Online content theft has clearly taken its toll on the entertainment industry since the turn of the century. Music was the first to be hit hard following Napster’s arrival, with the publishing industry quick to face challenges of its own.
The movie industry was able to fend off the worst of piracy for a short time due to the sheer size of film files. But connection speeds quickly caught up and we now find similar problems for film, the top 10 most pirated of 2013 alone comprising tens of millions of illegal views.
Thankfully, movie-makers have one ace in the hole that pirates can never replicate, as highlighted in a New York Times piece this week.
The Inimitable Silver Screen
For all the moral and creative arguments against consuming illegal content, some people only take different action when they’re own needs aren’t satisfied. This is unfortunate, but a reality that the creative industries have faced up to for a long time.
It’s also the reason that studios go to such great lengths to put on a spectacular show, because this is the one part of the unique movie experience that pirates are unable to copy.
For decades, American families have been able to rely on movie night as a staple of accessible entertainment. It’s one of the first things that springs to mind when we ask “what should we do tonight?” Movie listings are one of the most popular types of search results, and each new box office smash attracts the attention of audiences across the country. Rural or urban, young or old, people still get excited at the prospect of a visit to the silver screen.
A substandard bootleg of a new release will simply never come close to the occasion and social experience of a night out at a movie theater.
A New Experience
And if you haven’t been out to the movies in a while, you might notice some changes when you return.
In addition to the major advances that new technology brings to the cinematic experience, theater chains are beginning to realize that there’s demand for a variety of experiences on movie night. Some still want just the traditional popcorn, soft drink and a comfortable seat, of course.
But others are asking for a more VIP evening out, seeking anything from luxurious recliners to a full dining menu before (or during!) their movie of choice. iPic’s expansion in Los Angeles is one example of this, where gourmet food and hospitality is as much a factor as visuals that burst from the screen. It makes complete sense, really. A movie provides several hours entertainment and takes up most of the night out, so why not wrap a full evening’s entertainment within the movie theater itself?
While new technology delivers ever-faster connections to the home and makes streaming content – both legal and illegal – more accessible than ever, at the other end of the spectrum it’s creating a social experience that’s second to none.
While Hollywood can’t rest in the fight against piracy at home, filmmakers can at least take pride in providing a cinematic experience that the pirates can never steal from the movie industry.