Downloading movies wont hurt corn farmers

Mikey 5 comments
Downloading movies wont hurt corn farmers

There is a reason the title of this article is also an obvious statement. NBC Universal are claiming the rise in illegal movie file sharing downloads are resulting in less bums on seats in cinemas, which in turn affects the bottom line for corn farmers. In other words, downloading Sicko and watching it at home means you won't be buying that large tub of buttered popcorn, and corn farmers will take the financial hit. Quoting NBC Universal:

" the absence of movie piracy, video retailers would sell and rent more titles. Movie theatres would sell more tickets and popcorn. Corn growers would earn greater profits and buy more farm equipment."

We have heard just about every P2P argument imaginable from Hollywood executives, so take this one as you will. I find it hard to believe the fate of the corn industry rests on the shoulders of John Q Popcorn. Here's why.

According to the June 20 Wall Street Journal, corn sold at nearly double what it did last year at $3.83 per bushel. And according to the Popcorn Board, America consumes 17 billion quarts of popcorn annually, and 70% of that is eaten at home, with the remaining 30% going to stadiums, cinemas etc.

Let us pretend just for a minute NBC Universal's comments have some weight. Illegal P2P downloads will be the least of their concerns, as more and more legal movie download services (some owned by video retailers) are popping up all over the place. More people are watching movies at home than ever before.

I can agree with that. For a couple of years now we have enjoyed a better movie experience at home than what the cinema can offer (Home Theatre PC, downloadable movie services, huge LCD TV, 7.1 surround sound) all from the comfort of our living room and remote control. In fact I am certain we will never see the inside of a cinema for the rest of our lives. And I am far from alone.

There are plenty of other things stopping people going to cinemas even without the presence of P2P. My reasons are:

  • The fuel cost associated with travel
  • Finding and paying for a baby sitter
  • The insane cost of cinema food and beverages (some won't let you bring your own!)
  • Tolerating inconsiderate wankers talking and munching loudly during the movie
  • Uncomfortable/sticky seating
  • Rising cost of movie tickets
  • Too many adverts
  • Having to work around their programming schedule
  • If you miss something, you can't rewind
  • If you are bored, you can't fast forward
  • If you are tired, you can't stop it and resume later
  • You only get a single viewing
  • The traffic chaos associated with everyone trying to leave the car park at once

And I am sure you have your own reasons. I don't think there is an issue at all. If people want to chow popcorn while watching a movie, they will buy the stuff for a reasonable price from the supermarket. As I mentioned we have a better movie experience at home and my partner's only reservation was she missed the popcorn - until we started putting the stuff it in our shopping trolley.

So from our perspective the corn farmers haven't missed out at all, and the stats mentioned earlier would agree with that. It would not be a stretch to say corn farmers have a different opinion to NBC Universal, as the widespread adoption of movie downloads could be considered profitable to them.

Just like the old Drive-in cinemas died a long time ago, mainstream cinemas will probably see the same fate one day. But popcorn is here to stay, and seems to be flexible enough to keep growing while the movie industry tries to play catch-up with technology and point fingers at scape-goats.

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Wednesday 27th June 2007 | 01:42 PM

I cannot eat the popcorn in cinemas as it's not kosher. So perhaps NBC should claim that Jews are destroying corn farmers livlihoods?

What about people who can't eat corn / wheat etc? Perhaps we could claim people with Celiac's disease are destroying the corn industry, too?

It seems there's no end to the ludicrous claims that the MPAA can make to get governmental support for their power-grab. And, as long as the media (which is owned by the same groups) continues to give credence to these stupid claims, they'll continue to make ground.

Free market rules: if people want it - they'll buy it.

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Wednesday 27th June 2007 | 02:54 PM

I'm robbing your place Mike, I wanna illegally download your 7.1 sound system.

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Wednesday 27th June 2007 | 03:35 PM

popcorn is far too expensive to buy at the cinema!!

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Wednesday 27th June 2007 | 07:51 PM

There's a Popcorn Board? In other news, the Candy Commission ceased trading earlier today...

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Jake Farr-Wharton

Thursday 28th June 2007 | 08:36 AM

Michael, I have a similar setup to you and enjoy the new release movies once they hit my local blockbuster (because I would never illegally download movies).

America is the fattest nation in the world and since the more recent stance towards creating a healthier society, it is quite plausable that the newly fat savvy movie goers no longer want the fatty popcorn.

Asside from that, every movie theatre I've been in over the last 2 years has had horribly sticky floors, has stunk like a pig wallow and been ridden with talkers. Gold class is good, but fairly expensive.. and still smells.

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