Jan 252012

Your business model is broken and trying to fix it by hounding those that share content is probably not the best way to fix it.

 Let me explain.

A number of major studios have thrown their money behind a new digital content distribution system called ‘UltraViolet’, that in theory at least, allows you to rent or purchase a movie and watch it on multiple devices.

On the surface this is great.  Really, truly this is a great thing. Rather than rent a DVD or BluRay from Netflix, Blockbuster or RedBox for a couple of dollars, you can rent one directly from the studio; and you can watch the movie on any device.

Except an iPad, iPhone, Android Phone, Android Tablet, or a non-smart TV or connected device that does not support UltraViolet.

Oh and you need a fast internet connection too.

All of these are minor issues though and nothing a small investment in hardware or bandwidth cannot solve. Assuming of course the movies are available fairly quickly after they leave the cinema and that they are relatively inexpensive to rent/buy.

Sadly neither is true, a ‘High Definition’ movie is $19.99 and an ‘SD’ movie is $12.99 and the current plan appears to be to release the movies at the same time as the DVD/Blu-Ray.  Generally I can get most DVDs shipped to my door from amazon.com for about $10 or I can pay less than $20 for a BluRay, again, shipped to my door. Often Amazon will sell off movies a few months after release for $5 – $8 and there are many BluRays available for less then $10.

For example, one of the sixty movies that Paramount are launching with is ‘Rango’, their SD price is $12.99, the HD price is $19.99

  • I can rent the DVD from Redbox for $1.29 or $3.99 will get me the BluRay from Blockbuster.
  • I can buy the DVD that comes with a free digital copy that I can play on my tablet for $12.49
  • I can buy the BluRay/DVD/Digital Copy combo for $19.49
  • I can buy it on iTunes for $19.99 (HD)
  • I can watch it on Cinemax as a part of my $9.99 add-on to my basic cable subscription
  • I can buy it on Amazon Video On-Demand for $14.99 (HD Version)
  • It will be on Basic cable soon, so I can wait.
  • It is on torrentsRus with 10 million seeders for freeez !!!!1111oneoneeleven

In other words, UltraViolet, for this example movie is actually the most expensive (along with iTunes) and easily the least convenient.

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