Of Vice and Venn: Why Windowing Pits Convenience Against Compliance

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If you want to understand why excessive contenting “windowing” forces consumers to choose between convenience and copyright compliance, Farhad Manjoo’s New York Times piece last week, “Why Movie Streaming Sites So Fail to Satisfy,” is a great start.  Manjoo explains why, as a result of windowing practices — in addition to licensing complexities — “we aren’t anywhere close to getting a service that allows customers to pay a single monthly fee for access to a wide range of top-notch movies and TV shows.”

If you don’t have the time, try this Venn diagram.Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Content-Windowing


  • http://wms.ac/ Juan Diosdado

    This diagram is incorrect. Theatres and cable are definitely not comprehensive given they only show what they want to, in the schedule they want to, and most of the time it’s typical mass-produced studio fare.

    • Matt Schruers

      Juan, I’ve given this some thought: I have to disagree. It is true that theatres, cable, & etc., only show what they wish to show, but they are comprehensive insofar as they are the set of professionally produced audiovisual content that is most frequently infringed, which Manjoo’s article presupposes. In that sense, the circle is tautological. But it would be fair to complain that these modalities are only comprehensive *over time.* Hence, consumers look elsewhere – online – for convenience. If original content production by the likes of Netflix (e.g., “House of Cards”) and Amazon grows over time, your critique may have greater strength, however.

      As to your complaint about studio fare being “typical [and] mass-produced,” you may well be right. I don’t read “comprehensive” to imply any judgments about subjective quality.