If Nikki Finke hadn't invented it and wasn't so fond of litigation, I would've thrown a big TOLDJA! in the headline. Years ago I was writing about this inevitability and being laughed at. And at the end of this snippet, I'm going to go even further out on a limb and touch the third rail neither Hollywood nor the entertainment media that loves them dares touch (hint: movies suck today).
Also, I'm well aware that I frequently touch on this subject, but from the moment I realized video distribution was inevitably headed online, I also realized that this was as seismic a change in the industry as the invention of home video itself. You see, this is where the power of a very few ends -- this is where the revolution really begins. Anyone can make a film nowadays, but the bottleneck is still distribution. You have a handful of distribution forces -- all of whom are hostile to our beliefs and values, and I'm convinced that what we're seeing unfold on an almost daily basis is going to change all of that. Not today and not even tomorrow. But online video streaming (like the ability to self-publish a novel) means that the prohibitive costs of distribution are about to be a thing of the past. The very few with the power are about to lose that power. The Man is going down.
We live in an amazing era where the ideal of democracy is becoming more of a reality. Music and the news media have already been splintered by the ability of the Internet to undermine the corrupt guardians of those institutions. And now it's happening in the Left's most lavish and cherished stronghold: The sound and fury of the motion picture.
This isn't a technological revolution, it's a freedom revolution powered by technology, where every twist and turn fascinates and must be encouraged.
Across Hollywood, a quiet revolution is brewing that's about to transform living rooms around the world.
After desperate attempts to prop up the industry's once-thriving DVD business, studio executives now believe the only hope of turning around a 40% decline in home entertainment revenue lies in rapidly accelerating the delivery of movies over the Internet.
In the next few years, the growing number of consumers with Internet-connected televisions, tablets and smartphones will face a dizzying array of options designed to make digital movie consumption a lot more convenient and to entice users to spend more money.
With films that can be accessed on any digital device, downloaded as iPhone apps or shared on Facebook as easily as a photo, it may be the biggest shift in Hollywood's business model since the explosion of the DVD in the late 1990s.
"The days of baby steps on the Internet are over," said David Bishop, president of Sony Pictures' home entertainment unit. "It's now critical that we experiment as much as possible and determine how to build a vibrant market for collecting digital movies."
Though the online movie business has been growing at a healthy clip for the last few years, driven in large part by the majority of Netflix's 24 million U.S. subscribers who stream video, it hasn't come close to making up for the rapid drop in DVD revenue. Insiders attribute that to the lack of selection — thousands of movies available on disc still can't be found online — and to the complexity of downloading a film on one device and watching it on another.
Studios are eager to change that by offering more movies in easier ways, but there's not yet a consensus on how. As a result, people who connect their TVs to the Internet or buy iPads will face a vastly expanded but potentially confusing menu of options to access films from different sources in various ways.
From here the article goes on to describe all the laughably bad ideas Hollywood's going to attempt to try and keep us doling out the big bucks before everything ends up in a much cheaper RedBox kiosk or Netflix envelope.
First off, of course everything's going to end up online. It wouldn't surprise me if RedBox saw the writing on the wall and decided to get into the streaming business sometime next year -- or yesterday
. Streaming is too damn convenient not to be the future. Furthermore, it's too cheap of a distribution service when compared to pounding out DVDs.
What has Hollywood freaked now and dancing around the inevitable with 28 day delays and the like is that a buck-a-rental is a long ways away from a decade ago when the DVD sales biz was booming and the rivers ran with chocolate and the forests with unicorns.
Those days are over and no gimmick or punitive waiting period or "cloud-thingy" is going to bring them back.
1. We are used to paying much less for your product now.
2. We are used to waiting to see your product now.
3. Netflix Streaming might not have "Green Lantern" or "The Green Hornet" or whatever piece of crap green movie you dumped on us recently, but it does have a lot of cool stuff waiting to be discovered and rediscovered: Classic television, tons of documentaries, and those awesome TLC/Discovery reality shows (sans commercials!).
Through the conditioning of their customers to wait for their product to hit whatever outlet we're comfortable with, Hollywood has lost the most important selling tool they once had: Urgency. The need to see something NOW.
Furthermore, the product sucks like never before, No one wants to OWN this crap. We might want to see it. We might even want to rent it. But we do not want to own it.
If Hollywood wants to create urgency and a desire to own, then they need to make better movies. More like "The Matrix," "Dark Knight," and "Iron Man." We anticipate films like this, while on the other hand we watch those "green" titles almost out of a sense of obligation.