“Big Hy” — his handle among many loyal customers — would almost certainly be cast as Hollywood Enemy No. 1 but for a few details. He is actually Hyman Strachman, a 92-year-old, 5-foot-5 World War II veteran trying to stay busy after the death of his wife. And he has sent every one of his copied DVDs, almost 4,000 boxes of them to date, free to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A hilariously apt, yet controversial comic from The Oatmeal…
Most of it revolves around the sense of entitlement sported by modern content pirates, and while I think content providers have their own entitlement issues, I do agree with most of what’s being said. However, drama doesn’t interest me, so I’d like to comment on this from a business perspective.
The point I’ve yet to see made is that this comic perfectly illustrates an unsustainable business model. While content owners have the right to make their content available at the time, place, and price of their choosing, they need to understand that if they make the content too onerous to consume, their customers will go elsewhere (be it legal or otherwise). It’s an unfortunate truth, but a truth all the same.
The baffling part is that Hollywood refuses to learn the lesson that the music industry already learned at the hands of Steve Jobs, which is that if you give people a better option than piracy, most of them will take it. Sure, not all of them will, because some people just want to watch the world burn, but yes, most decent folk will take you up on that offer.
What this comic depicts is not a better option.
Now, a better option might be less profitable than the old business model Hollywood is used to, but I’m sorry, this is Chili Palmer telling’ you how it is. You can’t change people, you can only change yourself. Some profit is preferable to none, and to paraphrase my friend Matt, at some point horse and buggy salesmen needed a new business model, too.
You have to adapt to win, and as any Game of Thrones fan knows, you win or you die.