In the past I have always had mixed feelings about torrenting snowboard videos. For some, like brand videos, I see them as a marketing exercise and the brand benefits from more people seeing it – I don’t feel too bad about that. For others where they have inexplicably decided to make Australian fans wait three months for it to come out in a legal format here, again, I don’t feel bad about it. For ones that are sponsor funded and put together with just sheer dedication from a group of people just wanting to create something good – I would feel terrible.
Last year I paid for a bunch of videos – the release schedules were (finally) global and we weren’t asked to wait. The formats they were available through are great (Vimeo on Demand for Shredbots was my favourite). The prices were all set at a reasonable level – between AU$12 and AU$20 for each video. Were this to continue on its own, I’d have absolutely no issues with continuing to pay for videos. But that’s not how it went …
The latest trend is to sell the video for a few weeks, then release it for free in parts through one of the industry sites – mostly through Transworld. It reduced the 45 minute piece of film which I had been anticipating (as a whole) – an end to end piece of work that has a style and flow of its own – to a series of webclips. And it was no longer worth the money I’d paid.
This will definitely made me reconsider whether I will part with money for a video next year or just torrent… I mean, if they’re going to give it away anyway, is there any moral ambiguity in grabbing it from a torrent a couple of weeks early? And was the free distribution more valuable than the paid distribution for the film makers? If so, then it’s time to look at the business model again (just when it seemed like they were getting it right).
Here’s hoping that the brands and film makers take a little time to think about how the paying public will feel about the way they’re releasing their videos next year. And the paying public need to think about whether they will ever buy a snowboard video again.