Prompted by LewRockwell.com, I came across an article on the Forbes website that offered an alternative route for the movie industry to take in keeping up-to-date with technology and consumer preferences. Instead of attempting the draconian and impossible task of stamping out file-sharing of copyrighted material, perhaps a new business model is preferable. You can check that out here.
The questions presented in it are very intriguing. Will we still be using physical copies a decade from now? (I do imagine that there still is a visual appeal to movie collectors of physical copies, but for individuals like Thrasher, who hardly has room to contain his collection, this might be a better option for some). Might movie theaters become obsolete? (This question was not actually in the article, but it does ask Why do movie companies expect consumers to pay as much as they do to attend? I doubt theaters will become obsolete any time soon, but I think most people have their point where they would rather wait and save their money.)
But anyway, I'm curious as to what others think of this business model. I was thinking that it seems similar to what iTunes has done with music, but then I thought, "Wait, iTunes does movies as well!" However, what iTunes has done with the music industry is not what iTunes has done with the movie industry. As I open the iTunes store right now and look at a movie about Irish bare knuckle boxing called Knuckle, I see that the prices are as follows: $3.99 to rent ($4.99 to rent in HD) and $14.99 to buy ($19.99 in HD). I don't find these prices to be very competitive with those of physical copies (the price of a new copy on Amazon.com is $12.83 and that includes shipping). The last time I went into a record store, I found an album that I wanted selling for $17 (and I'm assuming everyone knows what albums typically sell for on iTunes). But price isn't the only reason that iTunes music offerings are superior. Also is what I can do afterwards with what I download; i.e. I can make my own physical copy, which I am not allowed to do with iTunes movies that I purchase. This limits what I can do with my movie (I don't have many options unless I already own various Macintosh devices). But the fact remains, as the article points out, that really consumers are in the driver's seat. Why should they even deal with the over-priced legal offerings at all when they can get a free substitute? I think the movie industry realizes this: they either have to lower their prices to offer movie consumers a legal option to compete with the file-sharing option or make the futile effort of trying to maintain their prices while policing the Internet.