January 30, 2005

“Roll-Your-Own” Tech for TVs [5:12 pm]

Here we go again - the end of television is nigh, according to Steal This Show. Yet, the author fails to reconcile these two points:

  1. Executives at the entertainment conglomerates and the Motion Picture Association of America argue that the industry and the government have to move - fast - to establish rules by which copyrighted television programming “cannot be moved around willy-nilly,” as Rick Cotton, executive vice president and general counsel of NBC Universal, puts it.

    Otherwise, television executives say, the very creation of television programming is placed in jeopardy. “It’s very expensive to produce and market, and people will be very reluctant to provide that content if it can’t be adequately secured,” said John Malcolm, the senior vice president and director of worldwide antipiracy operations for the M.P.A.A.

    One way to protect such content, according to the industry, is through the introduction of something called the broadcast flag. [...]

  2. Television DVD’s, an afterthought in the DVD market just three years ago, were an estimated $2.3 billion-dollar business last year, according to a recent Merrill Lynch research report. They now represent nearly 15 percent of total DVD revenue, with profit margins between 40 and 50 percent.

    Recent hit shows like “The Simpsons” can make a profit of $15 million - a season. And those are exactly the shows traded most online, according to Big Champagne. Although older shows are not quite as lucrative, the better ones can still bring in $1 million in profit for each season, the Merrill Lynch report found. So it’s no surprise that the studios and networks are emptying their vaults; “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Dynasty,” “The A-Team,” “Moonlighting” and “Remington Steele” are just a few of the DVD’s planned for release this spring.

Is it really the case that the copyright holder is supposed to be able to extract all the value of the copyright? Versus enough? How is this economic equation supposed to be balanced?

Slashdot: It’s Not TV, It’s MythTV

Related: the head of the U.K.’s OfCom says Net regulation ’still possible’; also the EFF’s (HD) Myth Becomes Reality TV

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