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!
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.
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.
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.
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.