In recent years, the music industry has seen sales of CDs hit by a dramatic increase in online…

In recent years, the music industry has seen sales of CDs hit by a dramatic increase in online piracy as potential consumers avoid the cost of buying from retailers and instead download the CD from the internet. Until recently, the film industry thought itself immune from such piracy due to the sheer size of full-length films and the many hours they would take to download. However, as Mark Endemo, Director of Deloitte Consulting’s media practice stated in the Guardian, 4 June 2003: ‘Once broadband and compressed technology makes it easy for everyone to download films, Pandora’s box will be opened and it will be impossible to close, as the music industry has discovered.’ Indeed, such internet piracy is seen by many as posing a far greater threat to the film industry than the sale of illegal DVDs and video cassettes, and is estimated to have hit sales by $3 billion in 2002. Online film piracy is however already a problem. For example, ‘Matrix Reloaded’, an eagerly awaited sequel film in 2003, was available online only days after that film’s worldwide release. How might the film industry react? It could learn from the music industry which responded not only by legal actions, but more positively by also moving to formally allow the sale of internet downloads. Indeed, the successful introduction of Apple’s iPod, and of mobile phones that can store music, has provided the consumer electronics industry with the right equipment to make selling music over the internet a viable business. Perhaps this should be seen as a natural progression for the industry. As the industry went from 78 to 33 LPs and from vinyl to CDs, the legal downloading of music could just be another medium and format for the consumer.

 

 

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