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FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

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FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

Postby StlSluggers » Mon May 10, 2010 1:21 pm

This outta close down a few movie theaters...

Washington, D.C. — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), saying it was “in the public interest” today approved a request by the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) to permit recent movies to be sent directly to American households over secure high definition transmission lines from their cable or satellite providers prior to their release on DVD or Blu-ray.

“This action is an important victory for consumers who will now have far greater access to see recent high definition movies in their homes. And it is a major step forward in the development of new business models by the motion picture industry to respond to growing consumer demand.” said Bob Pisano, President and Interim CEO of the MPAA. “We deeply appreciate the recognition by the FCC that recently released movies need special protection against content theft when they are distributed to home televisions.”

Specifically, the issue before the FCC was a request by the MPAA for permission to use selectable output control (SOC), which would allow televisions with digitally secure interfaces to receive high-definition content from a cable, satellite or IPTV provider, before its release on DVD or Blue-ray. Using SOC protects content because during the broadcast it essentially disables non-secure, analog outputs to avoid illegal circumvention and distribution of copyrighted material.

In its order, the FCC said: “On balance, this limited waiver will provide public interest benefits– making movies widely available for home viewing far earlier than ever before – without imposing harm on any consumers.”
“The first, and best way to view movies will always be in movie theaters – and nothing can replace the pleasure this brings to millions and millions of people all across our country and the globe,” Pisano said. “But for those people unable to make it to the theater and interested in viewing a recently released movie, thanks to the FCC, they will now have a new option. For other consumers who prefer standard, linear, on-demand or DVD or Blu-ray options, these services will be unchanged."

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Re: FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

Postby Art Vandelay » Mon May 10, 2010 1:28 pm

The MPAA actually responding to the needs and desires of its customers and trying to stay on the cutting edge of current technology? Crazy. Maybe the RIAA should take notes.
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Re: FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

Postby knapplc » Mon May 10, 2010 1:43 pm

We took the kid to see How to Train Your Dragon Friday night. For two adults, one kid, popcorn and soda, we spent $40. The thing that pissed me off the most was the kiddie popcorn and soda, which was all we bought, cost $7.50. I get the whole "profit" thing, but that's crazy. I'd so much rather save the $$$$ I spend on parking and snacks at the theater and put that towards a nice TV in the family room than continue to spend $40-ish for a movie at a theater, the majority of which is pure profit for the theater company.

I very much applaud this ruling, but it makes me wonder, with all the profit from ancillary sales, what's the motivation for the movie company to sell me a movie for immediate home consumption? Or do the movie companies not care about the theater owners?
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Re: FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

Postby Art Vandelay » Mon May 10, 2010 1:48 pm

knapplc wrote:Or do the movie companies not care about the theater owners?

It's probably this. They've had a good, symbiotic relationship for a century, but the studios don't make money off popcorn sales. They can see the writing on the wall, which is more and more money being made off DVD sales and home viewing than theater viewing. I'm sure they'd like to keep the theater owners happy, but that'd be like the record labels doing something detrimental to themselves in order to keep their vinyl suppliers happy.
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Re: FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

Postby The Artful Dodger » Mon May 10, 2010 1:55 pm

It's a win-win situation for the studios anyway and if anything, they're likely to make better margins out of direct home distribution than the theaters. Unfortunately, the movie theater business isn't a very lucrative one because the studios/filmmakers get such a big cut. They get big leverage when they release a blockbuster film like Iron Man 2, that practically every theater must exhibit that film in order to get repeat business. Theaters have no choice but to raise concessions, especially when they have to keep up with better digital technology.

Personally, I like the upscale movie theater experience. They charge a higher gate, but the services are top-notch, with amenities such as reserved seating, state-of-the-art display, more comfortable seating, and even booze. It's either that or the IMAX. The big movie chains like AMC have gradually gotten worse service-wise and again, I wouldn't blame them for it, given the market conditions.
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Re: FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

Postby Dan Lambskin » Mon May 10, 2010 3:40 pm

cool...i still enjoy going to the movies and seeing certain blockbusters on the big screen, but for dramas and comedies i wont have to wait as long to see them
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Re: FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

Postby Madison » Mon May 10, 2010 4:04 pm

So where's the catch? :-? I even clicked through and read the article (I see the author isn't fond of the decision :-b ), but the only negative mentioned was that the movie theaters will take a beating and most will go out of business.

For those who know a lot about this stuff, what kind of possible bandwidth problem will this cause? I've read articles saying people suck up too much bandwidth on the internet and it will "max out" not too far down the road, so what will this decision do as far as that goes?

Personally, I don't like going to the movies. Ticket prices are nuts, concession prices are nuts, half the time you wind up missing something in the movie because other viewers are too loud/obnoxious, if you go to the bathroom (or take your kid to the bathroom) you miss something, etc, etc, etc. So I generally buy the DVD or wait for it to hit cable and avoid the headaches. I could see myself ordering a new release movie on a pay-per-view type of deal, so I think I like this decision. ;-D

Oh, and I wonder how many new records will be broken once this becomes mainstream. In the rare event I go to the theater, it is even more rare for me to go on an opening weekend or anything because it's just way too packed! This decision will affect those "records" I would think. Then again, if multiple people in the household are watching instead of buying tickets, maybe not. Hmm... lot of thoughts on this one, but so far I like what I see/think. ;-D
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Re: FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

Postby StlSluggers » Mon May 10, 2010 4:09 pm

Personally, this won't change my movie-going habits one bit unless they actually close down the theater.

I only go to the movies for action flicks with good special effects, and I won't pay new-movie price for something on my TV. I'll just wait for it to come out on DVD, like I always have.
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Re: FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

Postby knapplc » Mon May 10, 2010 4:27 pm

I'm surprised at that, Sluggo. This will make me do two things: 1) finally buy a nice, big, new TV and 2) pretty much never ever go to a theater again.

I can't remember the last time I went to a theater and truly thought that I had to see that movie there. Taking the overall experience into consideration, from cost to logistics to interruptions to ambiance to convenience, I can't imagine why I'd ever go to a theater again.
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Re: FCC Allows MPAA to Distribute NEW Movies Directly to Homes

Postby The Artful Dodger » Mon May 10, 2010 4:30 pm

I don't really think this drastically hurts the movie theater business because going to the movies is still an event for most folks. This rings especially true if the movie in question is one that really needs to be experienced in the theater (Avatar is a great example). There's a deeper social aspect of going to the movies on say, a Friday night or a weekend, and the must-see factor about seeing a movie in a theater just resonates more with some people.

As far as bandwidth goes, the Internet as a whole has gotten faster over the last 5-6 years as bandwidth has gotten cheaper, but of course there's enough congestion/overload to go around. It's still quite expensive to stream HD movies on a mass scale. We're a ways away from Internet2 and so, bandwidth congestion is probably going to be a persistent issue, for the Internet in general.
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