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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Glickman gets it

The NY Times runs a story on the Saturday business front headlined, "Keeping Moviegoers Away from the Dark Side," illustrated with a picture of Darth's mask glowering on a computer screen.

The piece makes a couple points, none of them that surprising:

- Faster Internet connections make it easier to download movies illegally
- Many people are still consuming pirated first-run movies like "Revenge of the Sith," because they can't be acquired legally
- "Already, people are watching more films at home than in theaters..." and DVDs "routinely generate more than twice the revenue of box-office ticket sales for a movie."
- MPAA chief Dan Glickman doesn't wear cowboy boots like former head Jack Valenti

It also includes some stats from a market research firm called BigChampagne, which tracks file-sharing activity on the Net.

BigC says that the number of feature films posted on file-sharing sites has more than doubled in the last year, to 44 million in May. That's a number I wonder about. It sounds quite high, and I'm sure they don't eliminate duplicates. Even then, it sounds high.

Times journo Steve Lohr saves the best quote for the end - the one that convinces me that Dan Glickman really gets the shift that needs to happen.

Glickman says, "It's not enough just to sue. The industry has to develop hassle-free, reasonable-cost ways to offer movies over the Internet." Right on.

But... the missing term in Glickman's quote is "first-run." Offering archival movies is great, but it won't put a dent in illegal file-sharing; of the ten most downloaded films (a list compiled by our pals at BigChampagne), about half are still in theatres.

(And even if Glickman gets that, it's not clear yet how much influence he has with the studios - though it's safe to say, less than Valenti, at this point.)


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