Tuesday, March 30, 2010

James Cameron: Innovation Trumps Any Piracy Threat

from TechDirt.com:
James Cameron: Innovation Trumps Any Piracy Threat

Nearly a year ago, Techdirt reader Parker Mason had submitted a story to us, suggesting that the amazing visuals and 3D + IMAX aspect of Avatar was a perfect example of adding value to movies that would give people a real reason to go to the theater. I actually kept that story open in a tab for months, intending to write it up, and I never got around to it -- and, to be honest, I wasn't entirely convinced that Avatar would really get a huge reception. Don't I look foolish? Yes, Avatar obviously has been a blockbuster of blockbuster proportions -- in part because of exactly those points. People want that greater experience and I was certainly among those who ponied up for the full 3D IMAX version (and not the fake IMAX version either -- thanks to a friend who reminded me of that bit of deception).

It looks like James Cameron recognizes all this as well. Nastybutler77 was the first of a bunch of you to point to Cameron's claim that innovation trumps "piracy," which he made onstage at CTIA:
"In film we have definitely felt threatened by piracy," he said. "We saw the music industry crash and burn in its efforts to stop it. But with G4 (I think he meant 4G wireless) and Moore's Law, you can't fight it...."

"The music industry saw it coming, they tried to stop it, and they got rolled over," he said. "Then they started suing everybody. And now it is what it is."

Instead, Cameron said he has tried to innovate to give movie goers a reason to go to theater. And in creating a rich, "reinvigorated cinema experience," Cameron said he discovered that people are willing to pay money to experience the same content in different ways. Not only are they willing to pay $10 or more to see Avatar on the big screen in 3D, but they also will pay to own the DVD and to take it with them on their phone or portable device.

"People are discriminating about the experience," he said. "They want to own it, have it on a iPhone when they want it, and they want the social experience of going to the cinema. These are really different experiences. And I think they can all co-exist in the same eco-system."
Indeed. It's great that he's recognizing this. The other interesting point he made was that they're going to release the Avatar DVD while the film is still showing in the theaters -- in part because the show is still doing well in the theaters. Of course, many theaters have complained about how they don't want shorter release windows (or, horror of horrors, the idea of releasing a movie in the theater and on DVD at the same time). However, it will be interesting to see whether the DVD release, while the movie is still in some theaters, leads to at least a little bump in box office sales for the movie, as people who watch it on DVD decide they want to see it on the big screen.

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