The PhoneBoy Blog

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Streaming Movies Should Cost 99 Cents

Seeing as I was planning to go see the new Tron: Legacy movie today (I did–it was pretty good IMO), I figured it’d be a good idea to refresh my memory and watch the orignal. I vaguely remember seeing the movie at the Drive-In when I was a youth, but I probably fell asleep during it and didn’t actually watch much of it.

I tried to find the movie and I stumbled across the complete movie on YouTube–in HD no less. I added the private YouTube channel to my Roku box and fired up the movie, which I watched with my wife and my son. Even though I warned him this movie was released nearly 30 years ago, my son was appalled at the graphics. He was also generally bored by the movie, though he thought Tron: Legacy was a lot better.

In any case, this is the first time I had really had a chance to “show off” the Roku box to my wife. The default Netflix channel was there and I explained how it worked and that, for $8 a month, we could watch as many movies as we wanted whenever we wanted.

Her problem: she rarely has time to watch anything–certainly not enough to make $8/mo worthwhile. She’d rather do a pay-as-you-go.

So I showed her the Amazon channel. I flipped through the movie selection. The movies varied in price, of course, but she balked when she saw it cost $1.99 (or a lot more, in some cases) to rent something.

Her comment: it should only cost $0.99 to rent a movie. At that price point, it’s worth renting a movie once in a while. Anything more than that just isn’t worth it.

I have to say, there’s something magical about that $0.99 price point. I can’t tell you how many applications I’ve purchased on iTunes at that price point. There are a few games I’ve never played that I bought precisely because it dropped down to $0.99 (from a much higher price point).

I would have happily paid $0.99 to watch Tron via Amazon or some other service. I couldn’t even buy the movie on DVD since Disney decided to let the DVD go out of print. Instead, I watched it on YouTube. For free. And the new movie? Can easily be had on Bittorrent. For free.

When will the content rights holders realize free is their true competition? Instead of working against Redbox and Netflix–two companies who clearly understand how people want to consume content and what they’re willing to pay–work with them. You’ll have a lot more people consuming the content and you’ll make a lot more money.

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#Cybersecurity Evangelist, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.