Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Every lock has a key

A lot of companies today have approached the internet in the same way they used to approach television. They think they can control who can watch what from where and want to continue to censor what can be viewed based on location. They state they are saving money. This couldn't be further from the truth. Every major media corporation today is losing money by this outdated approach to producing content.

It is extremely easy to bypass DRM. You can by a DRM-free DVD player, or change the code on the Blu-Ray player to read all Blu-Rays irregardless of where the Blu-Ray disk was sold. People do this every day, the only people it stops are the people who don't know how to bypass the censors. It's only inconvenient until you know how to open the lock.

Instead of trying to limit people from watching (which in today's fast technological world is not just impractical but impossible) companies should try to capitalize in foreign markets.

American companies usually block commercialed access to their shows to foreigners. The United States has 317 million people, or 4.4% of the world population. These companies that have art that people want to view across the world (think of the Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.) and they won't let them watch them using programs like Hulu, meaning they cannot sell advertisements for those 197 countries, losing potentially millions of dollars of revenue each. The math is simple. Let's assume the owners of Hulu expand to the EU, Australia, and Canada, a population of 550 million people. Assuming only 1% of the population (5.5 million people) watch 100 videos a year (someone who watches 2 shows a week on average) and each viewing generates only a cent of profit (it is probably more than that) they are throwing away $5.5 million of profit. If the BBC did the same thing for the rest of the EU, the US, and Canada (a population of roughly 310+30+20+500-60=800 million) using the same state they are throwing away $8 million of profit a year. I wish I was so rich that I could throw away that type of moolah! I'm surprised the shareholders of the companies that own Hulu aren't protesting at their pointless sacrifice of over $5 million.

Viewers and fans of great TV lose nothing from this censorship, it is merely inconvenient. The real losers are the censors who choose not to make millions of dollars from willing international audiences. This is the present reality, the future is to make it profitable for content creators. They are the real losers in this system they have designed. Making laws to "fight piracy" reduce your own revenue is a stupid thing to do. If they want to fight piracy they will bring content to where it is being demanded and make profit where they currently are making nothing.

The internet is where people are looking for content today, and broadcasting is a thing of the past. Multicasting is the present and the future, and the sooner content creators accept this fact the sooner they can make the profit they should be making.

This is why DRM is the biggest financial drain of content creators today.

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