Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Will cinema always survive technological change, or is the latest technology a bigger threat because it is at the exhibiton end of the chain?

Piracy is the biggest threat to the film industry, with a 10 per cent increase each year in revenue lost to illegal downloading. With teenagers as young as 12 becoming more and more familiar with websites where streaming and downloading movies for free and easy, people are less likely to go to the cinema or buy a DVD. The rise in the popularity of watching films illegally can be attributed to a number of things; people becoming more and more knowledgable about eh technology, people's impatience to see a particular film or frustration if their local cinema is not showing it and I have observed that a recnet rise in cinema prices has done little to encourage people to go to the cinema to watch films. The warnings that companies issue about piracy and how it is a crime are in my experience very ineffective. Most people believe that the adverts don;t apply to them as they are not the one's filming or distributing the illegal copies,. they are just watching them. Despite the fact that they are still contributing to the loss in profit for the major film companies, the fact that illegally downloading is so common has made people think it's 'less' of a crime. Cinemas are recognising that these warnings are not really enough, therefore they are panning to use the new technology that threatens to ruin them to their advantage. By suing the Internet to distribute films with their consent, film companies plan to eliminate the need for piracy all together. Blanket distribution to all countries at the same time will stop people illegally downloading films because they are not on in their country or even their local cinema. It will also save a lot of money.

I think that the plan for films to become more digitalised and use the Internet to stream films legally will stop piracy to a certain extent. It will eliminate some of the problems that cause popel to watch or download illegal copies in the first place (not showing in their local cinema etc.) I find that this is a problem I come across a lot, that films I want to see are not showing anywhere local and it really frustrates me, so I think that it is a really positive outcome that digitalising films will make distribution easier. Also, as these films will be of higher quality than any pirate copy people are more likely to watch them. I think it may take a while for the idea to really take off however, as it is quite a radical change in the way we watch films. But then again most people are used to watch films illegally on their computer so why not legally? The next generation may well find it as normal as we find watch films illegally online. The only issue I can still see being a problem is cost. If prices to watch these films continues to be as high as it is now, some people will still prefer to watch illegal copies for free.

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