Cash and the Movies

Posted: November 26, 2010 in This is a hold up! A link hold up.

So the internet has ruined things for arts based businesses. Music was drowning until I-tunes sort of saved them, though they still lose plenty of revenue to pirating. The movie industry keeps hovering nervously over the next possible disaster. And now, Netfilx, in anticipation of the end of DVD rentals, is raising prices and licencing more streaming material.

When the internet first came out, many people thought that it required a new business model, one where people didn’t pay for anything. That didn’t work out too well. But still, stupid people keep thinking they are the exception. Yeah, I’m talking about you, YouTube. Just because millions of people come to you to see videos of cute cats doesn’t mean you are a viable business. Granted, YouTube has turned things around by putting the ads on top of the actual video. But here’s the thing. A lot of people upload stuff that doesn’t belong to them. TV shows, movies, songs. Because the beginning of the internet convinced people that movies and songs and television shows are free, and ought to be free, which is the opposite of reality, where it takes a lot of time and money to make a movie.

Netflix is raising their monthly price by a dollar. So how cheap are they getting these streaming rights for, anyhow?

Now that streaming seems to be the future of distribution, I wonder how revenue is going to get back to the people who actually make the movies. Specifically, I wonder how it is ever going to get back to me.

Where will independent films fall at the end of the day? When studios make big profits, they take more risks and buy more indies. When crap like this cuts in to the revenue, studios are still going to make the next Batman movie, but they aren’t going to buy the next quirky indie comedy.

Right now, if I set up a system to independently distribute my movie via DVD sales, I will get $2 for every $15 DVD. I tunes will let me sell downloads, but they will take the biggest bite out of whatever that makes, (leaving me with about $1 per download) and that without them paying a penny for advertising or anything to actually sell the thing. What is Netflix going to offer? A cheery smile and a “screw you”?

As far as I can tell, what the internet has done for the arts is given many more artists the opportunity to work for free.


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