Thursday, January 7, 2010

The future of DVDs and Classic Film availability

Kate Gabrielle's post about opening her DVD collection to all of us, which is so nice of her to do, inspired me to brainstorm on the future of classic film availability.
I was listening to NPR the other day, and they were talking about how DVDs may soon give way to a new format, just like VHS did a decade ago (has it really been a decade?). I think the best way for this to go would be a transition to an all-streaming database of films managed by their respective studios. For a monthly fee you have access to all of their films, much like the Instant Watch section of Netflix. Another option would be to offer them as downloads and rentals, like iTunes already does with a limited supply of new releases. Not only does this save resources like Plastics (which may soon be limited due to their carbon footprint), it gives the studios mostly profit! The only things they need to manage are their bandwidth, which would be considerably cheaper than manufacturing millions od DVDs of a bad movie that will eventually be in the $5 bin at wal-mart.
This puts the classic film fan in an especially important position. Not only will we have access to thousands of "forgotten" films, the money we spend to purchase their download or subscribe to theirstreaming service could go directly to their preservation and restoration.
Many people bring up piracy as an issue if the film business moves to a primarily online platform. I think that it will be a non-issue if movies are suddenly affordable. Even a monthly subscription of $39.99 is about the price of 3 regularly-priced DVDs, which many film fans say is equivalent to or fewer than their avergage monthly purchase. If movies become affordable, say $3 or $4 a pop, piracy will practically disappear. After all, most people don't steal things they can afford.
That's all for now, but I hope it got your brain juices flowing!



  1. Rock on!!!

    I would really dig this - although I am still 'old school' enough to want a 'hard copy' of whatever I purchase... however, I guess just downloading and getting a 'backup' of it on a hard drive is kinda the 'modus operandi' really not much of a jump to a 'DVD-less' format...

    Would like to see the studios release their ENTIRE catalogs from Day One, for a 'on-demand' type arrangement (WB is doing that with the 'archives' deal...). Not sure how a 'single' monthly fee would work unless all the studios worked together (good luck with THAT)...but then again, I guess NetFlix is kinda doing that now.

    Anyway, good things might be ahead...and hopefully the classics will be taken care of well!

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