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May 11, 2006
What Does a Torrent Deal Amount To?
In some strange universe, it apparently amounts to... well, a clue. At least if the public statements of Kevin Tsujihara, resident of the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, are to be believed.
The clue? If you offer the product people want in the form they want it, they're likely to buy it. Shocking, I know. But this is the Cartel we're talking about.
In this case, it appears that Warner Brothers have done a deal with BitTorrent (the company) to put out torrents of popular movies at roughly DVD prices, and torrents of TV shows that might be as low as a buck apiece. Here's what Tsujihara is quoted as stating:
"If we can convert 5, 10, 15 per cent of the peer-to-peer users that have been obtaining our product from illegitimate sources to becoming legitimate buyers of our product, that has the potential of a huge impact on our industry and our economics."
This is me sitting here, stunned. Yes, sir. Exactly. It's not about "smashing" "piracy." It's about luring away customers with a superior product. Trading existed before Napster burst onto the public consciousness and it still exists today. The difference is that today downloads of digital music make up a significant revenue stream. Next step - make that true for movies.
The devil is always in the details. As Blakely's story points out, previous download offers from the Cartel have, well, sucked when compared with the features available on DVDs. And please don't forget ease of use. If iTunes taught you anything, it should be that the customer experience trumps everything else. But maybe the Cartel is finally swinging around to a more compatible and less combative point of view.
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