While piracy, the illegal copying and distribution of media is a threat to the music, fim and gaming industries theft is a big issue. When retailers calculate their anticipated revenue and profits they factor in a certain amount of what is known as ‘shrink’, retail jargon for theft. There have been many attempts to prevent this and various techniques and technologies have been used, but none are perfect.
The Entertainment Merchants Association has just released a study showing that a new ‘point of sale activation’ technology could increase media sales by as much as six billion and reduce costs by up to $800 million. If this technology is put into play, anyone who nabs a disc and sneaks out of a store will get home to find that their game, movie or cd isn’t anything other than a fancy coaster. In order to get a working product you’ll have to have the disc activated by the staff behind the counter. The EMA is now looking into the cost of deploying this technology which, if cost-effective could be in retailers by late 2010.
While many point out that for many retailers it’s more often the staff that are stealing games than anyone else, this technology would also discourage theft by shipping companies that transport the merchandise to the retailer. It’s unknown how this would work for online retailers like Amazon, but with most retailers using established shipping companies like UPS and FedEx one has to assume that with the level of information they record regarding their shipments it’ll be simpler to avoid thefts.