Friday, February 19, 2010

Buying vs. Pirating

Here's a handy infographic from Making Light via Boing Boing that details the absolute dearth of good reasons to buy a DVD versus pirating one.

I'm not supporting or condoning pirating media. It's illegal and wrong. But it does illustrate how an industry that's held their audience captive for so long finds itself struggling to survive once alternatives to their business model are available.

I always assumed that a company would stay in business only as long as it was able to provide its customers with a product or service that was deemed both desired and of value. If you don't deliver something that's not wanted, it doesn't matter what you charge - most people won't make the purchase. Similarly, if you offer a product for a fee that's perceived as too high, or not in line with other like items, you won't have many takers.

If I want to watch a DVD movie at home, I've already decided I don't want the hassle of seeing it in the theater, so convenience is key. Make me jump through hoops to get to the very content I've purchased, and you'd made me choose between enduring a grating sequence of events that benefits you, not me, or finding an alternative, as outlined in the graphic.

I used to buy stamps at the post office to mail bill payments. It was more convenient to do that than to drive around to the various entities and drop off a check, if they were local. As soon as electronic banking was available, my need to suffer the various indignities of the USPS vanished, as did my stamp buying, because there was an alternative. I doubt that I've stepped into a USPS facility more than five times in as many years.

Rather than beating me to death with an approach that seemingly ignores what I want and how I want it, try putting the customer first.

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