Sorry in advance for the wall of text. Much of it is not aimed at you, but rather at those involved in copyright-protected industries.
I’m sure many download things they never get time to watch, listen to or run, just because the occasion is there.
I know I did back when I was so broke that $20 for a DVD was just not in the budget. Yes, I get it, I had the $600 computer to download shit on; except that I didn't buy that $600 computer, it was a gift, and I'd have had to have bought a DVD player and TV, neither of which fit into a budget that already doesn't have $20 of leeway, if I didn't have the computer. In fact, I'm almost certain I still have much of that content burned to discs somewhere, long forgotten and still likely to never be viewed. I don't count as lost sales for any of it, because I never had the budget to potentially count as a sale when I downloaded it, and I have no interest in the content today. If I do have interest in any of that content at some point in the future, I'll go snag the blu-ray (or whatever format is current at that time) so I'm not stuck with the sub-DVD-quality shit I downloaded in my teen years. That is to say, I'm still a potential sale for each and every piece of media I downloaded all those years ago and, in fact, have converted quite a few sales in the form of DVD purchases once my budget expanded a bit.
Yes, some people who could pay do pirate. Hell, even some of them would pay if they couldn't pirate. But, here's the thing: you can't count people who can't pay as lost sales because you can't squeeze money out of them that they don't have. And you can't count people who would never pay as lost sales because even if their only option was to buy, they wouldn't; they would simply go without. Those are two classes of people you're just never going to get a cent from, period, and they need to be ignored; they're not your customers and they're not worth your time. This applies to any industry, by the way, not just those governed by copyright.
The only potential for growth is people who would give you money but aren't, and targeting them directly is often not the wisest move. Especially in the case of the entertainment industry, adding all these warnings and DRM restrictions to legitimately purchased media. That shit only affects your paying customers, whose asses you should be kissing royally. And pursuing violators? If your profits are truly and really threatened by them, sure; if they're selling your product out from under you and they actually have the means, as a result of that, to pay out more than it will cost to pursue them, go for it. But spending more than you can reasonably recover to sue Joe Bloggs for sharing a copy of an album or movie? That just drives prices up and profits down; it hurts everybody, the person or entity being sued, the studio that won't recover the money from that lawsuit, and the paying customers who suffer higher prices as a result.
Concentrate on kissing the asses of your customers, make them exceedingly happy to have forked over their hard-earned money in your direction. This means no onerous warnings (that don't apply to them, as they bought the damn thing) on the media they've legally purchased, no draconian restrictions that prevent them from using the media for whatever noncommercial purpose they see fit, no forced content (ads, previews, and other preroll shit -- go ahead and include them as extras, but don't make me watch them), and, you know what? People will buy it in droves.
Will the lack of warnings increase the incidence of piracy? No, pirates don't see that shit anyway. Will the lack of DRM increase the incidence of piracy? Fuck no, DRM is usually broken before the media is officially released anyway. Will profits decline if you can't charge as much for ads because they're not a forced pre-roll? Maybe; per-unit margins will be slimmer, but I'm betting it would be made up for in volume as more people bother to buy the shit in the first place. And hell, pre-roll the ads before the previews (that people are likely to want to see exactly once) or extras (that they may watch multiple times), so there, you can still make the ads mandatory for at least a portion of the content; and it's content people paid for, so yes, they're gonna watch it.
Make your product better than the free option and people will pay for it. What a novel concept, no?
Will you capture the demographics who simply will not or can not buy? No. But you'll stop shedding numbers of those who do and will certainly capture most of those who would if the purchased product weren't inferior. It's a win for everyone: paying customers have a better experience, leading them to buy more, so the studio wins more sales while not wasting so much money on DRM bullshit and failed enforcement attempts, while the pirates also win by not having to battle the DRM. Really, nobody who's paying today would switch to piracy under that system; if they would, they'd already be pirating; but there's much potential for increased sales by just not being dicks.
They wouldn’t do it if they were sure to have access at any time provided they pay a fee.
That is to say they'd pay for it if there was a way to pay for instant access, right? At least, that's one interpretation of this comment; and it's the one I'm going to run with.
That's basically my point. I paid for the god damn thing, I'm holding it in my hand, I have the hardware to play it, and I demand instant access. Yet I can't have that.
If I truly want instant access, and not a dozen previews and ads followed by a menu with its own 2 minute intro before I can make a selection, followed by a 30 second outro before my selection is played, my only options are to pirate it (even after I've paid for it) or rip it, and the ripping costs me even more time and effort than sitting through all the bullshit for the 2 or 3 times I might watch it, so that's right out and piracy is right in. There's, of course, always abstinence, which is what I typically choose, which is what really costs the studios sales: my simply not buying and not watching, therefore not spreading word of my enjoyment of the experience, which would lead to more sales.
Really, the only part of the experience I can't complain about is the menu itself. The menu means there is additional content on the disc and serves as a method of accessing said content. While I'd prefer that the movie be on its own, separate, pop-in-and-play-immediately disc, which would both enable the instant access so many of us desire as well as higher quality because the movie isn't sharing space on that disc with the extras, ads, previews, and menu, I realize that there is an added cost to authoring, manufacturing, packaging, and shipping two discs, so whatever. Give me the menu immediately and make the ads and previews an additional "extra" in the menu. And hell, if you do split the extras off onto their own disc, make the movie auto-play, add a menu to select the audio track if you must, and I don't give two shits if you want to pre-roll a half hour of ads and previews on the extras disc; I'm only putting that disc in if I have time for that crap anyway. Just give me the movie watching experience I paid for and make everything else optional, or leave it out altogether.