Motion Picture Association of America president Dan Glickman made it clear to a National Press Club audience Monday that movies aren't just for theaters or even traditional television sets anymore, but for wherever the new, tech-savvy generation wants to -- legally -- see them.
According to a copy of his speech, in a nod to theater owners, Glickman said consumers still prefer watching movies “at the movies” and that fans of digital-video recorders, HDTV and Internet-protocol TV go to movies in even greater numbers than those with less home technology.
Still, he followed that with a "but" and a pitch for a light regulatory hand on Internet regulation given the rise of out-of-theater viewing.
"But we also know that consumers increasingly want to enjoy our films in new ways," he said. "We have to give folks the choices they desire -- legally -- in the comfort of their homes and wherever else they wish to enjoy our movies."
Glickman said he was proud of all of the family films studios distribute, but he said that when the kids are in bed, young parents may want to see "something else besides Alvin and the Chipmunks for the 13th time."
He also suggested that they were going to get it.
"People want -- they demand -- this freedom today," he said. "There’s no question in my mind that the studios hear their customers loud and clear on this point. There are technology and policy issues to work through. But we’ll get there, advancing both the theatrical experience and the anytime, anywhere enjoyment of movies that consumers clearly want today and that technology is making possible. I think we’ll soon see some progress that will really open up how exciting this future could be for all of us."
For one thing, Glickman seems to have a friend in Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin, who has suggested that preventing pirates from distributing illegal content should be considered "reasonable network management." Studios have been concerned that restrictions on Internet management might wind up impeding applications that help to protect against downloads of copyrighted material.
"Broad regulation of the Internet opens up a host of new and unexpected public-policy issues," he said, "and the laws of unintended consequences are always applicable. We need to be extremely cautious before going down this road."