Friday, April 13, 2007

DVDs home delivered

I'm surprised that it has taken the authorities such a long time before realising what is happening. These pirates are a very innovative bunch of marketeers. They have to be, since their business is purely based on marketing.

Let's put things into perspective. In the old days, you could find pirated products everywhere, including our venerable 'pasar malam' (night market). There pirates didn't just sell VCDs but also top quality DVDs and computer software, often before the originals are even released in the country. However, in order to protect the MSC and the investments that our country is putting into technology, the government is forced to tighten it's controls on intellectual property.

So, the government has been slowly improving it's rankings on the piracy watch list by often clamping down hard on the piraters in massive 'operasi' (operations) on the common places. I have been told by some friends that it's quite difficult to find pirated discs in the Sungai Wang/Bukit Bintang area now. And of course, their presence in the 'pasar malam' has reduced considerably as well. However, the pirates in KL have switched to new marketing tactics in order to evade the authorities.

One such tactic is by sending one person, with nothing but disc covers, to solicit sales from customers in restaurants and coffee shops. Then, when a customer places the orders, another person will inconspiciously come round with a black plastic bag filled with the goodies later. These are the runners. Terms are all COD. So, it's fairly difficult to catch them. The people peddling the goods do not have any contraband with them, while the runners are difficult to identify.

A more advanced tactic is by giving out phone numbers. When a person is feeling bored at home, they can just call up the runner and ask for specific shows. Wait for 15 minutes and get the discs delivered right up to your door step. It is quite literally impossible to nab the people who operate this way. The authorities will find it hard to differentiate between a pizza delivery and one of these deliveries.

These 'value added services' are something that aren't too difficult to perform. Furthermore, as the margin from selling these pirated goods is very high, it doesn't really incur the sellers any extra cost as they can now operate from home. So, they've gone from the retail business into the tele-marketing business now. Necessity is the mother of all invention after all.

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