Zombie Apocalypse Overcomes Regional Restrictions, Or I Want My TV Now!

A pivotal event is about to happen, and it comes none too soon. In fact, it’s several years late, but I’ll take it and hopefully it will lead to some relief of the frustration I vented earlier about the slow distribution of shows to other countries than their origin, and how this facilitated piracy, but it didn’t have to be that way. The Walking Dead wil be making global distribution of the new season within 24 hours of its release in the U.S.

“The Walking Dead” wakes up and fights piracy by releasing global versions earlier

jason-profileBy Jason Lynch

Jason Lynch is the former television editor at People magazine.

In the coming days, zombies are going to take over the world. Again.

On Sunday, the horror series The Walking Dead kicks off its fourth season on AMC, and its premiere episode is packed with stomach-churning gore, nail-biting suspense and of course, zombies galore. It’s a brutal, bloody show that is seemingly not for everyone—except that everyone seems to be watching. In March, the third season finale drew its largest audience ever, with 12.4 million viewers tuning in, and if the show’s viewing trends continue, Sunday’s ratings should be even higher.

But US audiences won’t be the only ones getting their zombie fix. Within 24 hours of its US premiere, international viewers in more than 125 different countries will be able to watch as well... read the rest here

Yippee! No, I’m not a watcher of The Walking Dead, but this is huge! May other producers be so overcome that they follow suit like lemmings. Are you hearing this, BBC?

Some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? For years we’ve been watching shows from other countries shortly after their release.” Yeah, I know, but you weren’t accessing them through legal means, and if you were, it was usually with quite a delay in watching, and many shows were not dubbed into other languages. So this is new, and more important a sign that the networks are waking up to the fact that not only do viewers not want to wait for their tv, but they won’t!*

*Last year a new show called Touch had a simultaneous global release, so The Walking Dead is not breaking entirely new ground but rather will receive more attention for this phenomenon, and that’s a good thing!

Note: I’m debating about putting the Richard Armitage tag on this one. I’m not entirely sure that he’s going back to tv, but he’s the one who got me interested in watching tv again, and I have wondered why HBO Game of Thrones is following me when I have never written about that show. Interesting. Yeah, this is getting the tag. :D

On a related note: if you’re smart, and I assume all of you who read this blog are smart :D, and you like to invest in the stock market, I hope you are doing research on the revolution about to happen with Google TV and Apple TV. Many of you folks in Kansas City know what I’m talkin’ about.

Okay, I feel another tangent coming on, so I’ll stop that line of thought.

Imagine There’s No Movie Theater

It’s easy if you try. And with the advent of torrents and some other tools for consumers to get their hands on video clips quickly, it’s certainly a possibility. So the media industry is feeling the pinch and trying to get out ahead of the demand. But I’m wondering if moving up the ability to access VOD (Video on Demand) in home is the answer, and some well known names in the business are certainly taking exception to it.

Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Michael Bay and More Write Letter Opposing Premium VOD Service

Peter Jackson and James Cameron write letter opposing Premium VOD Service

This Thursday, DirecTv will launch its new Premium VOD service, which allows viewers to watch new movies from Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, and 20th Century Fox in their homes just 60 days after a title’s initial theatrical release for a fee of $30. Today, 23 of Hollywood’s top directors have published a letter in opposition against this VOD platform.

This letter, which was put together by James Cameron and his producing partner Jon Landau in conjunction with NATO (the National Assn. of Theater Owners ), is set to coincide with Thursday’s launch of the Adam Sandler comedy Just Go with It, which will be the first Home Premiere title available to HD customers for $29.99.

Along with James Cameron and Jon Landau, other letter signers include Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Guillermo del Toro, Roland Emmerich, Peter Jackson, Shawn Levy, Michael Mann, Todd Phillips, Brett Ratner, Adam Shankman, Gore Verbinski, Robert Zemeckis, Karyn Kusama, Antoine Fuqua, Todd Garner, Lawrence Gordon, Stephen Gyllenhaal, Gale Anne Hurd, Bill Mechanic, Jamie Patricof, and Robert Rodriguez.

Here is the letter in full:

AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY ON PROTECTING THE MOVIE-GOING EXPERIENCE

We are the artists and business professionals who help make the movie business great. We produce and direct movies. We work on the business deals that help get movies made. At the end of the day, we are also simply big movie fans.


Lately, there’s been a lot of talk by leaders at some major studios and cable companies about early-to-the-home “premium video-on-demand.” In this proposed distribution model, new movies can be shown in homes while these same films are still in their theatrical run.

In this scenario, those who own televisions with an HDMI input would be able to order a film through their cable system or an Internet provider as a digital rental. Terms and timing have yet to be made concrete, but there has been talk of windows of 60 days after theatrical release at a price of $30.

Currently, the average theatrical release window is over four months (132 days). The theatrical release window model has worked for years for everyone in the movie business. Current theatrical windows protect the exclusivity of new films showing in state-of-the-art theaters bolstered by the latest in digital projection, digital sound, and stadium seating.

Read the rest here.

I’ve waxed on elsewhere about artificial scarcities being created where none normally exists, and how that irritates me, and keeping people from VOD is strictly creating a scarcity — or trying. Yet I’m wondering what would be sacrificed (even short term) if we inch open the floodgates some more for access to movies. Oh, you say they’re already open? Well, not quite, but it’s not long before they are, so is there a good reason to keep people from quicker in home access? I don’t know. Will there come a day when we look back at movie watching in a theater as a quaint old custom? Oh, I have lots of thoughts about this, but I’m interested in yours.