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It's All Good...I Think

6 May, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. No doubt someone will dust off that opener some day to describe the dawn of the digital entertainment age: a time so full of possibilities and promise, yet fraught with so much danger.

And the perfect characterization for an industry filled with contradictions.

You have to give people credit for creative thinking, even if some of the ideas aren't necessarily trends we want to encourage. I just have to share a couple of head-scratchers coming to light this week:

  • In the same week, concert promoter Clear Channel hooked up with Best Buy in a deal to offer concertgoers CDs of the concert they just attended on the way out of the show (Best Buy will carry a limited number in selected stores after the show); and Volkswagen partnered with EMI Music to put pre-downloaded digital audio players in cars at the factory. So just about the time you can get the new concert CD you want when you want it, you will no longer be able to play it in the car on the way home. Still, could DVD instant replays be far behind?

  • Does anyone else think it's funny that Warner Bros. is dispatching stealth operatives armed with high-tech piracy detecting gear to screening rooms and movie theaters for the opening of The Matrix Reloaded -- a movie that glamorizes hackers?

  • How about Blockbuster Video CEO John Antioco championing independent video retailers as the defenders of the studios' digitized intellectual property? Gee, John, we didn't know you cared.

  • VSDA president Bo Anderson suggests retailers get into video-on-demand (VOD) to protect their share of the home entertainment industry. Last time I checked, most video retailers viewed VOD as the enemy that can't seem to get suited up for battle. Which was, perhaps, Bo's point. But I'm still trying to figure out how independent retailers get into VOD.

  • Small dealers also have a hard time getting revenue-sharing deals, but now there's a company that wants to change all that. For some, rev-sharing means getting product for peanuts. For others, there's Whittier, Calif.-based Pop N' Go, Inc., which offers rev-sharing on popcorn. The company makes in-store vending poppers that dispense fresh-popped single servings. A press release proudly touted placement for one of the machines at…

  • "The Original Drive-Through Biker Bar" -- 'nuff said.

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