The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

CAT | Media Consumption

Yet again the threat of movie piracy – that is, unauthorized distribution – has had no observable affect on an industry with higher attendance and higher revenues. Please destroy my businesses like this!



Is Twitch a broadcast competitor?

Variety just posted an article on how many people had watched online game play (of one game) in one week. 75,000 players and 6 million individual viewers who collectively watched 327 million minutes of gameplay. Watched. That’s about an hour per viewer on average.

Six million people watching one game’s game play. That’s a decent network-sized audience these days. That’s one game for one week. Admittedly a release week for the game.

Watching game play has become a huge audience, with very low production costs. While it’s not traditional production, the time spent watching gamers play video games, erodes the time available for other forms of entertainment, specifically films and television!

Yet another study shows no evidence of harm from illegal downloading, aka unauthorized distribution.

The illegal downloading of films has little effect on box office revenue, and industry estimates of its losses are exaggerated, a study has found.

However, the analysis also found that the national broadband network would encourage digital piracy.

We are still waiting for a peer reviewed study that shows any harm. Waiting, waiting, waiting. (Yes the MPAA/RIAA publish “results” but when you examine the details, their is no support for the MPAA/RIAA position. In other words they publish completely bogus results.)

Shelley Palmer notes that Netflix’s chief content officer has a novel way to battle piracy.


According to some reports a YouTube subscription for some of its partner channels is on the cards? If they do, will it become a cable competitor, or will it simply kill those partner channels?


A record average viewership via traditional TV Network and Cable distribution of 108.7 million (and many more who only saw part of the game) vs Internet distribution of a record 3 million, up from 2.1 million last year (and a total of 10 million who saw some of the game via Internet distribution, according to Yahoo News.

Depending on what you want you could spin this as “Internet Distribution increases 43% year on year”; or perhaps “Internet distribution was less than 3% of the traditional TV audience”. Both are factually true. The traditional method was down slightly (ranking as only the third most watched game) but very healthy.

Of course, this type of real-time, grand sporting event is exactly what the traditional TV and cable channels do very, very well and I believe will continue to do very well, long into the future. It may be all they’re left with, but – at least in my lifetime – I don’t expect an “Internet distribution only” Superbowl.

When you talk about movies, comedy, drama, and that type of TV fare, then Internet distribution isn’t quite so far “out there”

Dan Rayburn, has written a provocative post titled: Streaming Video Can’t Scale At Cable TV Quality, Will Never Replace Traditional TV Distribution. Essentially he argues that there isn’t enough bandwidth for the large scale events. He’s only partly right. (more…)

Yesterday Broadcast Engineer had a headline Intel set to destroy cable TV industry suggesting Intel were ready to disrupt the pay TV industry with a new set top box and a lá carte content. (more…)

The conventional wisdom from the dinosaurs of the film, TV and music business is that all they need to do is get laws changed in their favor to “stop piracy”.

In Japan they got their way with a new, draconian, law going into effect:

Except, the reality is that consumers are spending less on music than they were before the bill became law. The article actually posits that the government has made some people so fearful of being arrested that they won’t do any downloading from legitimate sources any more — just in case it’s tainted. So even if they can cut out piracy (doubtful) there’s little evidence to suggest much increase in commerce as a result.

When will they realize it’s a business model problem. I repeat that no peer reviewed (i.e. legitimate) study has ever proved any damage to any organization from unauthorized distribution. Those “studies” that the industry produce have been pretty thoroughly debunked. It’s time stop suing and start thinking of new business models that embrace the publicity value from “unauthorized” distribution.

While the MPAA lobby group keep bleating that filmmaking in some way is in trouble because they can’t see how they’ll make “$100 million movies” profitably, the industry is actually doing very well. In fact, there are those who believe that a return to making relevant films people care about is the future of filmmaking. (Movies that people care about, what a concept!)

On the weekend the New York Times published an article – Movies Try to Escape Cultural Irrelevance – that sums up the problem of focusing on the tentpole movie: other than 12-25 year old boys, they’re not particularly relevant:

Several industry groups, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, and the nonprofit American Film Institute, which supports cinema, are privately brainstorming about starting public campaigns to convince people that movies still matter.

It’s a long article and a very good read for those who believe that film is culturally relevant. Personally I’ve long been a fan of Television over Film and I think more culturally relevant Television is being made than film.

But the prospect that a film will embed itself into the cultural and historical consciousness of the American public in the way of “Gone With the Wind” or the “Godfather” series seems greatly diminished in an era when content is consumed in thinner slices, and the films that play broadly often lack depth.

As the awards season unfolds, the movies are still getting smaller. After six weeks in theaters “The Master,” a 70-millimeter character study much praised by critics, has been seen by about 1.9 million viewers. That is significantly smaller than the audience for a single hit episode of a cable show like “Mad Men” or “The Walking Dead.”

“Argo,” another Oscar contender, had about 7.6 million viewers through the weekend. If interest holds up, it may eventually match the one-night audience for an episode of “Glee.”

That must really hurt that your film in distribution can’t out view a cable TV show. But it’s not all bad news.Variety reports that  L.A. filming continues its rise and apparently a recent panel USC Law Program Captures Screenshot of a Tough Business complained that “too many films are being made” as if it was a bad thing. I suspect the problem is that movies are being made outside of the big six irrelevant studios by people who care about movies.

But, like the MPAA and “recorded discs”, if it’s not from an MPAA studio, then it really doesn’t matter. At least that seems to be the attitude of the entrenched dinosaurs of the industry. There are many more financially successful movies now than ever before because not everyone believes the only movies worth making have to cost $100 million or so.

Hollywood Still Resisting The Idea That Cheaper, Better Films Is The Way To Beat TV:

What did strike me as interesting, however, is that the article highlights a key point that many of us have been making. The industry really only has itself to blame for continuing to churn out expensive remakes and sequels, rather than investing in quality — the continued quest for “$100 million films” rather than figuring out how to make good movies for less money.

The entrenched players don’t seem to realize that disruption comes from outside. Never within. Those that do not realize this are doomed to be disrupted out of business.

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