More thoughts on Content

Now my prior post doesn’t mean I think content should all be free – but I think it should:
A) cost less.
B) make much of it a “loss-leader” for actual merchandise. Hell, you can’t crack a Hanes T-Shirt now can ya?

Our CEO had a comment the other day about tracking the actual number of minutes each user viewed of each clip and using that to determine how we paid our licensees. Talk about a gargantuan task… Now, we looked into it, and the software being used currently doesn’t allow us to easily reconcile the number of minutes each user actually watched a movie (and as a percentage of how long that movie is vs. number of minutes watched…). But it probably will soon.

Now, this is an interesting idea. What if we applied this to going to a movie theater? Or a theme park? Or a concert?

I go to see a hundred minute long movie. It costs 10 bucks. That’s 10 cents a minute. Say 10 minutes into the movie, I decide “This movie SUCKS, I’m leaving” and the theater debits my card for only a a buck. That’s how much of the movie I saw.

Wow would that change the economics and incentives to make good movies right? Right!

But then I think about this for a minute, and I get a bit pissed off. Think about ALL the many things in life you pay for upfront and don’t get what you paid for? How many times would you have left a terrible movie if you knew it would only cost you a dollar to leave RIGHT NOW?

But noooo.. instead you sit through the whole thing, hoping, praying, DEMANDING that it gets better. And it never does. And when it’s all over, you wish you could find the dumbasses responsible for even conceiving the film and MAKE them PAY.

Anyway – I’m not sure where that leaves me as a filmmaker and executive other than, “holy shit” I hope I can make some good films… oh, but good is subjective…. eh, screw it. You’ll pay for it and like it.

Stop the madness. I’m tired. Start a new day, at a new office, with much madness and opportunity afoot tomorrow.

In the Belly.

Well, to say I’ve been lazy would not really be accurate. To say my priorities have laid elsewhere would be more like it. I’m changing the title of my blog because many other things are changing too.

But the more that keeps happening, the more I think it might be good to document, vent, and otherwise post about. So I’ll make more of an effort to do so.

Today’s fantastic news is that DVD Jon has broken iTunes DRM and it is a good thing.

But wait, I’m a creative! You’re stealing! My children won’t be able to eat!


I’m now working with a new company where DRM is becoming a big deal, and oddly enough, our COO was one of the consultants who worked with Microsoft for years to get their DRM in order. This company is called “Fun Little Movies”. We’re making, and acquiring shitloads of short comedy films for distribution via cell phones and other portable media players (currently including the new Creative Zen and all Microsoft powered “Portable Media Center”).

Now, our business is about the creation and acquisition of comedy short films and series. This is good. It’s fun. It might actually soon be lucrative.

But we are not just filmmakers, we are media publishers by default. What I mean by that, is that in order to sell our crap EVERYWHERE, we have to be able to deliver it EVERYWHERE at any time, in any format. We don’t make much, if anything at all, on the upfront in terms of the old model of filmmaking or media making. What we make is on the “long tail” – we will sell our clips to a BILLION PEOPLE for mere pennies. But boy, is that a lot of pennies.

I’m beginning to be a beliver in that the very idea of DRM is a failure. No matter how hard we as content creators work to lock down or secure a piece of content, we will fail.

Instead, I’m starting to think that the time and money we spend trying to lock down content could be better spent orchestrating better and easier ways for users to download or stream our content wherever the hell THEY want, in whatever format THEY want it in.

Yes, there will and ALWAYS will be people who will steal the content. That is called “shrinkage” and it happens in every business on the face the planet. The best safeguard that I can see right now is making your product easy to buy, in as many formats and in as many places as possible, as quickly as possible.