Besieged Movie Industry Suffers Record Takings

A rather bitter but funny contributor to Slashdot notes that:

“The BBC is reporting that the movie industry, in yet another illustration of just how much damage the Internet is doing to the long-suffering members of the MPAA, has just endured a record breaking $1Billion dollar takings for the single month of June. Clearly there is a desperate need to tighten up copyright laws in the face of this huge mountain of cash that is literally being metaphorically syphoned into the studios’ pockets. How will they survive? “

Hehe. How indeed.

10 thoughts on “Besieged Movie Industry Suffers Record Takings”

  1. “Hehe. How indeed.”… is right!

    I wish I was articulate enough to formulate a
    decent response to the whole issue. The only thing I can think to say is: I believe in capitalism to the fullest extent. The money you make is yours and nobody else has the right to take it. On the other, with numbers like that, it’s very hard to say that the so called copyright infringers are stealing your lifeblood.

    I wonder what the difference would be if those illegal downloaders and copyright infringers didn’t exist. Maybe $1.01 billion for the month of June? How about if those movie theaters didn’t hit me up for contributions to the Jimmy Fund everytime I went – I’d be willing to spend an extra 50 cents to make up for the difference.

    Or, they could just take this .02 and add it to that paltry billion.

  2. Well, the effect on Hong Kong’s industry has been pretty devastating – with new releases on sale as DVDs before they get to the cinema, the profits and then the output have gone to hell. We had the classics in the nineties, now nothing apart from Infernal Affairs seems to make the grade.

    I’ll look for references on this.

  3. interesting comment Peter. Of course, that seems to be the movie industry’s fault (for releasing DVDs at the same time) and not so much the fault of people illegally copying the movies.

    I’d love to see references if you can find them.

  4. Gay, I read something in the Economist and/or FT about it, which I can’t find right now. I’ll search later on at the Chinese blogs.

    The DVDs offered for sale are all pirated from the movies, and almost always are available before they’re released.

    The economics in the movie business are different, though.

    First, the piracy probably means that there won’t be either any cinema or rental businesses on the mainland, because with the new releases available at a dollar a shot, there’s no way to make either economic. Every expatriate in China seems to have at least one Chinese girlfriend and have a collection of 500 DVDs.

    Second, the studios have brought the DVD releases forward to diminish the pirates’ time advantage. The profits of the movie business have been very badly eroded. I don’t know how much an album costs, but movies can’t really be made at all for less than a few million dollars or so; if this isn’t recouped, then production will go down and costs slashed.

    Third, the economics for consumers of the movie business have already moved towards the more sustainable model used by iTunes and its imitators. For about a third the price of a London cinema ticket, you can rent the DVD, or get it from a public library for two quid a week.

    Fourth, pirated products are not a perfect substitute, since any pirate DVDs I’ve bought have been quite poor quality. Downloaded ones are usually much worse, if you don’t get a film of some guy screwing a pig labelled “Harry Potter”.

  5. So, in conclusion, I think the indicators are mixed, but given their power to hit even a long-established industry, I wouldn’t say prospects for the global film business are much good without some other adaptations to piracy.

  6. excellent and thorough recap Peter.

    Responding with facts always makes for an interesting read and a stronger stance.

    I’m interested in the economics of itunes et al and the long term effects. To state the obvious, the internet has really made big waves in the music and film industries. The said industries say those changes are bad of course, but I’m not surprised that would be the initial reaction to losing so much control over their products. In a way, I really don’t blame them.

    The music industry seems to have finally caught on to the idea that prosecuting illegal downloaders doesn’t work and that the smarter move is to figure out how to move with the changes and capitalize on them (iTunes). That leads me to think that the economics will significantly change.

    Who knows? Maybe we’ll see similar types of synchronous DVD and film releases over here in the States. There must be a way to keep on top of things even with the internet and cheap ways to copy a movie.

    I think you’re right on in your conclusion and I’m SURE the movie industry and the music industry will still come out on top – it just might look a lot different than today.

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