The entertainment industry now has an established model of technology adoption: Fearful to Friendly. Suffice it to say, they are not early adopters.
BitTorrent.com will now sell video games and movies. What I think is cool about this is that "classic" games or movies can be picked up cheap. Now you could pick up a copy of Mary Pickford and my grandfather cavorting around in Little Lord Fauntleroy. Silent films aren't a big draw at the video counter or on pay-on-demand, but how great would it be for them to be $2 a download or less via BitTorrent?
The New York Times says:
The BitTorrent store will work slightly differently than rival digital media offerings like the iTunes Store of Apple and the Xbox Live service of Microsoft. BitTorrent will commingle free downloads of users’ own video uploads with sales of professional fare. And while it will sell digital copies of shows like “24” and “Bones” for $1.99 an episode, it will only rent movies. Once the films are on the PC, they expire within 30 days of their purchase or 24 hours after the buyer begins to watch them.
New releases like “Superman Returns” cost $3.99, while classics like “Reservoir Dogs” cost $2.99. The studio’s content plays in Microsoft’s Windows Media Player 11. It is secured by Microsoft’s antipiracy software, which blocks users from watching rented movies on more than one PC or sending them to others over the Internet.
For video games especially, a backcatalog in compelling. No one wants to litter their shelves with bulky boxes and manuals from old video games. Or worse, don't have a 5.25" floppy to run them.
Games for the PC-AT like Art of War, Ultima II or Neuromancer would be a fun diversion while sitting in an airport.
BitTorrent has done this superbly. The entertainment files are still covered by DRM, but the price point is so low that it hardly matters.
For me, this beats the hell out of Tivo and such things, as the television itself is less and less part of my daily life. However, when my wife is taking an extra hour to leave the office, it would be great to fire up an episode of Battlestar Galactica.
I think the entertainment companies will soon realize that they can make great money from small payment, one-shot events like this. And, perhaps for the first time, they can truly exploit their long tail.
They could get an on-line permanent archive and museum of every film ever made. Now, just do this with music and we're golden.
Blogged at Alaska Airlines Board Room at SeaTac Airport in Seattle using Windows Live Writer