Weekly News Roundup (17 January 2016)

Not much progress to report on my new computer build (more info on specs in our last newsletter). Still waiting for some parts to arrive – the RAM was sent incorrectly to me, while the CPU cooler is with the courier for re-delivery as I wasn’t home for the original delivery, so don’t really want to do breadboarding until I get these two essential components (had it been the GPU or SSD that arrived late, I could still have proceeded, but as luck would have it, those two were the first to arrive).

As for the news, there’s plenty to go through this week, so let’s get started.


Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens and Jurassic World helped 2015 to be a great year for the movie industry, despite fears of piracy

A couple of stories this week that puts the naysayers in their place. First target, Hollywood – it appears that despite the age of rampant piracy, the kind that is putting the entire industry and hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk, Hollywood is actually doing great business in the US and abroad.

It looks like two of the top four all time box office hits arrived in 2015 (and in typical Hollywood fashion, both were sequels), with Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens helping Hollywood to a record year. For the first time ever, the $11 billion barrier was broken domestically, with the global number up to a staggering $38 billion.

Now, the same naysayers will say that had it not been for piracy, theses numbers would have been even higher. First of all, this reeks of greed, and second of all, it may not even be true. There’s no magic formula that converts piracy into accurate lost revenue, and for films like Star Wars, people who are willing and able to pay for a cinema ticket, will have done so. Those that rely on bootleg cam copies with hard-coded Spanish subtitles, will never have paid for a ticket, even if said ticket (when discounted) could cost no more than a cup of coffee (at least here in Australia).

It might take the prevention of tens of thousands of pirated downloads before one person is converted into a paying customer, and that particular pirate may have eventually paid for the movie anyway, there’s no guarantee (or inversely, a pirate may already be a paying customer, having paid to watch Star Wars and then downloaded a cam copy for closer inspection while the Blu-ray is still not yet available to buy).

Spotify Logo

Spotify doesn’t really hurt music sales, but helps labels to make more money

The second set of naysayers are in the music business, and they’re the kind that hates Spotify, something they probably refer to as legal piracy. They say that Spotify cannibalises music sales, and that the music streaming platforms pays too little to labels and artists. But it appears that the music industry is actually making more money because of Spotify, as opposed to losing money.

This is because it actually takes many users to listen to the free stream before a lost sale occurs – 137 to be exact. This results in an average loss of USD $0.82 for the rights-holders, but each of the 137 streams also earns them 0.7 cents each – nearly an extra 14 cents earned thanks to Spotify. The reason it takes many streams before a lost sale occurs is because many of the people using Spotify may be former pirates who don’t have a habit of paying, or people who love music so much, they’ve already purchased the song, and instead uses Spotify as an alternative way to enjoy their content.

But unlike Hollywood, the music industry isn’t doing as well business wise. That’s more down to changing consumer habits, than piracy though. Ten years ago, sales of albums outsold singles by a four to one margin – now, singles outsell albums by the same margin. Albums makes more money, while singles make less – hence the declining fortunes of the music industry. Piracy was never ever more than a sideshow.

High Definition

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray)

Ultra HD Blu-ray movies won’t be cheap

Last week we looked at the hardware for Ultra HD Blu-ray, and this week, we have more info on how much movies will cost. They will cost a lot! Lionsgate says their UHD Blu-ray discs will cost $23 for older titles, and up to an eye watering $43 for newer titles such as Sicario. This is actually a little bit better than Sony’s pricing (via Amazon), with the 2014 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 costing $33, compared to only $13.49 for the standard Blu-ray copy.

While the price is definitely premium, for $33 or even $43, you’d expect the overall package to be a bit more premium too. Throw in a nice collector’s packaging, a book, a collector’s figurine, or anything like that to justify the $40+ pricing, not just a standard plastic case with a single disc that looks almost exactly like the standard Blu-ray version. You have to know who you’re marketing to, and you can’t just take them for granted like the double-dipping cash cow studios seems to think they are.


Netflix has been losing a lot of content lately, mostly big name movies, and it seems savvy subscribers will be losing even more content soon thanks to Netflix’s crackdown on geo-dodging. As reported by our sister site Streambly, Netflix has officially announced they will be taking steps to prevent the use of VPN and smart DNS services to access Netflix content from other regions. Netflix has previously turned a blind eye to this, since it helps them get subscribers, but it seems that pressure from rights-holders have finally got to Netflix, and many geo-dodging and unblocking services have already had its Netflix access cut off.

As a proud geo-dodger, I’m a little sad, but I’ve also been watching more Hulu than Netflix lately, thanks to Hulu’s superior TV content, and it’s vastly improving movie library. Even Amazon has its advantages over Netflix.


That’s it for the week, hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s WNR. See you next week.


Comments are closed.

About Digital Digest | Help | Privacy | Submissions | Sitemap

© Copyright 1999-2012 Digital Digest. Duplication of links or content is strictly prohibited.