Is the film industry self imploding

As with alot of people in the UK, I’m a big fan of both Music & Film.
I don’t have a particular taste or style, I just see or hear something that catches my ear / eye, find out what it is, then if I like it, it gets added to my collection.

My History with Music…
Back in my mid-teens (around the mid 90’s) I started DJ’ing and when I was 16, got a Job out of school, was still living at home, had a fair amount of disposable income and I religiously went to HMV on a Monday after work and brought up all that week’s new release singles. I did this every week for about 4 years until I discovered downloading on the Internet via a peer-2-peer service (early days of Napster I recall) and started getting music illegally, because it made sense to try before I brought music instead of spending £30 to £40 a week buying new CD Singles. So I’d download singles, burn them to CD and bands where I found I liked more than 2 singles I’d go buy the Album… so I was teetering on the grey area of legality, though in my mind at the time I had 6 flight cases of CD singles in my parents loft, worth several hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds, so had paid some dues to the Record Companies.

Then along came Mini-Disc players, which I discovered some time in the late 90’s and this meant I no longer had to burn CD’s but could drop the MP3’s onto the device attached to my home PC, my first Mini-Disc player was a Blue Technics player. It looked nice but skipped if it had any kind of movement, this was followed by Sony’s, which were smaller, ran of AA Batteries and were relatively Shock-Proof.

Then the MP3 player, which I probably first owned around the Mid 2000’s. I pretty much gave up buying CD’s, downloaded alot and over the next few years massed something like 40GB of music.

Then along came Spotify…. I first signed up to Spotify in October 2009 as a Premium Subscriber. The appeal for me, was the choice / selection of music, the ability to stream on both PC & Mobile and that it meant I no longer had to store my music collection. One of the biggest annoyances is downloading an album then finding you only like one or two tracks, but with Spotify I can stream / preview an album then choose which tracks I want to add to my playlists. In total now, I have about 6000 tracks in playlists of various genres and with the latest releases of Spotify and rise of popular SharePlaylist sites you can find new music and easily put together lists for any occasion with ease.
For me, Spotify is the perfect Music on demand service that works on all my devices including Windows Laptop, Android Tablet, Squeezebox Players and mobile devices (though mobile is a sore-point as Spotify are yet to develop for Symbian Anna on my Nokia E6, so I’m thinking of jumping to a Blackberry 9900, but anyway). Some people like having a Physical CD or even MP3 but Spotify gives me Music on-demand anywhere both online & offline and at £9.99 a month it’s a service I recommend.

Now… The Movies.
I am becoming more and more frustrated with the lack of available Movie Services and those that do exist are fairly Poor. As far as I am aware, at the time of writing this blog towards the end of Jan 2012, the only 2 subscription services available in the UK are NetFlix and LOVEFiLM.
The number of browser based illegal movie streaming services is ever growing and all I want is a good, legal, on-demand service which I’ll happily pay up to £20 a month for, that is comparable to DVD Rental Services. There are some other Stream services such as BlinkBox and HMV OnDemand but you rent per movie and I want a single subscription service. So the two options:
NetFlix – the Price Point of £5.99 seems fair, but the selection of new material isn’t great. If you are looking for 90’s and some 00’s British TV Series (and a handful of less popular US series) and will settle from good 90’s and early 00’s with a limited number of films from the last 2 years then your fine. But it seems the UK got the short end of the stick on choice and the US version of Netflix has alot more new material.
LOVEFiLM – the Price Point of £9.99 is Ok, which is their mid-level where you get to use both their DVD / BlueRay rental service and Unlimited Streaming service, though as I discovered it’s not unlimited and some titles are Pay per View! At the time of writing this Blog LOVEFiLM have 6414 films available for Streaming, of which 5361 are inclusive & 1008 are Pay Per View! A alot of this is new content costing between £2.49 and £3.49 per film! Now if I pay for a service I expect to use a Service, I don’t expect to have to shell out more money just because LOVEFiLM deem that it’ll be popular so will try and take whatever they can get!! I would never find that on Spotify where I pay £9.99 a month for unlimited listening and find that a popular artist releases a new album that I then have to pay extra to listen to, and this isn’t even owning the movie it’s Renting it! It’s Pathetic and in my opinion encourages Movie Piracy.

I was watching BBC Click on the weekend from the CES show in Vegas, where they were talking about Movie On-Demand streaming and the feedback from the reporter was the Movie Industry dislikes the streaming subscription model because it doesn’t generate as much revenue as Cinema, Rentals and Purchases. I think it’s narrow-minded, greedy and by preventing the distribution of their product to willing consumers, their industry deep pockets will develop even bigger holes and Piracy will be wider and more accessible. At Cinema costing £9 upwards for a standard seat, the cost of Rentals being high for low quality content and their being no good avenue getting movies into peoples homes on-demand regardless of price, it’s just making the little chinese man in the pubs job easier (not a racist comment, but ever person approaching me in a London pub selling DVDs has been Chinese, or maybe Japanese or Korean!) and the availability of illegal movie streaming or torrent sites more appealing.

So Film Industry, take your greedy thumb out of your Ass, follow the Spotify Model and give the consumer the services we can already get illegally in a legal way, for which people will happily pay for good quality, easily accessible movies & content.


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