Weekly News Roundup (18 October 2015)
A very very short one for you this week due to a combination of lack of news, and me being too busy with a myriad of other things. So this WNR is going to be fairly short, but that may not be a bad thing. The weather here is beautiful today, and while it may not be the case where you are, it’s still a Sunday and probably a Sunday that’s better spent than reading too much of the WNR.
Australia is relatively new to this streaming thing, with our first subscription VOD streaming service only coming live earlier this year. But even with the short time legal streaming has been available, it’s already having an effect on piracy, according to one of Australia’s most outspoken copyright lobby groups.
A small decline in the piracy rate among 18 to 24 year-olds, one of the most “problematic” groups when it comes to piracy, has been warmly welcomed by Australia’s IP Awareness Foundation, although the foundation’s executive director Lori Flekser says that defeating piracy will be very hard because piracy is just too easy.
Piracy being free, Flekser says, means it’s always going to be easier to illegally download than to pay. Paying usually means registration, login, or at the very least, inputting your payment details, and this means more work for the consumer (although I would argue that trawling the net for working torrents and download links, and setting up a download client, is also fairly troublesome). If we accept this as a fact, then it becomes even more important for the rest of the viewing process to be as simple as possible, whether this means being able to watch your content on multiple devices, or a smooth and fast download/streaming process.
Take Hollywood’s UltraViolet. Even though it’s largely being offered to consumers via free redemption, the process of actually watching an UltraViolet movie is anything but simple. Just figuring out which app you need to watch UltraViolet movies on the device of your choice, is an ordeal in itself, not to mention the fact that you’ll need to remember at least two sets of login details. Typically, Hollywood self interest got into the way and what could have been an easy to use app, became what it is today (film studios had the right to use their own distribution app, which meant the need for a two tiered system: one for redeeming and storing the user’s collection information and another for the actual download/playback of the content).
Then there are things like release windows, exclusivity deals, and greedy behaviour such as double dipping (do we really need yet another Wizard of Oz box set? And yet, still no theatrical cut of Star Wars on Blu-ray) – all of this combine to make piracy seem like the better and easier choice, even though piracy isn’t that particular easy or better (pop-ups, malware, fake downloads, and then the trouble of copying files to storage devices that connects to your media player …). It just seems easier because Hollywood is making it too hard, sometimes, to do the right thing.
So again, sorry about the brief nature of this week’s WNR. There will be more next week, I’m sure of it. See you then.