How Hollywood and Telecom could help one another…
At the moment of writing, Mega Upload was closed by the FBI. Mega Upload represents different things to different people. For Hollywood it represents every form of evil. For others it represents the example of how an industry is alienated from its customers base.
The five why’s
Why are people downloading illegal content that is copyright protected? They don’t want to pay for DVDs and Blu-ray.
Why don’t people want to pay for DVDs and Blu-ray? They are too expensive and not useable in modern households.
Why are DVDs and Blu-ray too expensive and not useable in modern households? €10-20 for a CD, book, DVD or Blu-ray is too expensive if you can get it “for free”. CDs, books, DVDs and Blu-ray do not work on a tablet, mobile phone, smart TV, game box, on-the-go, etc.
How much would people be willing to pay? How would people want to access content? People are likely not willing to pay more than €1 / movie/book/song or even less. Ideally there are all you can eat solutions for €10-20/month. People want to have access in digital format and streaming format so they can take it via their tablet or mobile phone on the go but also watch it from their smart TV without downloading previously.
Why is Hollywood not offering low cost content, all you can eat solutions and digital copies and streaming services globally? Good question. They probably prefer to stick to their old business model and use government regulations to alienate their customers base even more. Hollywood is also scared of distributing content digitally because of fears of canabilizing business and enabling more free sharing.
How can things be done differently?
Assumption: In general people will want to pay for individual content as long as they really want it, the price is low and it is easier to get legal content then illegal content.
Who can charge customers euro cents per transaction? telecom operators.
Who can see if content is distributed illegally? telecom operators.
Who can help users quickly get to legal content? telecom operators.
How can the telecom operators offer a solution that is different from iTunes or Amazon solutions?
Telecom operators have a secret weapon they are not using. Telecom operators know which people are downloading illegal content if they wanted to.
What if your telecom operator would offer a simple set of APIs for content providers to embed in websites to sell individual content at prices between €0.01 and €1, to watermark content and to give content providers a revenue share of 90%?
What if your telecom operator would offer a service for all you can eat content in which for €10-20/month you would be able to access all content (download and streaming) and 80% of the revenue would be distributed according to usage between the content providers?
What if a user signed an agreement that for the individual price or all-you-can-eat price they get the right to use the content for their household and its devices but if they distributed the content they would automatically agree to a distribution license of €1000?
What if all the content that the telecom operator distributes is automatically protected? Proxies would scan all P2P and Mega Upload alternatives to see if watermarks can be detected. If they are detected then the user that purchased the original content is automatically charged the distribution license fee. The watermarked content download would be blocked or substituted by publicitiy for the official alternative. The P2P proxies would cache content hence users that use P2P for non-copyright-protected material would see the performance go up.
How can Hollywood survive on a €0.01-1 / content fee or an all-you-can-eat €10-20 / month? If it is easier to aquire legal alternatives then the number of people that will acquire them will multiply with 10 to a 100. This should mean that overall revenue is likely to be the same only the number of transactions multiply.
What is the advantage for telecom operators? Downloads of content happen any how. The difference is that they will become new revenue stream instead of cost centers.
The system should be offered global and in the next months. Not in 3 years and only in the US and the UK. The window of opportunity is closing and no police force or politician is able to defend a business model that is not aimed towards fulfilling its customers needs. The alternatives will come from crowd funded content generation and over-the-top content distribution, so at the end both Hollywood and Telecom will loose.