In recent months, I’ve had a mish-mash of conversations with various people about some media related things that continue to baffle and confuse me. I cannot claim that all ideas within this post originated inside my own head. No doubt some of these thoughts were first espoused by another person participating in the discussion, but I don’t know that any of them actually want the attribution anyway. So, forging ahead!

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The worldwide television and movie industry have put their money and energy on shutting down online downloads, branding the people who download their shows as criminals (which perhaps they are; I don’t want to argue that point), and deciding that the thing to do is to try to shut down their behavior by enlisting the help of IP Providers. Here’s what I don’t get:

TELEVISION AND MOVIE INDUSTRY, WHY DON’T YOU JUST GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT?

And, no, I don’t mean just give them content for free. What I mean is, why not meet their actual needs/demands/wants and make a killing? I have as yet to see an earnest attempt from the industry to actually provide the public with what they want, instead they are trying to say, “No, you can only have what you want in the ways that we say you can have it, because the content is ours, ours, ours.” Well, fine, yes, it’s yours, yours, yours, but do you know nothing about human nature? People want what they want when they want it. If you find a way to give them that? You make money.

I remain utterly baffled by the industry’s unwillingness to face the future, stop trying to control the way people want their content delivered, and find a way to give them what they actually want.

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He just wants to watch Sherlock right now, before he gets spoiled on Tumblr, ffs!

What do your customers want?

a) They want content now.

Did Sherlock just go off the air on the BBC in England fifteen minutes ago? Guess what? People in the States want it now. They don’t want it in a year when it comes on BBC America, or whatever. They don’t want it in two hours. They want access to it now. And it’s not just people in the States. It’s folks in Germany, Australia, Japan, Canada, South America, etc, the world over!

So, wow. Here’s an idea. Provide them with your show now! Don’t make them wait. Because guess, what? Hackers gonna hack. They’re smarter than you. They’ve proved that again and again, and they will find a way around your attempts to strong arm them into being spoon fed your content on your schedule.

So, a hint to the wise! Stop saying, “That’s entitled behavior! You’re not entitled to my content! I can give it to you how I want because it is mine!” Okay, fine. That’s how you want to play it? All right. Then don’t be surprised when you have people stealing your product instead of obtaining it legally from you. Is it right for them to steal it? No. But you know what? People don’t always do the right thing, and many billions of dollars have been made by providing people with alternate ways of getting what they want without breaking a law. Figure that out.

b) They want content when they want it, whenever they want it, or even weeks from now.

They don’t want content to disappear on them. They live in a busy world. They have all the other input in their lives coming to them on demand, and they want their television the same way.

For example, in the U.S., ABC allows for people to watch some of their shows legally via streaming on their site. This is flawed in several ways — one, they make you wait to watch the show. You can’t see it as soon as it has aired on the television. But, more importantly, they only allow six episodes of any show up at one time. But there’s a problem. Some people get busy for months on end, and then when they want to legally catch up with their show? They can’t because ABC has taken down the episodes from the beginning of the season. They have to wait until the season comes out on DVD. Meanwhile, their friends at the water cooler or on Facebook are going on and on about how Once Upon A Time was amazeballs last night, omg, and next thing you know someone’s illegally downloading something.

I maintain that had there been a reasonable option for that content, one that actually met the wants of the content-provider’s customers, a person wouldn’t even be tempted to do that kind of thing.

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Why not provide your customers what they want? More importantly, what is so hard to understand about what they want? Why does the industry act like they simply can’t figure out how to deliver the goods or how people want their content delivered? Technologically there is nothing to stop them from meeting their customer’s desires for immediate content that doesn’t disappear. It is possible, so make it happen! It’s as though the industry thinks that people are out there saying, “I just love stealing! Eeee!” And, sure, probably a few are, but the majority would like a legal way to have their wants/needs met in terms of media delivery.

It has always been my understanding that business is about finding out what people want — and then giving it to them! Instead, what we’re seeing with the dinosaur of the television and movie industry is that they’re trying to control what people want. That doesn’t work. It simply does not work, and the sooner they figure that out, the sooner they can start to make money instead of being the victims of theft.

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The industry must willing to let go of the revenue stream they had planned so as to have the revenue stream that is waiting for them.

So, television and movie industry! Take note! More than 99% of people who download do not get some gleeful joy out of stealing something they’re not supposed to have access to. Most of them just want what they want, when they want it, and, yes, that’s entitled, but stop giving a damn about that, and find a way to make money by providing them with your content now. Stop trying to prosecute and criminalize and control, and instead embrace your customer and give him/her big sloppy wet kisses full of what they want. Surely that can’t be so very damn hard.

And then, everyone wins.

10 thoughts on “Want to Make Money? Give Them What They Want. Problem Solved.

    1. Thanks, Alice! I really think the industry is missing the boat by trying to strong arm people into agreeing to be provided with content on the industry’s terms, instead of figuring out that, hey, if they’d just stop spending money trying to criminalize and prosecute, they might be able to make money by providing the majority of downloading thieves with what they really want. Instead, by trying to force and control and criminalize, they’ve created an ‘us vs them’ mindset that is going to be harder to break, imo, the more time that passes before they eventually figure out that they should just give their customers what they want.

  1. Indeed! I’m kind of a dinosaur myself because I refuse to download things. I occasionally stream (legally) and otherwise just wait until things become available, mostly because I generally hate watching things on my computer anyway. But there are plenty of times I get spoiled on something and wish “Goddamnit! They know people want to watch this! Why not make it available in a way that’s a)legal, b) timely and c)lucrative for them?!” Perhaps taking a cut in the short-term in regards to rights or whatever will more than make up for it in the long-term because many people will actually pay for the content they want if they can get it. My biggest pet peeve in the entire TV world, by the way, is that I have 872 channels (that’s hyperbole) that I do not want or watch but have to pay for but can’t get, say, BBC America without paying an arm and a leg. When what’s the point? Because I’d still have to wait for the content I want to watch!

    These are the only types of companies I have ever heard of who, instead of claiming to have the attitude of “the customer’s always right” and doing everything they can to profit by supplying a demand, take the attitude of “we’re always right and if the customer doesn’t like it, they’re criminals.”

    1. Exactly! Obviously, stealing the content isn’t ‘right’, but the motivations behind the theft aren’t wrong, if that makes sense. It’s not wrong to want the content right damn now. It’s not wrong to want the content whenever you want it for as long as you want access to it. It’s not wrong to want and demand those things, so I don’t get why the television industry, especially, has decided to create an atmosphere where they act as though it *is*. Instead of recognizing that their customers now have different desires and expectations for how they want the industry’s product, and then working to give them that — as all other industries do, in my experience — they are digging their heels in and screaming, “No! I refuse! And if you try to by-pass my stubborn resistance, I will cut you down to size, you measly little customer!” They’ve turned their back on their customer base, made their customers into the ‘enemy’ and that is never a good business model. No amount of declaring it to be will make it so.

  2. I agree with everything you said here. And IMO the folks who own the content are doubly stupid with the way they’re going about things because when they make people wait a few months or a year before they can access the content legally, it’s not going to make their potential customers more eager to hand over their money; it’s going to make their potential customers LOSE INTEREST. If I miss a show but can watch it on Hulu the next day, that’s great, and I’m still going to want to watch it. When some other show makes me wait and everyone else has already seen it and I’ve been spoiled? But the time those DVDs come out, there’s a good chance I just won’t care anymore.

    1. That’s happened to me with Mad Men for the most part. And a few other shows, too. I agree completely that they’re just being insanely short sighted in so many ways. Probably too many ways to truly count them all.

  3. I would have paid to watch the new “Sherlock” series when it aired. In fact, I’d pay a subscription to BBC just to get “QI” and a few other things I’d love to see on a regular basis. It annoys me that I have to wait until May 22 to get the new “Sherlock,” but wait I will. But I’d sure love an opportunity to legally see shows at my convenience.

    Another problem I’ve encountered is the inability to see content because certain cable stations aren’t carried by any of the major providers that service my area. That’s also a problem for some internet sites from which I’d legally stream if I could. In these cases, the content providers desperately want me to have (buy) their content, but that can’t get it to me for one reason or another.

    1. You bring up additionally good points about service and availability. It would be nice to see the industry focus on providing it to everyone who wants it in a legal way (and on the customer’s time table, not theirs) and that includes solving your cable problem, rather than spending their money on trying to force people to want their content on *their* time table. I’m half asleep, so here’s hoping my reply made sense! šŸ˜€

  4. We are in complete agreement! Another thing I hate is when websites geoblock. Since I’m Canadian, I can’t access Hulu or most content on US network websites. Sometimes I’m not sure if I can watch or not, so I click on it and sit through the commercial. And THEN they say the content’s not available in my country. Oh, but I could watch the commercial, of course. And they wonder why people get upset.

    1. Exactly. They’ve had years now to make a concerted and earnest attempt to get their content out legally to worldwide customers, but they have never bothered to do that. They are violating the number one rule of business. I am sure they would say that theft is violating the number one rule of being a customer, and I’d agree, but I also think that only proliferated to the extent that it did because they failed to provide content in a way that met the demands of their customers. Their own choices have created an us vs them mentality that will be hard to break out of now.

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