Village Roadshow Is Fixing Aussie Distribution And Pricing

"We made one hell of a mistake with LEGO," Graham Burke says to a packed room of copyright industry watchers. "No more".

That's right: Village Roadshow's anti-piracy crusader has wised up to the problem of piracy, especially when it comes to faster access to film for Aussies.

Speaking on the panel at the government's Copyright Forum last night the co-CEO of Village Roadshow, Graham Burke, said that The LEGO Movie had taught the company how to give consumers the sads in Australia.

The LEGO Movie was piracy bait for Australians, given the fact it was made locally only to have its release date delayed by 54 days. That meant that by the time US cinemas were scaling down their screenings of the feature, Australia would only just be getting their turn at seeing it legally.

Burke, a staunch copyright advocate — who decided it would be a good idea to take the LEGO Movie out to private screenings for the government's anti-piracy decision makers, said that the decision to delay the release of an Australian-made release in Australia isn't something he's about to repeat:

"We made one hell of a mistake with LEGO. It was made here in Kings Cross and because it was so important, we held it until the holidays which caused it to be pirated widely. No more.

"All of our movies we’ll now make all our movies day in date with the US. I know 20th Century Fox are and Universal are too," Burke said.

While the Village executive stressed that his company would make films available faster on Australian screens, he stood by his business model of an exclusive "theatrical window" so as to ensure a title's profitability:

"There has to be a theatrical window so the business can work so future films get made. It’s very simple: records and music cost somewhere from $30k to $300k to produce. Feature films can cost up to $200m. We need a window for the business model to work. Those that say solve the problem by offering them on digital downloads, that’s what music has done but the fact of the matter that piracy is still massive.

"As a consequence in music, there’s not a record store left. That was my Saturday morning joy! That will happen to Australian theatres," he said, adding that Village is now dramatically revamping its pricing model to make the exclusive titles it puts into theatres more affordable.


Check out the full coverage of last night's copyright forum in our live blog!


Comments

    So are they thinking about it? Or doing it?

    I wouldn't be surprised if they do absolutely nothing after they push their anti piracy agenda on the ISP's.

      then charge a $5 advanced advanced screening fee for each movie ticket to watch it at the same time as the rest of the world

    "There's not a record store left" - Is he serious?
    A) Yes, there is. B) So what if there wasn't?
    Because you feel a little sad that the general public has decided to move away from something means that their should be legislation to protect it? If we don't want to go to theatres any more, too bad for you. Get a new job or retire on your piles of cash.

      "Evolve or die." Boy, the dinosaurs hate hearing that.
      Record stores are going for the same reason as other brick & mortar stores selling digital content: limited selection, limited stock, cost of operations, convenience, etc. They're vastly inferior; why shouldn't they disappear?

        The problem is one doesn't replace the other. I don't care if theatres close, they're a pain in my butt anyway, but as it stands a lot of the movies I do like were made possible in part by ticket sales. If digital converts only half the movie goers to digital that will kill cinemas, but even each digital sale brings in the same amount of money if only half the movie goers switch to digital that's half the money.
        There's a lot of double dipping going on too. I've paid to see movies then brought them on digital or DVD. I really don't like that since I'd rather just buy something DRM free and own it, rather than renting, being tied to a service, or paying twice. However if I'm only buying digital day one that cuts back on the profit again.

        Great movies can still be made, and whether it's for the best or not it's happening and they have to adapt, but it's an important thing to keep in mind when you shrug your shoulders and say 'who cares if brick and mortar stores shut'. Not everyone is going to follow and a ton of pirates definitely aren't going to stop they can download a DRM free HD webrip on day one or two. It'll impact the amount of money generated which is going to cause growing pains.

        [Please don't misread this as me agreeing with all the anti-piracy 'this is the end of days because we're not making billions squeezing out Shrek 28' non-sense. It's just something that I think people who care about movies should think about.]

          That hasn't happened to the music industry. Yes, there are significantly less stores that solely sell music and the market share of digital distributors has sky-rocketed... does that mean there's less money to make music? Nope. There's more.
          JB HIFI used to just sell music. Now they sell pretty much everything except food. Why? Because they realised that being a distributor of physical music media wasn't going to be as profitable as it was in the 80's and early 90's. They adapted and survived. Now they're moving into the streaming business because they can see it's the future.

          I think you're buying into the theory that everyone pirates because they just want stuff for free. Yeah, sure, that's the reason some people pirate. But it's the vast minority. Most people pirate because they don't want to be ripped off or it's the only easy way to access the media. Change they way you distribute your media to an easy and affordable format, and people will flock to it.

            Then you have the specialty record stores. They sell vinyl, CD's, posters, clothing and jewellery. The staff there are knowledgeable and that's what brings people in, these stores would also be closer to what Burke remembers than the dying stores like Sanity. There's no place in the world for Sanity, with general uncaring retail staff who don't know anything and crammed full of nothing but a limited selection of CD's, why wouldn't I buy online instead of at a Sanity style store?

              Exactly the type of store I was referring to in part A of my original comment. Record stores still exist, just not in every suburban shopping complex.
              Sanity can definitely go away. Quickly.

          Its not the death of cinema but rather the video store that is creating this mess

      On A: He qualified his statement with something like "at least none that I know of in Melbourne anyway".

        Comment rescinded because it was idiotic as pointed out by @phlaiman

        Last edited 10/09/14 4:51 pm

          How is he wrong? He said there aren't any record stores that he knows of. Unless you are claiming he has knowledge of something he claims not to have?
          I don't even know why you want to argue this point. Your point B is fine. Plenty of people would agree at least that the pre-conceived idea of record stores are basically dead. I'd probably say the same about bookstores if all dymocks etc., shut down even though Target still sells teen fiction.

      No there isn't. HMV - gone. Virgin - gone. Sanity - gone (all but, anyway). What's left is a shrinking section in JB Hi-Fi and places like Big W. And it's even worse when it comes to the independent specialist stores that were thriving 20 years ago.

      As for the "so what if there wasn't?", he explained it in the very next sentence - "that was my Saturday morning joy!" When there were half-a-dozen specialist music stores in Sydney - Phantom, Red Eye, Utopia, Record Plant, Kent, Waterfront - I used to discover new music at the rate of one or two artists a month, because everything was all there, easily discovered. Since I started looking for music on-line, about 16 years ago, I have discovered exactly two artists I had never heard of previously and enjoy (Genepool from Germany and Modern Eon from 1979, if you're interested).

      OK, there is far less interesting music around today than there was in the Halcyon Days of the post-punk period and my collection is way bigger now than it was when I was 22 but not so much so that I've only been able to find two new artists on-line in 16 years! It is impossible to find new music on-line, there is zero quality control so for every one thing you might like, you have to wade through 10,000 pieces of absolute garbage. Compare that to 1980, when I could wander into Phantom on a Saturday morning (shops still closed at midday on Saturday then), say hello to Steve behind the counter who would often produce a stack of things from under the counter that he'd put aside because he thought I might like them. Even though we had/have very different musical tastes he was almost never wrong, unlike Pandora who can serve up two hours worth of music supposedly like Nitzer Ebb or Leather Strip and not play one song I like that I don't already own.

      But you know what? It's the same with cinema already. Valhalla - gone, Academy Twin - gone. Mandarin - gone. And those independents that survive now just play the same movies you can see at Hoyts or Greater Union, only in pokey little cinemas the size of an average lounge room. Independent cinema just doesn't exist any more. Where is the next Peter Greenaway or David Lynch going to come from? The damage has already been done and it's just a matter of time until the last nail goes into the coffin.

        I dunno about Pandora, but if you're into stuff like Nitzer Ebb and Leather Strip, Spotify is your best friend. The 'Artists Like' and 'Radio Station' functions have shown me HEAPS of bands I had not heard of (or only heard one track from on an obscure compilation back in the 90's previously) in the last two years. Probably helps that they're based in Sweden and hence much closer to where the Industrial / EBM scene is still alive.

          @zippybroodstock and @evo666 , I could not agree more, the last fm's, pandoras and spotify's have shown me far more new music than id ever find at a record store. Dont know of to many record stores that i ever entered where you could take any brand new cd or cassette that you wanted to out of the packet and listen to it to try it out rather than the usual 10disc display set ups scattered round the store which just might have music in them you like.

          Only thing is you will just have to find a virtual steve to talk to or be prepared to play forumfield and try and dodge the trolls.

            @pooh_bear - Weeeell there IS one record store that's almost matched Spotify for me, certainly in the late 90's / early 2000's (back before music streaming took off) - sadly this happens to be just off Vaclavske Namesti (Wencesslas Square) in Prague :) I used to bring back shed-loads of (German, and Dutch and other Euro) CD's with me every time I went to 'the mother country'. The store is still there but last time I went around 3 years ago their stock of COOL music had drastically plummeted and they just had all the mainstream sh*t you can buy here :( Oh and yes, this store has a 'listening station' where there are around 8 pairs of headphones and a (surprisingly HELPFUL for Prague, where their rudeness is normally legendary) staffmember to chuck your CD's in to listen.

            THAT's the kind of record store we need here !

            Last edited 11/09/14 10:35 am

          IME Grooveshark is better than Spotify at recommending similar artists. Check it out.

        So, because something you enjoy is disappearing, there should be legislation to protect it? I bemoan the disappearance of healthy cartoon violence on a Saturday morning. Should the government step in?
        They are still there, you just have to try and find them. In most cases, I think there's a bit of a resurgence of the independent music store. Who honestly cares if faceless chain stores disappear? They offered nothing but a place to waste your money on the next "album" by whoever the newest "idol" is.
        And if you're having trouble finding new music on the internet... that's a reflection of you more than it is the internet. I'm finding new bands literally every day. I've listened to more new music since I got back into Last.FM and started using Spotify heavily than I have in freakin' years. Get onto forums, talk to people like Steve behind the counter. They are still there, and you can talk to them at times other than Saturday mornings...
        I'll give you the fact that the majority of new stuff is utter tripe but that's the beauty of things like Spotify and Pandora, you can get it for free. If it's no good, move on to the next one. If you find a good one, save all the back catalogue and go into the related artists. Half of them will be garbage but at least it's getting closer to what you dig.

        Last edited 11/09/14 8:57 am

        What's left is a shrinking section in JB Hi-Fi

        Seriously? The section in my JB and the others nearby are actually growing.

        It is impossible to find new music on-line, there is zero quality control so for every one thing you might like, you have to wade through 10,000 pieces of absolute garbage.

        No different from when before the Internet took off.

      The milk man is still crying the corner

        Unless he works for Aussie Farmers, in which case he has his job back.

        I had to move a while ago so I miss being with them and having milk delivered old school style.

        For anyone interested (or even wishing to see if such a service is in their area) here's their web site: https://www.aussiefarmers.com.au.

        Last edited 11/09/14 9:29 am

          Great service. They've started leaving a free loaf of premium bread with our weekly milk/bread delivery. Didn't ask for it, not paying for it, it's just a gift for their customer.

      I was thinking exactly the same thing, especially considering I just got home after spending $160 at JB HiFi and CDs and Blurays.

      There's always going to be *some* market for a bricks and mortar shop because some people enjoy browsing and buying physical items. Same with movie theatres, the experience on a big cinema screen is different to even the biggest home system. Make the experience good enough and a reasonable price and people will continue to go for it.

      To my mind the only question is whether the number of cinemas (and music stores) be sustainable. They may reduce the number of them, but I don't see them going away entirely.

    Piracy is massive because you still insist on adhering to a dinosaur business model. Netflix is proof that people are willing to pay for content as long as it is reasonably priced. Keep shafting us with geoblocking and delayed releases and piracy will continue.

      Steam too. How huge was game piracy before Steam came along?

        Game piracy among the AAA titles is still a bit of an issue, but of their own doing. Humble Bundle and Steam sales basically mean any indie game will cost you pittance. Legacy AAA titles are the same. But sadly some publishers still don't get that 10 year old games aren't worth $30 (I'm looking at you Activision).

          I used to DL all my games until steam came along. In the past 18 months I've bought nearly 20 titles. If anything I'm buying more that I ever wanted/need just because it's so easy and accessible.

        yeah, steam is great and has pretty much reduced my game piracy to zero. Best features are that it keeps your library up to date automatically, not having to mess around with no-cd cracks or dlc activators and as sad as it may seem, I like keeping my achievements.

          Steam has it's downsides. Like buying a game then discovering you can't actually play it until it downloads a massive patch (talking a physical copy of a game bought on DVD). Or finding you can't even play the game for a couple days because it's locked until some arbitrary release date. Or even simple things like it not respecting global settings (I set it to NOT download updates automatically yet every game does and I have to turn each and every one off manually). And a bunch of other annoying things.

          But yes, it's a great way to reduce piracy and centralise distribution.

        Steam is great however they still insist on geo-blocking and discriminatory pricing. Fortunately with Steam's model they allow resellers such as GMG, Bundle Stars, etc to compete with them and provide a healthy market. These resellers still enact geo-blocking but it is much easier to circumvent. I haven't paid retail Australian pricing for AAA titles in two years as I'm always able to use a VPN or Hola to get a better deal. DRM on games is still a pain in the backside as it makes it harder to share games with family members within the same home on the same PC.

      So where is Netflix? Why aren't they here taking full advantage of our high standard of living and massive disposable incomes? Where is Hulu?

        So where is Netflix? Why aren't they here taking full advantage of our high standard of living and massive disposable incomes?

        You must be on some other Australia. Because the real one where the rest of us live does not have massive amounts of disposable income. Our wages are high but so too is the cost of living.

        Also, the distribution industry has become self serving here in Australia. So even if the money is here Netflix will have an uphill battle getting the rights.

        And even then, our expectations are already aligned to the price the US pays. If the price rises Australian's will just use VPNs and ignore the local version.

          You must be on some other Australia. Because the real one where the rest of us live does not have massive amounts of disposable income. Our wages are high but so too is the cost of living.

          I agree with the rest of your comment, but the average wage here is $65k. In the middle of Melbourne I live on sub-$15k per year, including my luxuries... that's a lot of income left to dispose of.

            Geez you are doing alright. How much do you pay for rent / mortgage a week? At $200 that is $10k a year.

            In the middle of Melbourne I live on sub-$15k per year, including my luxuries...

            You're obviously not married, with children, a mortgage and 10 types of insurance/rates/body corp fees/childcare etc to pay each year. And $65K is before tax, so knock off 30% for arguments sake from that total for starters.

            So although I have, what I consider, is a nice comfortable lifestyle - there's a really good chunk of people out there that are not pulling anywhere near the $65K mark.

            Don't confuse my response with disagreeing with you (@Some Idiot) that Netflix should be taking advantage of this market though. I think whole heartedly we need a lot more streaming services here to bring costs down and availability up. There's no way in Hell on this green Earth that I'd pay the rip-off that it Foxtel.

            First of all I find it hard to believe that anyone in Australia can live on $15k, even if you own your own home.

            Secondly, that's fine for Melbourne, but here in South Australia more than half the population live below the poverty line and that's a fact. Electricity costs most people at least $200 a month, water add another $100, council rates are at least $100-200 a month (but then you have all the other costs with owning a home, insurance is at least $100 a month), or if you are renting you are paying at least $400 a week, so there's $1600 a month. So right there you are looking $25,000/yr - then you still have food, transport, mobile/internet costs, and so on.

            Fortunately, I'm ok (and I love my job) but a lot of people aren't - they are really hurting out there.

            Anyway back on topic netflix will probably never launch in Australia for many reasons but mostly it's around the content deals they could secure which would mean they would have less titles than Quickflix.

            Last edited 11/09/14 3:38 pm

              Things certainty are worse in SA - the average wage is lower, and housing is very inflated in Adelaide. Prices are much better in regional areas, but the job market's hurting worse.

              I do own my own, which lets us live centrally in a big apartment (rental on the property is $450pw), but housing costs still take up the bulk of the budget (body corp, counsil, water). Next biggest expensive is holidays, followed by food. No car is the biiig saver (needed in the country, but offset by cheaper housing).

        Need a decent broadband network first. Oh wait, we did have one planned but that's all been thrown out of the window now due to political ideology.

      The whole music and games industry is proof that other models can work fine. Do they completely eliminate piracy? No, but cutting off people's hands doesn't stop theft either. They have to be realistic about what they want to achieve... punish a few at great cost and bad publicity or expand your business model and make more profits?

    Use fictitious data to generate bogus statistics to bolster some fake position about how much money you probably, may have, could have lost.

    Australia's market is so small compared to the other markets that I doubt it would make a huge difference if they didn't time it around school holidays. Hell, why don't they offer it earlier but still kids the opportunity to watch it during school holidays anyway.
    I'm sure that the cool kids whose parents don't give a damn about passing grades would love to brag at school about how they've seen a certain movie before everyone else.

      It won't make much difference to the studio who produced it, but it will make a buttload of difference to Burke.
      If kids are at school, they're not going to go to the cinema at night. They may go on the weekend but if you've got more than 1 kid, it's gonna cost you a fortune to go on the weekend so they most likely won't go at all. Yeah, the studio has lost maybe .5% of it's revenue but Burke has lost a significantly higher percentage of that. Village Roadshow hold the release until school holidays and every Tuesday there are dozens of families lined up to see The Lego Movie.
      It makes sense from the business' perspective, but it ain't gonna fly any more.

        Well if that's the problem, then maybe they need to do cheap movies Saturday until 3pm? Hell even just half price childrens tickets, charge the adults full price. Where there's a problem, there's a solution. The model needs to evolve.

        Last edited 10/09/14 4:17 pm

          Definitely needs to evolve. No question about it. I was just pointing out the reasons why it would effect Burke's bottom line but not the studio producing the movie.
          Half price kids tickets to films like Lego movie would be massive. Imagine the difference it would make to a family of 5!

          It still get's me every time when Steam has a sale. A game that's 50% off will sell 4x as many copies. The maths is painfully simple.

          You can actually see all the steam sales data all over the internet. Of course the effect is lower if the normal price drops permanently but half priced Tuesdays is the only thing cinemas do these days.

          That being said... I've actually stopped complaining about cinemas since I found out how many different ways there is to get $11 tickets.

            I think I have something like 8 years of dendy student membership now,because they keep having deals to renew with two tickets haha.

            There's a cinema chain in Brisbane that does $8.50 adult tickets as standard. No reserved seating, clean, and always full on a Friday or Saturday night.

          That'll go down well with the Nanny State. I can see the headlines now - EVIL MOVIE MOGULS LURING OUR KIDS AWAY FROM HEALTHY WEEKEND ACTIVITY. These poor bastards are on a hiding to nothing and if they go, then so do the movies they make.

          Just keep an eye out for how many of your favourite films have a Village-Roadshow vanity card at the start. That's tens, probably hundreds, of millions of dollars from cinema, DVD and digital sales being funnelled straight back into making more and better movies. Sure, a few fat-cats are probably living the life off the back of it but if you cut them out of the loop it wouldn't drop the price of a ticket by 5c. It's easy to convince yourself you are getting back at Rupert Murdoch and his ilk but the fact is that he is untouchable and the people you are really hurting are hard working, creative types who bust a gut for low pay and conditions you wouldn't put up with in the workplace because they want to make movies that will blow you away.

            So you think Australians should be happy to wait months for movie releases to maximise profits, while not being tempted to download a movie that they would of paid to see while the rest of the world is talking about it?

            Yea no thanks, this is a global economy, and we live in a world of instant global news. If a movie is big and interests me, I'm not waiting 3-12 months for an Australian release so they can time it perfectly, and then complain nobody went because we all pirated it in the meantime.

            That's tens, probably hundreds, of millions of dollars from cinema, DVD and digital sales being funnelled straight back into making more and better movies.

            After the distributors take the lions share out.

            Sure, a few fat-cats are probably living the life off the back of it but if you cut them out of the loop it wouldn't drop the price of a ticket by 5c

            Most of us here already know that. It's the industry that is being brought to task.

            the people you are really hurting are hard working, creative types who bust a gut for low pay

            We are hurting no-one. It is the distribution chains that are causing the harm. They are taking the created content for all it's worth and treating the consumers who are willing to pay to see said content with contempt.

            We consumers are asking for the market to either adapt or clear out for new blood. And your far reaching comments with little to no grounding in reality are not helping.

            Last edited 11/09/14 9:41 am

    August 6th, he said "looking to bring the prices down" which was shortly before after the leaked Discussion Paper and their first submission to the government and the meta-data law enforcement debate.

    Hasnt said a thing since, even taking full page ads in papers blaming everyone but his own company for the state of affairs... then during the debate when things aint going his ways he mentions these pearls of hindsight.

    "“As a consequence in music, there’s not a record store left. That was my Saturday morning joy! That will happen to Australian theatres,” he said, adding that Village is now dramatically revamping its pricing model to make the exclusive titles it puts into theatres more affordable."

    Big point of difference: people go to the movies together as a social event, record stores not so much.
    As long as the idea of 'going to the movies' is still fun, people will keep going.

      Speak for yourself. I've had good friends for 30 or more years who I met because they worked at one of my favourite record stores. Going record shopping on a Saturday morning was a very social event back in the day, unlike going to the movies where you sit in darkness and say not a word.

      How many times has the death of cinema been predicted?
      - When TV was introduced (Movies at home!)
      - When prerecorded video was introduced (movies at home, whenever you want them!)
      - When DVD was introduced (movies at home, in decent quality, with full theatre sound, whenever you want them!)

        How many times has the death of cinema been predicted?

        The question is, why bother to keep count?

        A lot of these predictions come from the distributors of the respective markets. Their respective industries will remain but they will not.

        Last edited 11/09/14 9:48 am

      Exactly, Village need to take note of the Tasmanian State Cinema (which they ironically own). Independent film screenings, anime festivals, fantastic restaurant, small but comfortable, almost luxurious cinema rooms and a bookstore run by them next door.

      They charge about the same as Village, show far less blockbuster stuff for much shorter but is almost always packed in all 6 rooms (7 including the roof-top outdoor cinema, I know, what a great venue to rent out)

      They need to drop this whole Gold Class and Cattle Class crap and just make a good social experience. That means sacrificing a few seats for some room, not charging a fortune for crap food or at least making it more edible. I'll happily go to the State Cinema because it is an experience to enjoy and we get a movie too, with Village I feel like they are in the way between me and my god damned movie.

      I used to go to the movies for the air conditioning. Record stores usually had it too but I went to them more often for what they sold. Still do, though not buying so many records these days!

      Last edited 12/09/14 10:07 am

    There has to be a theatrical window so the business can work so future films get made. It’s very simple: records and music cost somewhere from $30k to $300k to produce. Feature films can cost up to $200m. We need a window for the business model to work.

    Then in that case, make the window wider (show movies for longer than about two months) and make the ticket prices lower.

    A lesson form online shopping - high volume + low markup == Very Big Profit, while low volume and high markup == Bankruptcy & Very High Piracy.

    And unlike music, film has more merchandising options so it's not as though the income streams are not there.

    As a consequence in music, there’s not a record store left

    Maybe if you got out of your ivory tower, Burke, you'd actually find stores selling vinyls (which is what they are called, not records!). These days, most changes are amalgamated. The same shop now sells movies, games and music.

    There is no need for a separate store for each one anymore.

    Heck, even the vinyl range at my local JB is constantly growing!

    And before others get the wrong idea, I prefer CDs. But it doesn't hurt to enjoy music old school style from time to time.

    Last edited 10/09/14 2:55 pm

      I work in retail analysis and I certainly understand and agree with the volume = profit argument, but i'm not completely convinced online has that model down pat.

      It's different for digital distribution obviously, but online stores like the Iconic make huge losses and Amazon does not make huge profits (when it makes profits at all).

      In terms of volume for a cinema, I don't think it's a fair comparison, because the fixed costs make up a huge portion of the cost base. Having a movie play for a longer period would by necessity require either fewer patrons per screening, or fewer screenings per day. The former means you are wasting rented space and the later is problematic, because you only have so many screens and therefore there is a constraint on the number of movies screening at desirable times (evenings and weekends). If you also reduce ticket prices, that even further reduces your profit per screening.

      I also wonder how much the marketing costs have contributed to this situation. The cost of movies is what justifies the cinema prices. Most movie studio's aren't just making windfall gains. They need to charge high prices to recoup the expenditure on films, except that the film itself only costs in some case 60% of the total spend. There is an arms race going on, which results in more and more 'wasted' spend on marketing, and less on the films production. Effectively these costs are passed on to customers, so we lose, studio's come out square and tv networks win.

      Not disagreeing with you, just not sure that longer windows provide a solution to the problem Burke was talking about.

        I think it would. I have lost track of the number of times I'd like to see a movie only the find it being in the final stages or having been withdraw as it's run has either come to an end or the theatre had decided not enough patrons were coming.

        This is why I suggest the longer window and the cheaper price. It is like to cause more patrons to sit in the theatre, and do so when they have the time and are less likely to pirate because of price or they missed out and don't want to wait for the home media release.

        It's no cure-all, but it is far more likely to be viable over the current standing where the price is high, the screenings are short. Doesn't help either that there are more ads than there are previews.

        Heck, if they just reduced the number of ads by half and filled the gap with the old cinema shorts like Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies it would have a huge impact.

        But we may never know. Who's willing to take the risk anymore?

        Last edited 10/09/14 4:21 pm

          Yeah, look, you're right that it could work and in fact I think regional cinema's might operate more on this model, as they just buy and show fewer films for longer, but then they do have a lot cheaper rents. They also have fewer competitors.

          It's worth a try though. particularly with lower cost indie films that can take the risk because they don't such a big budget to earn back. They might even turn out to be sleeper hits and get wider distribution.

        I totally agree with what you've written here. Good post.

        I'd like to add that AAA games these days can have budgets and production times exceeding blockbuster movies so I think they can be compared as a high cost investment, however the distribution method is vastly different. I imagine running a cinema isn't cheap.

        The Iconic is losing money ? News to me buddy ... aren't they supposed to be a quintessential online retail 'success story' ?

          Well to be fair they're still at a relatively early stage in their business model, but yes, their losses to date are in the ten's of millions. They have backers in Germany that have invested further funds, but they will need to start to break even in the next year or two.

          Their strategy is to build market share and then capitalise on volume, so it's not completely dissimilar to what Wisehacker has suggested, but it does illustrate that it isn't easy.

          Just because they aren't profitable now, doesn't mean they soon won't be, but it illustrates the complexity of online retailing and how hard it is to turn a profit in any business. Also note, a lot of their costs, possibly more so than purchases I think, are actually in the sales and marketing area. So again, more is going into promotion than the actual product.

      Feature films can cost up to $200m.
      Stop regurgitating the same old crap and loading it up with CGI in an attempt to woo movie goers, and start writing original, compelling material and you might find that film costs go down while attendance and therefore revenue goes up.

    When I heard this last night all I could think was:
    So you are changing because it is costing you money, not because it's better for your customer. This is not the way a business should run and what most of the complaints on forums such as this are. I am proud to be one of the crazies Burke referred to before this.

      Which customer is it better for? Certainly not the legions of families looking for activities for their kids during school holidays. In the end the distributors are being forced to choose between a rock and a hard place - show it when it suits the US market, have nothing for the kids during the holidays and take a bath on sales or wait for the holidays and take a bath from pirating. In the end it will come down to which hurts least but neither are good for business. OTOH, reducing (or eliminating) piracy without having to disadvantage other customers must be very attractive, in that it returns control to the people who own the product.

    For Village Roadshow this is one of those moments when they need to change their business model and practices or die a slow death like the music industry.

      The music industry didn't take the hint either.

      Steve Jobs (of all people) basically told the music execs "You're walking around with your heads up your own arses."

      Say what you will about Jobs, he had is faults and his behaviour was oft questionable but he was still a motivated business man at his core so he knew where a market was and how it could be realised.

      But more to the point, he also came to them with a customer oriented alternative to Napster. Some executes thought him raving mad, saying, "You can't have a uniform price! Some tracks are popular thus should cost more!"

      But some still took the risk and look at the store now.

      Last edited 10/09/14 4:24 pm

        I guess in a way they are trying to stick to a supply and demand business model.... lots of people like GOT so we'll charge more for it and the suckers will pay.

        Except that digital distribution is super cheap and limitless supply. Hell even if cinemas were completely packed and booked out... then i could understand price increase since there's a shortage of supply. That's normal economics, but there's not shortage here. Supply is not a problem.

          You're right but Foxtel are screwed if HBO ever change their HBO GO business model to allow for monthly subscriptions.

    I'll believe it when I see it. They are trying to hold onto what they've got. They are analogue players in a digital world and their time is ending, they need to evolve or get out of the way. This ain't the 1900s anymore people dont need to go to the cinema to watch a show these days..

      You do understand that these are the same people whose money makes movies. So what you are basically saying is that you'd rather nobody made any more movies or TV shows than take any personal responsibility and obey the law. Aren't you a good bloke... not.

      Great name btw, suits you perfectly. Do you realise these 'people' I.e. Village roadshow is a distribution service not a producer? My point retard, is that the idea of going to the cinemas to watch a new movie is getting old and most families have access to internet and 42" TVs. Ergo, they should update their distribution model and supply an online distribution service for new releases. Aren't you a smart person... Not.

    better late then never i suppose, its been pretty obvious for years now that what village is doing isn't working and needs to change, the fact its taken this long should say more about his position as the co-CEO then the fact they've finally taken a hit in the hip pocket large enough to notice!

    I think if someone like village got in there and made their application to distribute HD cinema.. even with an app that you could purchase tickets and then use chromecast to stream to your tv at home etc.. it would be a worthwhile venture. sometimes you wanna go on a date and during the movie do something with your lady.. hard when lots of people are around :)

    the ability to but a ticket from them and have it stream at some point in 24 hours would be a great thing :)

    then is even without something constant like Netflix.. if you wanted a brand new movie and you wanted it at home.. $9 and no cost means you and your lady are watching a movie at home.
    or you and the kids can sit down from 6:30 and watch the leggo movie together on a weeknight..

    Wow the Australian consumers have been saying this for years. Does it really take that long to get your most important factor of business (the consumer) what we want. I really hope some other company moves in and wipe them out.

    Drive inns died because times changed.
    Cinemas will die because times are a changing. It's not pirating that will kill your business, it's cheap big screen TVs.

    Dear Graham Burke,

    Here is a sure fire way to make money from your next big hit movie:

    1) On the day of release of the movie make it available to stream and watch via every type of device possible, ipads, iphones, laptops, streaming media players. All for a reasonable price equivalent of a movie ticket (about $20 or cheaper). I'd even stretch to say make it available to buy it on bluray over the counter on that same day.

    2) Make sure this is in HD format

    I'd be happy to pay to watch a blockbuster movie from the comfort of my home on the day of release, heck might even pay a premium to do so. Bottom line, think of a way to make it work for you and for me and we have a deal. No need to pirate, I'd give you my credit card details willingly.

    Signed Long Suffering Australian Consumer

    I won't be surprise if they end up just increase the price... which then will drive more piracy... and more price increase... and more and more piracy... ahhhhhh ficious cycle!

    Wait.. you mean he's changed his business model to avoid piracy? I thought he said they'd tried 30 million new business models and had concluded that it had no effect on piracy.. I thought he said the only solution was to throw all those dirty pirates in jail, to stop them robbing distributors like himself (who add so much value) of their rightful income.

    Going to the cinemas and watch a movie used to cost $10 for an adult a few years back, now it costs almost $20 to watch a movie. Where in other medias, such as music, and DVD's the price has basically remained the same, $20 for a CD and around $30 to own a copy of the movie. Have a think about it. Why are you charging Australians a premium compared to the rest of the world for the same product.

    I think it's important to remember that:

    a) 1 illegal download does not equal one lost sale. - It may not mean any lost sale at all, or it may also mean one lost Bluray rental in 3 years time at $2.
    b) up front pricing and availability isn't all of the equation. It is also at the box office where some cinemas are charging $22+ per ticket for a regular ticket plus 30 minutes of mind numbing advertising before screening commences! Crazy! Who would subject themselves to that by choice?!?!?!
    c) Maybe the movie industry is in COMPETITION with the games industry! The games industry is huge and people are spending big bucks on gaming at home with limited spend capacity... perhaps you're just loosing out to a competitor.
    d) anecdotally, perhaps supported by statistics too, people who download may also be your biggest customers for blurays purchased, movie outings and tv content purchased online.

    Hey, maybe all your customers have figured out that you can buy Blurays from the UK and USA for less than half the price and are bypassing the local market because we're not stupid?!

    Just sayin'

    Its about time this ass clown and the rest of the board of old men step aside and let some new blood in, or Village will die Mr Bourke. You don't get to tell the customer what they should want, just shut the fuck up and listen for a change. Evolve or die. On the Lego movie decision alone, those on the board who made that decision should step down or be sacked. You put your business in jeopardy, you shouldn't get a second chance. Your shareholders should vote on who sits on the board, not the Kirby family.

    Too bad Village partner Warner Bros wont follow Village's lead and release films same time as the US. The final Hobbit film is a good example of films being held back for Australian release and I would be willing to bet that there are people in Australia who will pirate Hobbit part 3 instead of going to the cinema to see it but who would have not pirated it if it was out at the same time as the rest of the world.

    If the business model of the studios (like the way that the amount the cinema pays to the studio goes down the longer the film is in theaters) doesn't support the idea of releasing it simultaniously with the rest of the world then keeping it in theaters until the school holidays or the post-Xmas release point or whatever the studios should change the business model.

    As for the price of tickets, I saw the new Ninja Turtles film today at Cineplex South
    Bank here in Brisbane and got a ticket for $4.50 (concession pricing). Even their most expensive 2D ticket (full adult price evenings and weekends) is only $8.50. 3D films are only $11. So you dont HAVE to put up with theaters that charge you $22, there are options out there if you look hard enough.

    Ah, the old chesnut of theatrical release. Has it occurred to the studios yet that if they weren't tied to cinemas they could make films that didn't just appeal to teenagers and hipster indy types?

    Imagine if they just released straight to the net. They could then target, I dunno, the 90% of people who watch TV/internet at home daily, compared to the ever smaller number of regular cinema goers.

    Surely selling a film for $5-10 at first release over the net to larger audiences would get more money than $20 a pop at the box office? They'd be getting some of that sync/cam/capture pirate market.

    The internet has raised our expectations of convenience. I'd rather watch a film at home, and be able to pause it when the kids start fighting or the pizza guy arrives or I drift off to sleep, than organise a special trip out to the cinema. Especially when all the films seem to be aimed at retarded teenage boys.

    They need to rethink the whole caboodle.

    Perhaps the movie industry should solve the problem by being able to make movies that don't cost $200m. If the industry is in such a crisis over piracy, needing to have exclusive viewing windows for certain audiences to make this obscene cost justified, why not question the value of the high costs of such production. It seems to me this industry is happy reaping billions out of their viewers to prop up Hollywood salaries that are increasingly looking to be the cause of the problem. Executive tools like this guy just want the rivers of money to continue without reevaluating their entire business proposition, what they should be doing in the light of consumers shunning their offerings in the current format.

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