Pay Per View for Studios
The most important concern a studio would have in regard to offering their content to a pay per view site is security. They work hard to offer a product to their customers; you don't want them to just be able to steal it for free off of the Internet, preventing you from receiving your well deserved profits. With pay per view sites, that is not a concern. Again, for this discussion we will look at XonDemand and how they have taken steps to make sure that content is safe and secure.
For starters, they begin by using 128 bit SSL encryption technology, on secure, high encryption servers to process credit card transactions. For studios, this means that credit card information cannot be stolen or hacked. It is 100% safe. Information collected by web servers is for security of the servers only. By default, the web server logs all access to the server to include IP address, referring URL, and hacking attempts. This information is not personal information but rather general information as an Internet service provider is the only one who can match an IP address to an actual person. In addition, streaming solutions include the usage of Intrusion Protection Systems, Load Balancers, multiple physical networks, Operating Systems Hardening and encryption, all working in unison to provide a powerful, redundant and secure environment for customers and data. As a final step, all servers are housed in a world-class data facility with secured cages and locking cabinets. The data center features key card access and alarms that are monitored 24/7. No one is getting to the servers that don't belong there.
But what about the actual streaming content on the pay per view site? How safe is that? The answer is quite simple – it is completely safe. The streaming systems include native authentication of MD5-summed passwords that are stored in databases and can not be unencrypted. MD5 is the most secure password algorithm available, so even in the unlikely event that a database is compromised or an employee views the MD5 hashed passwords, the passwords would be useless since they are encrypted and impossible to decode. In addition, Windows Media Downloadable Files are encrypted and stored on the servers. There is a unique license generated for each transaction (purchase) of the content. The license allows the download of the media and allows unlimited playing of the media on that unique machine for a specified amount of time. The unique license key prevents the media from being re-downloaded or shared with another machine (even if the machine belongs to the purchaser). So the bottom line is… your content is safe and it remains your property long after being viewed on a pay per view site.
Now that we know it is safe, what are some of the financial benefits for a studio to consider pay per view? Well quite honestly, it requires little work on the part of the studio as the pay per view site handles nearly all the details. Simply send in a shipment of DVDs (or VHS tapes) and in a few weeks, the content is encoded for free onto the site. The movies are hosted at no cost to you. Customers can then purchase your movies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They never have to worry about a store being closed or a particular title being out of stock. This is especially helpful to studios that have been in the business for awhile. In retail locations, shelf space is at a premium. They can only carry so many titles at a time. With pay per view, your new releases can be featured right alongside your classic titles all at once. There is no limit to how many movies can be carried, from 1 to 1,000. If you've made it, it should be available. With pay per view, it can be.
But with so much content, it is important to know just where your sales come from. With real time reporting, you will be able to track weekly, monthly and yearly commissions, user viewing time, revenue by title, and much more. These real time statistics can help not only manage your video on demand business, but your retail business as well, by knowing at a glance which of your titles are generating the most attention, it will help you make useful retail stocking decisions.
So it is pretty clear that studios have a lot to gain by offering their content to pay per view websites. The content is already shot, the performers have been paid; why not maximum your sales potential on every title you've made? Pay per view is not meant to replace DVD sales; it is simply a way to supplement your income. As society heads more and more to an Internet-driven industry, do not be left out. It is not too late to get on board with one or more video on demand sites. All you need to do is sign up and let them do the work for you. So what are you waiting for? You win, they win, and most importantly, your audience wins.