Cost of marketing this way? Darn near ZERO.