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Friday, May 26, 2006


The Digital Domain is getting more and more complex and the products and functions available are turning into what I call "THE BIG BLUR". Listed below are some definitions and linkings that my help your focus.

Content: Creation-Software-Production Technology

Connection (Distribution) : Hardware-Delivery Mode (Web,Cable, Satellite,Podcast, etc.)

Conveyance: Phone-PC-Setbox-TV-Cinema-iPOD

Gaming: Boxes-Online-PC
D-TV-Interactive TV-HDTV
Music: CD-Web-Radio-Satellite Radio-Concert-PodCast
Film-Digital Cinema
VOD-DVRs-Interactive TV
Cable-Broadcast-Satellite TV
Cell Phone-Streaming-VOIP

Monday, May 08, 2006


Piracy in the theatre industry takes all forms. Camcorder piracy is a major threat to U.S. film distributors and exhibitors both at home and abroad, typically involving organized criminals that illegally record theatrical films with camcorders in some instances, even prior to their U.S. release. Once made, these copies appear in a matter of hours on the Internet on peer-to-peer networks, file transfer protocol (FTP) sites, or Internet Relay Chat (IRC) rooms.

At the same time, the pirates sell these master recordings to illicit "source labs" where they are illegally duplicated, packaged and prepared for sale on the black market, then distributed to bootleg "dealers" across the country and overseas. Consequently, the film appears in street markets around the world just days after the U.S. theatrical release and well before its international debut.

WAIT...It Gets Worse

The above scenario plays out every day - but wait - it gets worse. Cinema piracy has become guerilla warfare. So if you think your cinema is immune - it's not. And it's not all overseas or just in large urban areas. Even drive-in theatres are under attack.

Parking lot cinemas (more commonly referred to as Guerilla Drive-Ins) are popping up from Los Angeles to Ann Arbor. Cinema Guerillas commandeer parking lots to project films onto the outside walls of large building. Lawrence Bridges, the pioneer of parking lot cinemas, calls his illegal activity "a gift and tribute" to LA. When police arrive Mike Lesousky, the film's projectionist says, "we BS them." I say, "I've talked to the owner and he gave me permission." These Guerillas post their show times and locations on the internet. Kate McCabe, of Ann Arbor, says her group ("rad-art") likes to project movies onto the back walls of movie theatres. McCabe states, "That's real irony and gives us an emotional boost." In Chicago, Pilot (which terms itself a "movie collective") lights up interior warehouse walls with movie videos and Wes Modes of Santa Cruz says, "Just enjoying a movie for free is motivational."

Motivated to do what we're not sure. Guerilla Drive-Ins are currently only a fringe activity but should not be taken lightly by the cinema industry. Lawrence Bridges on his website www.12org. states you can bring a makeshift drive-in to your town. In fact, if he likes your project he'll fly you to LA for training and send you home with a video projector.

Characteristics Of Pirated DVD Product
  • Disc Burned not Replicated
  • Poor Quality Artwork
  • No Studio Logos on Disc
  • Multiple DVD Discs per Movie
  • Movie in Theatrical Release
  • No Overwrap Packaging
  • No Hologram Label or Security Sticker
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its members are dedicated to ensuring that the sources of piracy are eradicated and to educating people about the gravity of the issue. Among the current measures to mitigate the level of illegal camcording activity are:
  • Investing in security
  • Changing legislation
  • Nationwide hot-line (800) 371-9884
  • Public education and training
  • Camcording jamming
  • Forensic watermarking
  • Advanced in-theatre camcorder detection
Another battle in the war is Optical Disc Piracy. This form of piracy refers to the illegal replication and subsequent sale, distribution, or trading of copies of motion pictures in digital video disc (DVD) or video compact disc (VCD) format. These illegal hard goods are then sold on web-sites, online auction sites like eBay, via e-mail solicitations and by street vendors at flea markets and swap meets. The most common format seen in the U.S. is the DVD.

The bottom line on piracy is that it's not some college kids in their dorms downloading a movie onto their PC's. This war is large, organized, and intent on seeing the industry disappear. To be replaced by what? What do these Guerillas think will replace a form of entertainment that has enlightened, motivated, thrilled, and charmed millions and millions for over 100 years.

Everyone involved in the cinema industry(0r for that matter any of the arts) should be proactive in the vigilance against entertainment content piracy. Be involved in your community and let people know and understand the signifigance of the problem and what they can do to help prevent it.

Reprinted from Entertainment Equipment's "The Marquee" magazine. For a copy or for more information on this topic, contact: Entertainment Equipment at www.gotoeec.com

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Just The STATS/ Videogaming

The facts on videogaming and the cinema:
  • 60% of Americans (over 145 million) play videogames
  • Average age of videogamer is: 28
  • Over $6.4 billion of computer & videogame software was sold in '05
  • Online gaming, the fastest growing segment, is expected to reach $1.7 billion by '07
  • Nearly 50% of online gamers are women (attracted by the social nature of the games)
  • For '05: there were $3 billion of videogame consoles sold vs. $2 billion of DVD players
GAMING IS HUGE! So much so that we have advised clients on having video gaming tournaments in their cinemas to take advantage of this cultural iconoclast.

For information and advice on how to develop and manage video gaming at your cinema contact us for a VGT Kit.

FYI:Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) Rating Symbols

- Early Childhood - Titles rated EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be
suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

E - Everyone - Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6
and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy, or mild violence
and/or infrequent use of mild language.

E10+ - Everyone 10+ - Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more
cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

T - Teen - Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.
Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal
blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

M - Mature - Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages
17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual
content and/or strong language.

A - Adults Only - Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played
by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of
intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

RP - Rating Pending - Titles listed as RP (Rating Pending) have been submitted to the
ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a
game's release.)