Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO of DreamWorks Animation, has this week presented an interesting new idea for the future of the movie business: paying for films according to the size of the screen you watch them on. After a very brief three-week run in theaters, there would be ubiquitous distribution with a variety of tiers to match each screen size: "A movie screen will be $15. A 75-inch TV will be $4. A smartphone will be $1.99," according to Katzenberg's vision.
His comments have come as part of a broader analysis of where the movie industry is heading over the next decade, though he's convinced that this per-inch pricing model will eventually take root. The studio chief believes "movies are not a growth business" and what's necessary is to "reinvent the enterprise of movies." Such a major revision to what the viewer will be paying for would require a quite extensive technical setup for locking down content — given the diversity of video streaming options available today, it's hard to imagine a security system that would reliably recognize the exact size of the screen it's being displayed on.