Oh no! DVD sales are collapsing and Hollywood executives are looking for new sources of the $100 bills with which they blow their noses and light their cigars. With neither Blu-ray discs nor existing streaming services likely to make up the difference, studios will try anything! And by anything, we mean virtually any complicated-sounding technology allowing consumers to pay to watch their movies under heavily rights-managed conditions.
In today's Times, Brooks Barnes highlights two such ideas. One is DECE (Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem), an initiative by the major studios (minus Disney) to "come up with a common set of standards and formats" (it doesn't sound like this idea is too far along yet). The other is Keychest, Disney's planned service:
It would allow consumers to buy permanent access to digital entertainment — a specific film, for instance — that then could be watched on computers, cellphones and cable on-demand services. Analysts speculate that Apple will be a partner. A mother could start streaming Toy Story on a laptop for her kids, continue the film on an iPhone at a restaurant and finish it at home with a video-on-demand cable service ... [P]iracy, at least conceptually, would be less of a worry. The technology rests on cloud computing, in which huge troves of data are stored on remote servers so users have access from anywhere. Movies would be streamed from the cloud and never downloaded, making them harder to pirate.
Sounds wildly confusing to us! When will they just admit they're going to make us all buy expensive new 3-D televisions?