business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email, following up on our story about a new business that wants to sell $9.99 monthly passes that would allow people to go to one movie a day, from an MNB reader:

Last week you had a reader email in about the MoviePass idea, where they alluded to being able to watch any movie they wanted online as opposed to going to the movie theaters. You correctly identified that he was talking about watching pirated content and you said you weren't cool with that.

So I ask what's really wrong with "illegally" watching media online for free?

I get that it's illegal because media companies that produce and own this content have the explicit right to release it to the public in whatever fashion they choose. I also get that by stealing this work you are also taking money out of the pockets of the people that create it. If enough people watched these TV Shows and movies online that it could potentially put a lot of people out of work.

However, isn't this the same issue the music industry experienced years ago with Napster. Yes, Napster was eventually shut down but it gave birth to the idea of iTunes and eventually the subscription based model we are seeing now. The music industry was never the same after that point and some industry types might say for the worst. While music listeners might say it was for the better as now we have access to nearly any song we want whenever and wherever we want it.

We also see this issue in the medical field when people don't have access to certain life saving drugs so they go overseas to get riskier versions. Obviously, the consequences of getting risky medical procedures are much more dire here than having to wait to see the latest episode of “Game of Thrones” the day it airs but the similarities are still there.

All I'm trying to say is that with the advent of the internet and the ability to share media anywhere and everywhere, isn't it time that the movie and TV industry caught up? The industry is ripe for some innovation that makes sharing media across borders easier and better than it is now.

I’m reminded of the line from The Big Chill in which Jeff Goldblum’s character says rationalizations are more important than sex: “Ever gone a week without a rationalization?”

Here’s the deal. If people only steal “Game of Thrones,” it’ll mean that HBO won’t have the money to produce “Game of Thrones.” So there will be no “Game of Thrones.”

I think your comparison to going abroad to get medical procedures is specious. After all, I’m guessing that most people are still paying for those operations … just not in the US.

I also think you might take a different position if folks were stealing from you.

MNB reader John Rand wrote:

Am I the only one who finds it interesting that Walmart seems to be positioning Jet as an alternative for a certain class or type of shopper, while having spent many years failing to fully commit to do the same for Sam’s Club?

In so many ways, the devotion to the Supercenter as the primary format and the standard for performance has made it more difficult for Walmart to nurture alternatives. Either Walmart has finally realized they need to diversify for real this time in order to appeal to different shoppers with a different proposition – or else this will revert in time, and such labels as Bonobos, Modcloth and even Jet itself will struggle with the moral equivalent of being stuck in the same parking lot as a conventional supercenter.

Also got the following email, and my reference to a Baseballism t-shirt that says “6+4+3=2.”

Enjoyed the article about Baseballism, but not being a fan, had to go to my husband for the solution to the equation, for which he immediately emailed  the explanation back.  But when I said “Thanks—Like Tinker to Evers to Chance?”—he didn’t have a clue to the reference.

Is that too far back for you, too?  I can see that emblazoned on one of those tees, it seems so much a part of the culture.

I’m not quite old enough to have seen them play - Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance were a double-play combination for the Chicago Cubs from 1902-1912.

From another reader:

How is it that I have lived in Portland for many years and have never heard of the Baseballism store! My husband is a huge baseball fan and now I know where to go for an Xmas gift.  You do know Portland isn’t a baseball town?  It is all about college football and soccer.  How will you survive when you eventually move here?  You can go see the Seattle Mariners in a great ballpark but they don’t play “real” baseball like they do in the National League.  We survive by planning vacations around the SF Giants schedule.  This summer we went to Detroit (lots of sightseeing here, who knew?) and Toronto (ranks toward the bottom of my ballparks list).

Have you ever seen the documentary The Battered Bastards of Baseball, about minor league baseball in Portland? It’s terrific … available on Netflix … and I reviewed it here.

Finally, MNB reader Peter Talbott wrote:

We always stop at Baseballism and then at the Sugar Bowl for ice cream after attending SF Giants Spring Training games in Scottsdale AZ.  Despite the lack of the Mets presence, you should try the Cactus League!

I’ve been to spring training games in Arizona. In 2014, my brothers and I took our dad, then 87, to a bunch of games there. While he had dementia, he was still pretty mobile and with it, and we had an amazing time … it is one of my best memories.
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