Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Cameron Diaz and “Bad Teacher” Come Early to Apple, Amazon

Can’t bear to wait six more days to watch “Bad Teacher” on DVD? You’re in luck: Sony is already selling digital copies of the Cameron Diaz movie via iTunes, Amazon, Xbox and other platforms.

As Variety (registration required) notes, it’s the first time a big studio has done this with a widely released movie — normally Hollywood puts out digital copies at the same time as discs. The idea with this test is to see if an early window for Apple, etc., can goose sales.

It’s one of a series of experiments the studios are conducting with distribution windows (see: $60 Eddie Murphy movies), and I can sort of see the studio logic here: Digital “sell-through” is one of the only growing parts of a slumping home entertainment market.

But the bigger trend in home entertainment seems to be that people aren’t interested in buying movies, period. If they have a choice, they’ll rent them instead, via one-off video-on-demand or subscription services like Netflix.

Some studio guys are trying to figure out how to take that choice away from consumers, but I think that’s wishful thinking. More practical: Learning to live with a diminished home video revenue stream.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work