A senior Disney executive has finally come out and said what we've all known for a long time - that the way to beat pirates is to create a better product, not try and lock down content.
Anne Sweeney is head of the ABC TV group within Disney, which is responsible for some of the biggest shows on TV, including Lost
and Desperate Housewives
. As Ars reports
, she had this to say on her latest analyst conference call:
"So we understand piracy now as a business model... It exists to serve a need in the marketplace specifically for consumers who want TV content on demand and it competes for consumers the same way we do, through high-quality, price and availability and we don't like the model. But we realize it's effective enough to make piracy a key competitor going forward. And we've created a strategy to address this threat with attractive, easy to use ways to for viewers to get the content they want from us legally; in other words, keeping honest people honest."
Wow! It's great to see someone acknowledging that buying a 320x240 video for $1.99 is not as good as downloading a 1280x720 video for nothing - common sense to us, but verging on heresy in the mainstream.
ABC is releasing a new online player which will allow viewers to see the latest episodes of its shows for nothing - via streaming video supported by unskippable advertising. It also puts its content on the iTunes Store, something of a no-brainer when Steve Jobs owns so much of Disney, ABC's parent company.
Do you think big media companies can create a better product than the pirates? The only thing piracy lacks is a reliable, easy - to - use distribution mechanism. Whilst BitTorrent might be easy enough for tech geeks to use, it's not mother material, which is where companies can improve upon the service. What do you think? Let us know over in the forums.