By Richard Menta 7/27/05
Why do televisions shows sell so well in the DVD market? After all, we can record them for free at home with our VCRs. One particular show, the Family Guy, was a cancelled program that sat almost two years before it came to DVD. It became the biggest selling DVD ever on its release.
As I wrote last winter in my article "Can Free Broadcast TV Really Be Napsterized?" all of the eposides of this discarded show were available online well before the DVD came out. The heavy trading of the show did not diminish DVD sales. In fact, it may have promoted the episodes, just like hearing the same song on the radio a million times promotes, not diminishes, its record sales. Sony BMG's settlement yesterday in yet another radio payola scandal only confirms how important free radio play is to record sales.
So why is it that the TV and Movie industries are so scared that file sharing will damage DVD sales? In the wake of years of file sharing their revenues are up for the upteenth consecutive year.
Slyck.com is reporting that the Family Guy movie Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story! has been leaked to the free file sharing networks before its official release this September. According to the article:
The movie studios received one of their biggest blows today with the news that a high quality copy of the Family Guy movie is spreading rapidly around P2P networks, months before its home theater release.
According to the information file published by the release group Angelic Evolution, the movie has been ripped from an exclusive DVD premiere.
Tell me, if the DVDs of the original episodes of the show sold so well despite having been recorded and traded by millions before their release why should the new direct-to-DVD movie fail now? Past DVD sales suggest that the release of Stewie Griffin on the P2P services won't mean much at all to the bottom line.
But here is an idea, let's make this a test case. Let's wait for the DVD to be released this September and see what happens. Let's see if sales fade or are a success. Maybe the early release on the file sharing services will significantly harm sales? Maybe it won't?
But what if sales soar? What does it prove then?
It proves that the media industries need to further research the promotional properties of file sharing, properties the independent record labels believe in and one that I offered compelling evidence of back in 2000.
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