Dreamworks CEO states his ridiculous vision for future movie downloads

by: William Neilson JrMay 4, 2014

Dreamworks Logo

I am not even sure where to begin with this idea. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of film studio DreamWorks, has suggested that a new pay-per-screen-inch pricing model should be instituted as movie downloads become more popular.

Under his plan, films would be released to cinemas for three weeks and then made available for download, with the price dependent on the hardware used to view them:

“These movies will be available everywhere ubiquitously and you will pay for the size. A movie screen will be $15. A 75-inch TV will be $4.00. A smartphone will be $1.99. That enterprise that will exist throughout the world, when that happens, and it will happen, it will reinvent the enterprise of movies.”

Further details of the plan were not explained. Such as, how exactly would each device be identified? Wouldn’t it be easy to screen spoof? Are we really trying to include the failure of DRM into our lives even more? Would I not be able to simply hook my phone into my TV with a cable cord? Does anyone see Apple or Google putting in such a radical system? Lastly, how would this increase sales?

If there is anything good that came from this conference, it was Dreamworks CEO finally admitting that the absurdity of release windows is slowly starting to crumble:

As Variety reports, Katzenberg imagines that movies would only be exclusive to theaters for 17 days, during which nearly all movies make nearly all their money. After that, you’d be able to watch the movie at home, whether it’s on a phone, tablet or TV.

Pirates TechFleece

Without any doubt, the biggest hurdle to get the movies out quicker to peoples homes has been movie theatre owners who over the last few years have seemed incapable of grasping what is coming from a technological standpoint. Remember, this industry has movie theatre owners who actually petitioned the FCC years ago wanting the ability to jam phone signals in their movie theatres, who threw out an elderly women from the theatres because they ‘think’ that the elderly woman may be recording and who blame Google for their financial problems.

  • Monoplolies gonna monopoly

  • Craig S.

    I wish theaters would go away, already! Their time has passed. I don’t wanna go to the movies to see people on their cellphones, people kicking at my seat, hear baby’s crying, pay $10.00 at the concessions instead of $5.00 at 7-Eleven. I would rather pay $15.00 to see a new release in my own room on my Roku than $25.00 surrounded by people. Release windows need to get down to at least 3 weeks. Heck, I’d wait that happily! Long as I don’t have to go to a freaking theater anymore!!!

    • CodeDisQus

      Until I have an IMAX theater in my house, your idea sucks! Besides, how many young kids will miss out on that first kiss or yawning over the shoulder moment if theaters go away hahaha!

    • K2

      I wish they stay. I rarely had those experiences.

    • JT

      That’s my point. That’s why I already download movies. Kids being loud on the phone. Getting up and down or of there seats. Screaming and cap. The high ass food. I hate theaters!!!

  • WilliamPJung

    Are we really trying to include the failure of DRM into our lives even more? Would I not be able to simply hook my phone into my TV with a cable cord? http://qr.net/x1m8

  • Cal Rankin

    Because, obviously, the way to save an industry that is losing consumer appeal is to make it more and more repulsive to consumers.

    • thartist

      I had the idea 5 years ago, too bad i won’t become a millionaire with this one.

      • virginia662

        my Aunty Sienna recently got a year old Jaguar
        only from working off a home computer… Recommended Reading C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Salman Thaw

    It’s not ridiculous at all. The only issue is pricing. Imagine if a movie were $0.99 to watch on your phone. Is that ridiculous? But if you want to watch it on your tablet, it’s $2.99 and $3.99 on your TV or $4.99 to watch it anywhere. Not bad at all.

    I don’t see why someone should pay $4.99 to watch something on their phone. It’s clearly too expensive. What these guys are suggesting is discounts to incentivize smaller transactions. Not everyone is ready to pay $4.99 because their train/plane is late, but $0.99 is fine.

    The issue here is that now we have full price or nothing. They’re offering a middle ground for people who want to pay and watch legally, but cannot justify paying the full price for a quick purchase.

    • Guest

      We already see this in most services though. $0.99 for SD quality, $2.99 for HD. It matters not what device you watch it from, but if you’re going to watch on your phone, just get the sd version. Why would we want to pay per screen size? Seriously, money grab!

      If SD and HD is not enough, sell it by resolution on more scale. 240p $0.99, 480p $1.99, 720p $2.99, 1080p $3.99, 4K $4.99… More resolution = more data/throughput = more cost, it’s that simple. Last I checked, HD video played on a phone uses the same file size and data throughput as an HD video played on a big screen TV.

      • Salman Thaw

        As someone who has worked in the video industry (not the movie business) I can tell you that many studios hate low resolution. Some studios have minimum broadcast resolutions/bitrates for their films so that you could never show it in less than 360p, for example. They make resellers and broadcasters agree to those conditions before giving them the rights to broadcast.

        The other issue is that it costs video companies more to transcode videos to many formats and resolutions, maintain several files on several machines across continents than just have one version mirrored and billed differently.

        In terms of pure cost, throughput is less of a cost than having “hot storage” for multiple versions of every movie across the continent. In terms of managing the databases, one version is a hundred times less of a headache than many and the Google’s Play Store movie purchase system, if I recall correctly, does follow the one-version-fits-all model.

        File size and throughput mean nothing to the studios. Things they consider are timing of the release (just released) and setting (cinema vs DVD/BR vs online rental vs cable vs regular TV). That’s why a Blu-Ray costs more to rent when it’s just released vs a few years later. It’s not the cost of the disc, storing it in a warehouse or the cost of shipping it to the end-user that they care about.

        I would rather pay $1.99 to watch an HD movie on my HD tablet or HD phone rather than pay the same amount to watch it in 480p. I know people hate DRM, but I’m a firm believer in high quality no matter what. The price should be cut, not the resolution/quality.

        This doesn’t bother me at all. What bothers me is proposed models to charge movies per viewer. So it’s $1.99 for one viewer and a dollar for each extra viewer. These things have been proposed and the verification will be the cameras we have in our tablets, phones, PCs, laptops, consoles accessories and such. It feels very invasive. Also, good luck explaining that only one person was really watching while the other person was sleeping, reading, on the laptop.

  • jack

    Retard. He was put in this position probably because he’s a jew

    • Android Developer

      So what if he’s jewish?
      Please don’t put weird claims like that?
      People are getting promoted because of their actions. Nobody cares about religion (unless it’s a religious job, but this one isn’t).

      • Pervbear

        Pretty sure he meant it as a joke based on the stereotype”Jews” being cheap moneycrazy people who would rather pull a penny out of a pile of poop rather then flushing it down the toilet.

        Someone needs to simmer down a bit.

        • Android Developer

          As opposed to talking, text doesn’t have a tone, so it can be understood otherwise.
          Also, this text didn’t have any clue of being a joke.

          • jjordan

            Context IS everything…In a comment it’s just a racial jab.

          • Android Developer

            It’s enough if someone take what he said literally , that makes all the difference.
            At least he could put a clue about it being a joke.
            Anyway, sometimes I feel like this guy: http://xkcd.com/386/

  • Ryu

    I actually like that view (going to theatres is annoying), but it would probably have to be changed.

  • Harry Palmer

    I just do not like where all this streaming crap is going. Streaming video will be S**T as long as there is even one person without at least a 100MB internet connection. That graph is misleading and over-simplified. Forget the damned pirates already! They are NOT costing you as much money as this switch to streaming-only will! Just give me the damned Blu-ray and leave me alone. My DVD’s and Blu-rays will work as long as I just have electricity, and do not require the enormous amounts of bandwidth that streaming requires. The studios are going to copyright and control themselves right out of existence if this keeps up. The best quality available for home video is Blu-ray, that is NOT up for debate. Streaming IS lower quality, restricts consumer control, and places too high a burden on the internet connection. Too many “eggs in one basket”. YES, I also care about the extra content available on DVD’s and Blu-rays!

    All these morons who complain about movie theaters are the same people who watch movies at home in stereo, on the tiny built-in speakers on their 20″ CRT TV and think that is actually okay. That, or they are super rich with 200″ screen home theaters. Either way, they can all go die somewhere!

  • Otto Andersson

    Honestly at this point, I barely even watch movies anymore. With all the propaganda and same-old material, I certainly don’t pay for it. With all the bs product placement and hidden messages, I feel like movie studios should be paying me to watch their films

    • htc

      Awkward! Where do you weirdos hide? In real life I don’t meet any of yas.

      • K2

        He is right. Most movies these are stereotypical cliche ridden garbage. From all studios, not just dreamworks.

  • bob

    I pay a monthly subscription for a broadcast service for TV and movies, then download them because the broadcast stuff is junk, and full of advertising.

  • Android Developer

    But smartphones these days have more or less the same resolution as TVs…
    I don’t understand…

    • Ah, but you don’t have 4K smartphones, do you? (looks into future) Ah, never mind.

  • Smiler

    I won’t buy their content until I can buy it and that content will always be accessible to the email address that I assigned that purchase to, but with 100,000 different content provider services, ie: Spotify, Google play, iTunes, etc, it would be difficult to do this, but I think that their should be a main server which lists all of the content available to each account, if it became a requirement for each of these services to allow the users to get access to all of this content that they had previously paid for even if through other services if those services wish to get future access to this content then I could see things working out much better for the industry in this digital age.

  • Bilal Mahmood

    i could just buy the cheaper smartphone movie and use my MHL cable to mirror to my HD tv ;)