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80s Pastel

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Nothing screams “80’s !!!” quite like Pastel Pink.  To be honest, I was wondering if I’d ever come up with a way to sneak this fractal into a post, but inspiration struck a few minutes ago, and it’s the perfect fit for this post.

It would be a bit of an understatement to say that I have a passion for movies.  Outside of my wife and daughter, my three major passions in life are:

  1. Novels
  2. Movies
  3. Computers

I’ve read well over a thousand novels in my life, and have probably watched twice as many movies.  You might think that’s impossible, but there was a long span where I’d read 3 or 4 novels a week.  And because I work from home, I often have a movie running on one of my screens as I work, and it’s not uncommon for me to watch a couple or three movies in a day.  It adds up over the years.

Now, you’d pretty much have to have been living under a rock, or on the far side of the Moon for the past few years not to have heard at least the odd tidbit of news about the MPAA and it’s various other affiliate organizations in countries outside the US, being on a crusade against copyright infringement and piracy.  The biggest problem, in their eyes, is the rampant use of digital piracy through P2P networks and BitTorrent.

But, here’s the deal – the MPAA and the major studios are completely failing to learn the lesson that the record labels failed to learn ten years ago with the rise of Napster and the early P2P networks.

Specifically:  People want their media digitally, they want it without DRM, and they want it on demand.

The studios are arguing that there is no effective business model that will provide for this in a way that keeps their “High Quality” products in production.

Oh?  Really?  Once the record industry fully embraced digital distribution, digital sales have grown to a point where they nearly offset the loss in physical media sales.  And here’s the thing:  Digital media distribution is several orders of magnitude cheaper in delivery costs, so in the end, the studios aren’t out as much as they complain about, if at all.  And hey, it’s a lot nicer on the environment.

So how does this all relate to 80s pastel?

What set me off tonight, was my ongoing quest to get a DVD of a really bad movie from the 80s.  It’s a turkey of a film, that for most people would be barely watchable.  But for reasons we won’t go into, it’s near and dear to my heart.  The thing is, not only is it not available for digital download through iTunes or some other digital distributor, it has never been released on DVD.

“So what?” you might say.  Some obscure film doesn’t get released on DVD, big deal!  Well, the thing of it is, this movie has a bit of a cult following.  So much so, that there are enough other people out there looking for a decent copy, that a lone fan has gone to the trouble of hand crafting his own DVD release based on a LaserDisc copy.  He even went to the trouble of creating a cover for it that rivals the cover art of most B Movie DVD covers I’ve seen, and then releasing the work onto UseNet.  From there, it has been granted eternal life on various P2P BitTorrent trackers.  And he wasn’t even the first to go to the trouble.

Currently, the rights to the movie distribution are owned by Columbia Tristar, which in turn is owned by Sony Pictures.  Given that such a bad film has a weird, devoted following, don’t you think it might be worth their while to devote a day or two (tops) of one of their Tech’s time to digitizing the movie properly and releasing it for sale on iTunes or somewhere else?

If you answered “Yes” to that last question then you have more clue than the average studio exec.  The truth is, there are thousands upon thousands of movies sitting in vaults, that have never been released on DVD, let alone purely digitally.  For a lot of these movies, I can see why it wouldn’t be economically viable to make a DVD and engage in all the costs of distributing the physical media.

But to digitize it, and make it available for download for a buck or two, the distribution costs are virtually non-existent.  You don’t have to have a big marketing campaign or anything.  Trust me, movie geeks will spread the word for you.  Just put it in some online store and add it to the catalogue, post a note on your corporate blog, and then cash the monthly residual cheques.

As a businessman, if you can’t figure out how to monetize that, then you’re as stale and dated as Crockett and Tubbs.

Something to say?


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