When Movies Meet PCs

Two of the world’s largest media industries have notfigured out what to do with each other.

Movies and the Internet, arguably the two mostpopular entertainment and commerce vehicles, somehowcan’t seem to find a way to shake hands.

Though it’s difficult to say which medium needs theother more, the audience is largely the same, and itwould make sense for the two to find common ground.

At the same time, while motion picture executives and Internetentrepreneurs collectively scratch their headstrying to determine the best media mixopportunities, chances are other industries aregoing to decide for them.

Big Movie Winner

Consider BMW, the elite German automobilemanufacturer, a company many observers would thinkto be the last to develop the movie-Internetconnection.

BMW didn’t reach the top of its game without a senseof the future, or without taking some monumentalcommercial risks. And the auto company has doneit again.

This time, BMW has come up with copious amounts offunding for five renowned filmmakers to producedigital short films.

Hidden Agenda

Among them is Ang Lee, creator of the multi-Academy award winning motion picture, “CrouchingTiger, Hidden Dragon.”

Lee’s new digital effort, “The Chosen,” cleverly weaves a BMW into the plot.

BMW’s strategy includes product placement,entertainment, promotion and smart marketing, allwrapped up in one neat digital short film package.

In the end, everybody wins, including BMW, theviewers and Lee. There’s a glimpse of an action figure at the end ofthe digital film that is a hint about the director’s next motionpicture, “The Incredible Hulk.”

Virtual Marketing

Of course, the movie studios aren’t totally out of it when it comes to the Web. In the search for the best use of a competingmedium, Universal has wisely embraced theInternet, rather than avoiding it.

Almost 200,000 unique visitors visited”The Mummy” Web site during thefirst week of May. Visitors logged on to watchtrailers of the film and buy merchandise associated with the film.

Universal’s approach suggests that major studios are recognizing the immense marketing potential at theirvirtual fingertips.

Can We Talk?

Movie execs like to refer to it as “synergy.”Cynics generally come up with something morelike, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” As usual,the cynics are over-simplifying the issue.

The relationship between motion pictures and theInternet is about much more than competition. It’sabout finding a way to take advantage of newtechnologies to enhance an industry that has fallen onsluggish times.

Trump Card

Meanwhile, as Napster is to the music industry, so “DivX” may become to the movie industry.

DivX is software that allows auser to compress a full-length motion picture into aformat small enough to be transferred to theInternet and stored on a CD. Savvy computer usershave broken the next taboo, and unearthed an entiremovie piracy movement.

Big daddy software manufacturer Microsoft alreadyclaims DivX has usurped its technology to produce itsproduct, and while the battle heats up between thetwo companies, movie execs are again scratchingtheir heads wondering what to do.

The Motion Picture Association of America wiselysees the technology as a way to bring more of itsproducts to a larger consumer base, via their homecomputers, but naturally wants it done in a legal,fee-paid manner.

Price of Progress

In any event, no one involved expects averagecomputer users to be downloading full-length moviesin the very near future. Still, there’s probably no stopping it. Rememberback in the early 1980s when movie companiesprotested technology that would allow VCR owners totape movies from their TV sets?

Some observers believe everyone is missing theforest for the trees. The advent of video-on-demandvia personal computers could be a huge boon for anynumber of industries, not the least of which isadvertising, which could finally find a viable e-commerce home via online movies.

Network and cable television organizations might seethe wisdom of such advertising, thereby increasingtheir own consumer base and sweetening the bottomline.

Synergy? Call it what you will, but when moviesmeet PCs, look for the e-commerce earth to move.

What do you think? Let’s talk about it.


Note: The opinions expressed by our columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the E-Commerce Times or its management.


1 Comment

  • When I hear all this whining by the movie industry about movie piracy, all I can do is simply laugh. In spite of any sort of piracy that has been going on, the movie, Spiderman, raked in a record 141 million dollars on its first day at the theaters!! Even if there is any piracy going on, the above-mentioned fact shows that no real dent is made in the movie industry’s profits! I guess that because of movie piracy, they will lose 2 or 3 billion dollars from the hundreds of billions of dollars they already make. Boo Hoo Hoo!!! Those in the movie industry are nothing but a bunch of money-grubbing weasels!

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