I hate the inability of reporters to think critically, acting instead as echoing mouthpieces for whatever corporation, government, or entity has released the press clipping they're using in place of doing their actual job of, you know, reporting.
Today's prime sample comes via the AP, bylined Gary Gentile. Sorry Gary, but you deserve this.
First up, the headline: "Hollywood studios sell movies on the Web". Actually, what they're selling is the ability to download and view a copy of the movie. So a better headline would be "Hollywood studios sell additional movie viewings via the Web." Let's call a spade a spade and refer to these as "tickets" because that's the model at work here.
Next, the subhead proclaims: A FIRST: MAJOR FILMS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE TO OWN (caps in original). Leaving aside torrents and other illegal sharing, this ignores every other download scheme that has preceded it. It also carefully elides the key word "some." In fact a better phrasing would be "Hollywood makes some big-budget films available." I dispute the word "own" here because in fact what's being sold is some DRM-wrappered package of bits that you very clearly do NOT own. I own my DVDs. I can copy them, watch them on different players, resell them, et cetera. None of these things are do-able with these latest downloads. Thus "own" is... well, let's be charitable and say it's misleading.
Bravely we soldier forward to the body text where we read: "The films can't be burned onto a disc for viewing on a DVD player. Still, the move is seen as a step toward full digital distribution of movies over the Internet." This prompts any critical thinker above the age of 12 to say "by whom?" What person outside of the Cartel could possibly view this as a step forward? This is along the lines of stores that tell you they've reduced their hours, cut service, eliminated perks "for your benefit." Um, no.
Then we're told that these download tickts "will be priced similar to DVDs -- between $20 and $30." I don't know about you, but the last time I paid $30 for a DVD was quite some time ago. Most are going hot off the legal press for $12-18, depending on which discount outlet you frequent. Perhaps Mr. Gentile shops at more upscale boutiques for his DVDs, but more likely he didn't even bother to check one basic fact before filing his copy.
Finally, we get a quote in which Jim Ramo, chief executive at Movielink (the Cartel arm with exclusive license to sell these tickets) gets to gush rapturously that "Digital delivery hasn't arrived until the major studios allow home ownership, and now they have and now digital delivery is very real." Gag me with a sycophant. First off, digital delivery arrived in my home the day the cable company put in a digital box, about three years ago. Second, "allowing" home ownership makes it sound like the king has deigned to bestow his blessings on the populace. OK, sure, that's how they see the world, but it's still disgusting and shouldn't be mentioned in public. And finally, I think I already addressed the "ownership" lie. Letting a Cartel exec repeat the lie unchallenged doesn't make it true.
OK, I can't bear to continue the point-by-point dissection. The gist is that it's PC-only, some movies, doesn't include Disney at all, only gives a few of the films on the same day as DVD release - most are delayed 45 days - and is just overall a continuation of the sad sorry attempts by the Cartel to defend their antiquated business models. Oh, for a press reporter who would actually report THAT news.