Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb….
Christopher Williams, for The Telegraph, covers Kevin Spacey’s comments at The Edinburgh International Television Festival…
“The actor said giving viewers more choice and control over how they consume films would mean there would be less incentive to unlawfully download them for free. … He said: ‘Why is Game of Thrones the most pirated show in the history of TV? Because people can’t get it fast enough, that’s why.’”
Read the full article here.
Returning from my honeymoon, I have a wealth of information to recall and discuss (regarding Ben Affleck? I’ll give him a chance) but I’ve focussed on one issue. As I read magazines and books, I happened to read an incredible review of Shoah, the iconic Claude Lanzmann documentary on the holocaust, prompting me to buy the Blu–ray to view the film on my return. Frustratingly, I realised the Shoah Criterion Edition is only viewable in the US. After decades (is DVD that old?) of “region 1” hacks stopping viewing across countries, I assumed Blu-ray learned to rise above this formatting – indeed, many Disney Blu-ray’s are open to Regions “A, B and C” (including 101 Dalmations and Pocahontas) – but alas, this is not the case with all Blu-ray. Shoah is exclusive to Region 1/A – and I cannot watch the film. And no release date is even set for the UK edition.
Thank God that I could participate in the Breaking Bad viewing! Missing the recent two episodes, I could enjoy a double episode marathon when I returned and join the conversation across friends – and across countries – on the social networking platforms that exist in the 21st century. Seriously, it’s all about Skyler.
Therefore Kevin Spacey’s comments could not be more poignant. The films are available and the internet only expands – this is not a difficult ‘fix’ in the industry. As streaming sites such as Netflix capitalise on this outdated model of viewing platforms, it is cinema that loses out in the long run. Decades of difficult access to films and television begs the question as to why we still cater to this model. Netflix, wisely, knew that Breaking Bad is what people want to see at the moment (it is the zeitgeist) and have ensured that, followomh the screening in the US on AMC, within 24 hours it is available to UK viewers. As an example of the ludicrous set-up this truly is, The World’s End is only gaining its US release this weekend while I managed to see the film prior to my 3-week honeymoon!
To make matters worse, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine has been released in the US and I sit, impatiently, until September 27th before I can buy a ticket. Midnight in Paris was released in the US on 20th May 2011, reaching UK shores in October! The worst example is Whatever Works, released in the US in June 2009 but – with very little fanfare – appearing in the UK in June 2010! A whole year later! As a Woody Allen fan, living in the UK, we get the short straw.
In a globalised world whereby the internet carries reviews and coverage immediately, the supporting insights can only serve to benefit the film if released at the same time. Instead, studios defy the obvious option to coincide marketing across the world, and instead rely on posters, trailers and other un-provocative media (that can be easily controlled) under the impression that we have no idea what happens across the world.
Shock horror – we do know what is happening across the world. Game of Thrones is accessed across the internet – for free! – because an executive fails to connect the dots and admit a model like Netflix is effective. This is an argument that has been considered for years and only now – through the success of House of Cards and A Field in England – things may be changing. But it is clearly a fight and we need to fight and argue our corner: Worldwide release dates. Across all platforms where possible. Until then, if anyone has a Region 1 player, I’d love to spend 9-hours watching Shoah with you. Don’t worry, I’ll bring the Blu–ray.