In June, when people were hopping up and down about a mysterious iPhone function that supposedly prevents users from making videos of live performances, I wrote a post about the strange and evolving intersection between Apple and the world of IP content producers. I wrote this:
Apple has complex and highly lucrative relationships built on and in many cases solely concerning intellectual property. It’s fairly IP-nutty. Apple’s technology, and the highly proprietary nature of its historically non-open-source business model, is highly dependant on IP enforcement. To a fault — even if not always better for Apple than for the developers.
There’s lots of IP in “APPLE.” You could even call IP the seed of Apple’s growth.
I guess I was on to something:
Apple’s domination of the digital media marketplace is more of a threat to movie companies than piracy, according to Miramax CEO Mike Lang.
Lang argued at the MIPCOM entertainment media event in Cannes this week that in order for movie companies to survive, there must be parity in the digital distribution marketplace, adding that iTunes is hurting competition.
“Piracy really is not the bigger issue for our company or for our library,” Lang said. “It’s been a lack of exploitation, just not getting it out there.”
With Apple’s domination of media distribution through its iTunes online store, Lang said the electronics maker is hindering movie companies from distributing their catalogs to a wider audience. The Miramax chief believes that more competition is healthy for both creators of media and the end consumer, as it drives prices down and allows for more content to be available in more places.
Is Apple really “dominating” media distribution? According to the article in Apple Insider, the Miramax honcho says it certainly does so in the music business, and Hollywood needs to make sure that doesn’t happen for movies:
He thinks the film industry needs to take note of the lessons learned by the music industry and try to foster cross-platform competition instead of focusing on one channel of distribution.
“That’s why we did our deal with Netflix, and why we also did our deal with Hulu,” he said. “We want multiple players to be successful.”
I’m sure they want that. It’s all about the players, the success.
I recommend reading the comments at this article. They’re not necessarily consistent in their criticism of Lang’s take, but quite a lot of them are quite insightful. Samples:
#8 This is one of the most inane statements I’ve seen for a long time. Apple is the leader in distributing movies electronically (along with, perhaps, Netflix). Without Apple, there’d be a lot LESS electronic distribution than there is now. Just how is Apple hindering them from distributing their catalogs? Has this executive not learned of the Internet? Apple doesn’t own or control the Internet. Then there’s Amazon. Netflix. Walmart (or did they drop theirs?). Google. Seems like every month or so, someone else has emerged to take on Apple in this arena.I would love to see this exec explain how Apple is hindering distribution. I would also laugh my head off if Apple actually publicly confronts him because of his stupidity.
#13 1. Netflix streaming is missing a whole lot of movies 2. The minute they raised pricing and split off DVD Rental their stock tanked. 3. Even iTunes Movie pricing is too high. I’ve never ordered anything but a rental and I’m a guy with 330 movies on the shelf.
#24 Ironically, until last December the largest shareholder of Miramax was Steve Jobs.
Yes. And on that note… it’s hard to think something isn’t going to change now that Jobs is gone. But if Apple continues to innovate and succeed without him, it will demonstrate how great he was by virtue of building a culture of that quality. Compare with Microsoft.
Hollywood, on the other hand …