Napster Founder Wants People to Pay $50 to Rent Films for 48 Hours

By Chris Mills on at

The Germans probably have an overwrought, seven-syllable word for extreme irony. But I’m not sure anything can do justice to Napster founder Sean Parker, arguably the founding father of internet piracy, championing a ridiculously expensive movie startup.

According to Variety, Parker is one of the founders behind Screening Room, a new startup that would bring new studio releases into people’s homes at the same time as the cinema releases. The cost would be $150 for the secure set-top box, and $50 per movie, which would be rented for 48 hours.

This is more expensive than the $20 it costs for two people to see a film in cinemas. I feel duty-bound to mention that it is also infinitely more expensive than the no money it costs to illegally torrent a new film off the internet, a place I feel Mr Parker might be familiar with.

For those of you who claim that Mr Parker’s initiative will reduce piracy in a Netflixian sort of way: $50 is a lot of money for one film (for an idea of costs, that's over £35 on a straight conversion – would you pay that for a two-day rental that you're almost certainly going to watch once on your not-nearly-as-impressive-as-a-cinema-screen television?) and I gently posit that giving access to new films outside of cinemas, no matter how encrypted, will see a giant surge in piracy.

It’s probably for this reason that studio executives told Deadline that the plan would be “the beginning of the end” and “so damaging, I can’t tell you right now how unhappy I am”. [Variety]