When I use Netflix, Amazon’s streaming service, and all the others out there, I can’t help but think about film studios. I analyze their decision-making, I see where they place their content, I hear what they have to say about entertainment and its relation to technology today, and I can’t help but come to one simple conclusion: these companies are clueless.
Film studios, and even television studios, have real issues with the changing tech space. They look at Redbox’s kiosk rentals as a financial pitfall, yet they believe that allowing cable companies to offer on-demand access to content before all others make sense. They make Netflix wait an inordinate amount of time to stream their content, yet they charge people $30 for a Blu-ray disc to get it now.
See, film studios see the changing times as a threat to their business, rather than an opportunity for them to expand outside their current constraints to make even more cash. They would like for it to be 1975 again when they didn’t need to worry about piracy, by-mail rentals, or something called the Internet. Back then, they simply got us to come to the theaters and watch movies. And they counted their cash all the way to the bank.
By not embracing the changing times, these studios are hurting themselves. People aren’t as willing to go to theaters and pay $15 or $20 just to see a movie within the first few months it’s released. And paying $4.99 to watch a film from the cable company isn’t nearly as appealing as it once was.
Film studios can’t expect to control how consumers spend their money. Quite the contrary, the companies should embrace the fact that consumers are voting with their wallets, and the old services that might have been popular long ago are dying off as new, more-appealing options crop up.
Earlier this year, Warner Bros. offered some movie rentals on Facebook. I was pleased with the move, and thought that it could pave the way for something bigger and better from the company. But since then, I’ve heard little about it, making me wonder if the half-baked experiment will be shelved before it even has a chance to take hold.
I know it has been said numerous times before, but don’t you think it’s time that film and television studios start to accept that there’s nothing they can do to change how people view their content?
Over the years, studios have fought against VHS, movie rentals, streaming, online-download services, and just about everything else in between. And each time, they’ve failed. When will they learn that they can’t win against the millions (if not, billions) around the globe that are looking for something different?
The first major film studio that fully embraces the digital world, offers up all its content to Netflix, supports Facebook rentals, and doubles down on all other digital options will be the company that dominates the movie business for years to come. All others will be left wondering why they didn’t make the first move.
It’s time to wake up, film studios. You’re showing just how lost and outdated you really are — again.
Don Reisinger is a technology and video game columnist. You can see what he's up to each day on Twitter by following him @donreisinger.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SlashGear