Warner Bros Goes P2P via Bit Torrent

Thursday, May 11, 2006 | 07:15 PM



Does Warner Brothers honestly think we're going to pay $20 for a write-once DVD viewable only on our computers?

I hope not, because if it does, its plan to sell movies and television shows online using BitTorrent's peer-to-peer system is truly wrongheaded. This morning the studio, which has been fighting a bitter battle against file-sharing networks, announced a plan that on the surface appears to be a forward-thinking adaptation of a new distribution system.

"We've been struggling with peer-to-peer technology and trying to figure out a way to harness the good in all that the technology allows us to do," Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group, told the New York Times. "If we can convert 5, 10 or 15 percent of the illegal downloaders into consumers of our product, that is significant." It certainly would be.

But I can't imagine Warner will ever achieve conversion rates like that if the Torrented movies are  priced  the same as a shrink-wrapped DVD, yet be encumbered with a robust copy protection that allows them to be viewed only on the computer to which they are downloaded. Leave it to Hollywood to "embrace" peer-to-peer distribution and all the economies and efficiencies that go along with it and then ruin it by using it to peddle an inferior and overpriced product.

Thursday, May 11, 2006 | 07:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
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I suspect this is driven by lawyers, not by the hope of making sales -- if they show a court that illegal downloaders were offered the opportunity to buy, they can make a much better case against them.

Movie companies know full well that services like iTunes thrive on being cheap before anything else, this is what leads me to suspect that they are not aiming for sales, just for a benchmark.

Posted by: Blissex | May 12, 2006 8:34:02 AM

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