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Movie “demos”

Reading an article online about game piracy reminded me of something that I think would be a really interesting experiment.

Back in the early days of PC gaming, many a game was sold off of the shareware model. The way it worked was that you could download a game that was limited in some way, usually either a time trial or only part of the game (anywhere from the first level up to 1/3rd of the game or so).

What I’d find interesting is a similar model applied to movies. Movie trailers often show you pieces of various parts of the movie, often having to hint at the entire plot to try and entice you to watch it. However trailers are often very misleading or outright bad. Now I don’t think they are useless by any means but I think it would be interesting to have a website or something that allowed you to watch a portion of the movie. Perhaps it would be the first 15 minutes, or the middle 20 minutes. Whatever was enough to whet your thirst for more and really decide whether or not the movie is for you.

I think realistically you would be able to tell if a movie was worth continuing within the first 20 minutes and movies that you’d really need to see the middle to understand could definitely show that part and treat the beginning 20 minutes almost like getting a prequel.

Now imagine if this website let you watch that 20 minutes and then at the end prompted you to pay to watch the rest. Talk about pressure! If you are really into the movie I think you’d definitely be pretty convinced to fork over the rest. Who knows this could reduce movie piracy!

It would also be interesting if instead of 15-20 minutes of trailers before a movie in theaters they played the first 20 minutes of a movie that isn’t out yet to build anticipation. I have heard of situations where the first 5 minutes are previewed that way sometimes but I don’t know how well that worked and 5 minutes is pretty short.

Now that I think about it, it wouldn’t be too hard to put up the first 10 minutes of your movie on youtube and see how big of a fanbase you can get from that!

Regardless of whether or not these ideas would work, it’d be awesome to see someone try!

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