It doesn’t feel like that long ago that the record industry was fighting digital distribution tooth and nail.
Perhaps it’s because they’re still kind of doing it to some degree- but a recent Los Angeles Times piece on the film industry’s reaction to the movement of consumers toward digitally distributed and streamed content indicates that movie studios are unlikely to be nearly as resistant to the market shift. Consumers are already voting with their wallets, per the article- revenues in the home entertainment sector have plummeted 40%- and the industry is talking in such a way that it seems DVDs are already a thing of the past.
David Bishop of Sony’s home entertainment division had this to say about the motivation of movie studios to adopt and implement digital distribution strategies for film:
“The days of baby steps on the Internet are over… It’s now critical that we experiment as much as possible and determine how to build a vibrant market for collecting digital movies.”
The piece cites the gulf between desired content and available content as responsible for the shortfall- the selection and pricing don’t always match up with the market given the rocky new-ness of digital distribution. President of Universal’s home entertainment division Craig Kornblau cited varying distribution channels- with sought after content being offered at a premium- as the key to balancing the market as it develops:
“I see movies going down a path over time from premium sell-through all the way to the lowest-price rentals… If we get digital right, consumers are going to get what they’re willing to pay for.”
Vudu’s general manager Edward Lichty commented on the value-add of digital distribution on the consumer end:
“Historically when you bought a DVD you were really just buying the physical copy… It’s a profound development to say you own the movie itself and it can’t be broken or lost.”
It’s clear the studios have begun to see digital distribution as the next big frontier- but unless they get moving with alacrity, they’ll face the same uphill battle against piracy that plagues the record industry.