TV Bites With
Entertainment Businesses' Motto: "Bugger Off"
by Neena Louise
I've long lamented the overwhelming greed of the entertainment business. Though
entertainment is, indeed, a business, I'm mighty weary of listening to
entertainment companies (television, radio, magazines, movies, music, etc.)
constantly whining about the thievery of the public and declining revenues, yet
doing nothing to rectify the problem. They just snivel like spoilt children and
blame the public. But they don't listen to the entertainment-buying
public, so what do they expect? They put out their junk and, when it doesn't
sell well, they claim it's due to public stupidity and thievery. I'm sick of
this attitude. If they want to increase their revenues, why aren't they
listening to their consumers?
Cases in point:
1. I have sent e-mails, snail-mail letters and telephoned all Big Four networks
for various reasons over the years (usually trying to get information not found
on websites). Out of dozens of inquiries, ONE was answered. As a consequence, if
I don't have the information I need to write a column, I just delete all
references to the network and/or television show. So much for their free
2. Though I am a long-term Entertainment Weekly subscriber, they made a
clerical error in my renewal. I sent an explanatory e-mail and informed them
payment had been sent. They promptly canceled both my renewal and gift
subscription without explanation. Numerous attempts to find out why were
completely ignored. I will now just take the short walk to the library and read
it for free if I must (though I doubt I could be bothered). If they'd just
answered me, I might still be interested in subscribing to their magazine.
3. Rather than embracing the Internet as a tool to promote and sell music,
record companies sued people for swapping and downloading free music. The public
warned them again and again: "we're not paying $20 to buy your crappy CDs; offer
something good and we will pay." Record companies refused to listen and sued
children instead. In the first week after Apple iTunes' launch, it made
millions by offering downloads at a reasonable price, sending all those
unimaginative, naysaying executives scrambling to offer their own downloads. If
they'd just listened to the public in the first place, they, too, could've made
millions and wouldn't have sued anyone.
4. I buy a lot of movies on DVD - at least 50 a year. When I bought a defective
DVD on an out-of-town trip, I sent it back to the distributor expecting a
replacement. Though I sent a copy of the receipt and explained the problem, they
sent the defective DVD back and insisted I return it to the store (like I was
going to make a trip out of town just to return their defective product). I now
only buy previously-viewed DVDs. If they're defective, they were so cheap, who
cares? I doubt sales of used DVDs are reflected in their sales figures. If
they'd simply replaced their defective DVD that I shelled out almost $30 for,
I'd still be buying new.
5. There has been much ballyhoo about the current slump in movie box office
revenues. Movie companies seem baffled which, in turn, baffles me. Have movie
executives gone to a movie theater lately? After driving miles to the
suburban mega-multiplex, finding a place to park in the giant acreage called a
parking lot, you enter a surreal town-sized lobby full of fast-food joints,
video machines, and a giant board with a staggering and bewildering list of
movies and times. You finally manage to get your ticket, shell out a bazillion
dollars for a tiny popcorn, then spend 20 minutes watching ads. The movie
finally starts, and that's the cue for cell phones to go off, people to start
conversing loudly and babies to cry - and not a single employee in sight to tell
them to shut up or leave. If I'm going to go through all that, the movie
damn well better be top-notch and not the mediocre schlock they call movies
these days. I'd rather stay home and wait for the DVD or watch it on
pay-per-view. Or not bother seeing it at all, for that matter. Hope that clears
things up for the movie companies. But, then, they're not listening, are they?
What is wrong with the entertainment industry? Who, exactly, do they
think are making them rich? Aliens? I realize I'm just one person, but am I a
lone voice? I think not. Don't they understand this? Did they not take Business
101 and realize there's a "domino effect" by treating their consumers with
indifference? Treat one consumer badly, s/he will tell others; they will tell
others, and so on. I am in the supposedly much-coveted key demographic, but I
hardly feel coveted. Completely ignored is more like it. If the millions of
people that pay to be entertained are treated with as much disdain as I have
been, why is the entertainment industry so puzzled by their tumbling profits?
Entertainment companies are becoming more and more like so many consumer-product
companies: once they have your money, they want you to bugger off and don't
bother them again. Ever. They don't want to hear from you. They don't care what
you want. Your complaints are petty; your opinions irrelevant. They just want
your money. I, for one, am spending much less for my entertainment than I was
just a year ago. Unless things change, it will decline even further. But I'm
only one consumer, so who cares?
The entertainment industry should.
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