Netflix surpasses BitTorrents – Maybe now Hollywood will stop whining like babies

Netflix and similar services streaming movies and TV have finally surpassed the amount of downloads from P2P and BitTorrent providers for the first time in the history of the internet.  This is the first time that the amount of material being paid for online has surpassed that which is ill-gotten.  This change was reported by Sandvine, a company that sells network management and measurement software to large ISPs.  Shown below is a nifty chart that reinforces my previous statement in a colorful bar graph format for your amusement.

As many of my friends know I am constantly complaining about the backwards world we live in.  A world where for years stay at home moms and college students would face large amounts of jail time for downloading the latest music CD using P2P and BitTorrents.  Finally Apple came up with an amazing idea- make the songs easy to download online from a source you can trust!  Wow!  What an amazing idea!  It took 10 years of stupid lawsuits against hard working American citizens to realize that you could sell your music online and decrease the obscene prices that businesses like Tower Records were charging.  Why?  Because the media industry is chock full of backwards dinosaurs who fight the evolution of technology and the internet at every step of the way.

Radiohead is a good example and model for my next tirade.  Radiohead no longer has a record label and last year released “in Rainbows” by themselves.  They placed it on a server and had it available for download on their website.  You could pay what you thought it was worth, from 0 to hundreds or even thousands of pounds.  They left the choice up to you and since Radiohead is my all time favorite band I chose to spend about $12 which translated to around 20 pounds.  I think when most people are given the option to obtain something for free or pay the artists directly, they are more likely to pay.  Who wants to pay all the middle men who are involved?  When I was a musician we never saw a dime off our album because it all went to pay back the record label for studio time and a long laundry list of other items including merchandise and our residence in NYC during the recording process.  I can understand these expenses, but once a band hits the big time they usually see only about 3% of all income from their album sales.  That is sad given that the record label and other businesses involved would not have any income at all if it wasn’t for their artists.  Luckily this has all been changing with the introduction of the internet as a huge marketing force for independent artists and groups.  If the record labels and movie industry wants to stay involved they must evolve and change with the times and stop fighting the change.

In order for companies to become popular and spread their products across the world they need to spend huge amounts of money and natural resources on advertising, packaging, transport, and more.   I have been saying for years that a flat rate of say $200-$300 a month for a media service which includes all video games, movies, TV shows, and software is the way to go.  Companies could be rated based on how often their product is downloaded and utilized on an internal home or business computer network.  Businesses would then be paid on a sliding scale where the most downloaded and utilized products receive the most money and the rest trickles on down the list.  That way the industry stays alive and all contributors are supported based on the world’s usage of their product.  Also the consumer has access to everything they could possibly want or need from a source which pre-screens the content to certify that it is virus and malware free.

Of course, my model is theoretical and there are many perils and pitfalls, but it is simply an example of how the current industry dinosaurs have options that they have yet to consider.  We don’t need the FBI breaking down hard working, tax paying civilian doors to prevent them from downloading/uploading insubstantial material.  That’s a waste of tax payer dollars and jailing someone’s husband, mother, father, brother, or sister because they wanted a free blu-ray is just absurd.  Make it easier and financial realistic to obtain the material and people will pay for it.  The Netflix story above is my cold hard proof that this kind of business model works.

Thank you for reading and mentally participating in my lengthy tirade for the day.

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games / AdventureAWeek.com, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.