Universal Pictures Tries To Beat Counterfeiters At Their Own Game In Russia

from the cheap-and-early dept

We've gone over the numerous ways that movie studios can compete against things like movie downloads, but what about counterfeit DVDs sold on the street? In many cases, these DVDs sell because there's really no alternative. That's why it seemed to make sense for studios to try releasing movies on DVD at the same time they're released in the theaters. However, Aaron deOliveira points us to a fascinating experiment by Universal Pictures over in Russia, where counterfeit DVDs are seen as a very big issue for the movie industry. Rather than sending out their own fake police force to rough up street vendors, they're actually competing by selling "Cheap'n'early DVDs". These are DVDs that come out much sooner (four weeks) after the movie is released, but the quality (and the price) are much lower. A few months later, the studio comes out with the full version of the DVD release -- much higher quality with lots of extras. In other words, the cheap and early DVDs are clearly just to compete against the counterfeit DVDs on the street. It's still not entirely clear why they need the separate release windows rather than just giving people a choice, but it does seem like an interesting experiment.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 7:26pm

    I wonder how these guys are doing...

     

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      OMG, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 8:41pm

      Re: I wonder how these guys are doing...

      "A DVD title will be sold for 22 yuan (US$2.65) or 28 yuan (US$3.37), depending on its content, while all two-disk VCD titles will be priced at 16 yuan (US$1.93). The release window will also be shortened, which means DVD/VCDs will be released in China more quickly; within eight to 12 weeks of the theatrical premiere in the United States. As Warner claims, the "better consumer experience" includes "world-class quality and enhanced content."

      So basically they're saying in addition to voice over, sub titles and a much shorter release window, prices will be 600% cheaper in China than in North America. WTF they're milking us silly or what. This is CRIMINAL and they dare sue the pants off regular Americans for using P2P to subvert their extortion?

       

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        AnarChaos, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 7:14am

        Re: suing Americans for using P2P

        Dood ~ ever look at your list of peers on your torrent/P2P client???

        Most of those IP address in the 81.x.x.x - 84.x.x.x range ARE in CHINA. The rest are North America, the UK, and most of Eastern Europe (not neccessarily in order)

        try this: http://www.arin.net/whois/index.html

         

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          Duh, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 7:36am

          Re: Re: suing Americans for using P2P

          "Dood ~ ever look at your list of peers on your torrent/P2P client???"

          That's exactly my point, dude. Why are entertainment cartels adjusting their prices and release windows to seduce Chinese consumers, but suing people downloading their 600% over priced content here? Could it be that they've taken control of laws, distribution channels and are able to freely price fix their products? Could it be that they aren't able to take such controls in other countries and thus are competing as they should?

           

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            AnarChaos, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 8:38am

            Re:Could it be that they aren't able to take such

            True enough and valid point. Still, International copyright and infringment laws still exist. Do foreign and domestic goverments turn a blind eye, just to get a piece of the pie?

            Will Interpol really show up at your door after repeated Emails from your ISP reporting downloading of copyrighted materials? Ten years and $250,000 in fines. Get real.

            Look at all the infringement lawsuits lately... Apple/iPod, Blackberry/RIM, etc... who actually gets hurt these days? the consumer - right in the wallet!!!

             

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 7:44pm

    but im sure the pirated versions will be cheaper and come out earlier.

    in soviet russia, torrent downloads you!

     

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    Shane C, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 11:57pm

    Separate release times

      It's still not entirely clear why they need the separate release windows rather than just giving people a choice, but it does seem like an interesting experiment.


    Separate release times are simple. The average consumer (no matter where he, or she is) will end up purchasing their DVDs twice.


    Looking back at the DVD releases of “The Lord Of The Rings.” How many people out there bought the initial release, the one DVD (I believe it was a single DVD) box that came out six months before the “four DVD box set?” I know I did, and a lot of other people.


    The studios realized from this marketing scheme that they could in essence “double dip” from the average consumer, thus significantly increasing their profits. When they did this, they also hit the used market hard (something they have tried to kill for years), because no one wanted the “single DVD” when you could get the “four box set for just a little bit more.” (alright about twice the price, but never the less, you get my point)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 1:11am

     

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    AnarChaos, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 4:47am

    Piracy

    Wow!! It seems like they're CONDONING piracy in Russia!!! Does that means that everyone can now forget the FBI and Interpol warning about reproduction and copyright??

    Hey, the way I see it is that antything on the 'Net should be free. I pay my ISP for the access to the Web, NOT for its content.

    Reminds me of my post yesterday about FREE wireless web cellphones - "If people want it bad enough, they WILL pay for it!!"

     

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      adoho, Apr 11th, 2006 @ 1:50am

      Re: Piracy

      I'm an American living in St. Petersburg, Russia, been here for 2 months now. The thing is, they can't stop piracy here. Vendors sell medium to high quality counterfeit DVDs in the metros and in shops all over town. They cost about $3-5 and they don't have extras. There are even multi-movie discs with 3, 4, 5 movies on them for $5, they just have the english removed and over-dubbed with russian, where as the single disc movies and both English and Russian. I even bought a screener of V for Vendetta from the major movie shop here for $3...

       

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    DWBjr, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 5:57am

    Separate Release Windows and Cheaper Prices

    I find it irritating that capitalism is undermined by theft and not met with the power of demand (or the withdrawal of it - boycott). The thought that we should be looking at prices in China, where piracy is out of control, and expect the Chinese people to think U.S. prices are acceptable because of that, is ridiculous. Every country is different, and basic consideration for the exchange rate aside, a lot of factors comprise the global econony. The way people wave around p2p like a boot on the throat of anyone selling content is dispicable.

    "Hey, if its not cheap enough, I'll steal it from you! That'll teach you a lesson!" Just don't buy the shit, people! It's like a drug-addict holding up his pusher, robbing him because his drugs are too "pricey", and thinking it'll all work out in the end. Dumb... dumb, dumb, dumb... dumb!

     

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      AnarChaos, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 6:45am

      Re: Separate Release Windows and Cheaper Prices

      Yes, I admit, I'm a web-junkie. But you don't see me going to Intenet Anonymous. I'd have to leave a cookie!!! =P

       

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      Duh, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 6:48am

      Re: Separate Release Windows and Cheaper Prices

      "Hey, if its not cheap enough, I'll steal it from you! That'll teach you a lesson!"

      Well it seems to be working, in China, doesn't it? Nothing wrong with capitalism, except when its out of control or rather has taken control of policy and free market competiton.

       

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      Vampares, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 6:49am

      Tin the head

      Wang Chung

       

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    Haiku, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 6:17am

    Not an original idea (again)

    Years ago it was possible to purchase counterfeit copies of technical manuals - at less than half of their price in the USA - in countries such as Taiwan.

    To counter the loss the publishers eventually published 'Taiwan-only' versions of the manuals, priced to undercut the pirates ...

     

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      AnarChaos, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 7:01am

      Re: 'Taiwan-only' versions

      Sounds like Microshaft has the right idea about releasing 6 different versions of Vista next year. How long will it take to pirate a WORKING copy of Vista???

      I was once unable to to locate a manual (lost while moving) for my fax machine, and the manufacturer said they would replace the copy - provided I paid for it. $15 bucks for a 22 page manual ~! I think not. After doing numerous Google searches, I was able to locate a .PDF for the manual - without paying for it.

      Whether its music, movies or software, someone WILL find a way to get it for free.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Re: 'Taiwan-only' versions

        They've had pirated versions of Vista for at least 6 months now.... You can find absolutelyanything on the web, just have to know where to look...

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 1:30pm

          Re: Re: Re: 'Taiwan-only' versions

          ^Yea I found tons of photos of his mom on the net.

           

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          AnarChaos, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 6:00pm

          Re: Pirated Vista

          Hmmm... the only versions I can find are BETA versions... I know cause my PC has triple boot - XP Pro, Fedora Core, and Vista Beta Build 51.x.x

           

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    nick botulism, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 11:13am

    the separate release windows make sense to me. after all it takes time to produce the extras, etc, for the full DVD. plus i'm sure a rough encode takes less effort than a decent transfer.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 11:44am

    don't you people have anything better to do?

    Just get on with your boring lives and stop worrying about china!

     

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    wiplost123, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 8:19pm

    Video Games

    I might buy a video game made like this that is not the demo.

     

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    Stephanie, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 3:25am

    Hope they win

    I messed up and hit the return buttton instead of the letter l so my comment was blank what I meant to say was I hope they win I would hate for the quality of movies to go down becuase they are not making any money!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 6:20am

    It was only a matter of time

     

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    tuna, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 7:19am

    I wait for the day when a Chinese or Russian company or government is in control of piece of intellectual property that is really desireable to everyone. Something people all over the world would pay as much for as they are paying for electricity or medicine. A working solution to piracy would be found immediately. Then everybody else who wants to really protect their software could copy that solution and move on with their business. Everybody who sees an advantage in having their software shared would not use it.
    That would prove or disprove once and for all the theories of what helps and what hurts IP business.

     

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      Shark, Apr 10th, 2006 @ 4:04am

      Re: I wait...

      "I wait for the day when a Chinese or Russian company or government is in control of piece of intellectual property that is really desireable to everyone."

      What you didn't know? The entire world is trying to screw former soviet states out of their desirable oil and before that it was their weopons aresenal. The hell with RIAA/MPAA monopoly billionaires, I hope they get it up the back with a long one.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 10:53am

    I will be happy when The RIAA, Motion Picture Assosiation all go bankruprt; The only people who will make our Entertainment will be people who really enjoy it and put out quality work, because there will be no way to shove it down our throuts.
    Maybe after that we will have access to our broadcast channels. As it stands we are locked out by big money.
    My biggest fear is that more and more regulations happen, and we all get locked oout of the internet. As I see it the internet should be free of legastation regarding content and use.
    And same goes for software...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 2:33pm

    I built a legastation once....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 4:36pm

    finaly they start doing something smart

     

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    legal buyer, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 6:06pm

    IT IS ALL ABOUT ACCESS stupid!

    Well it is about time that movie, film and software industry start to understand that there are people in ALL markets of the world that wants to buy their products. BUT quite often, like in Thailand, it is just not available. For 12 months I tried to buy a reasonably priced legal version of Photoshop CS, USD 600 in the US, US 900 in Bangkok. After many complicated calls to distributors I gave up and then on a trip to Singapore picked it up for USD 600, legal.
    Just walk into a store and buy it.
    It is all about access and these industries have not kept up with how fast the news spread about their products.
    Instead of investing all their money into legal fees they should spend it on marketing AND distribution.

     

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    elaine, Apr 10th, 2006 @ 2:11am

    If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!
    This is clearly the case in Russia wherein big firms in the movie industry though that competing with the illegal DVD copies in Russia would be more fruitful rather than seizing these fake goods. Let us just hope that this strategy would work.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2006 @ 2:41am

    It would work for a percentage of the population, but now all. Some people will still buy illegal copies especially when it's faster into market and cheaper. There strategy will get some profits instead of get zero.

     

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    Glen Pense, May 3rd, 2006 @ 12:03pm

    BEAT THE PIRATES

    Simple method, offer all the DVD movies the Pirates sell on the internet at a buck cheaper ($1.00) and run super disigned email offering your DVD;s for sale and the cheap price. Beat the clowns at their oun game. Hey a few bucks is better than nothing or letting the pirates get the money.

     

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    E P Ramos, Aug 8th, 2006 @ 7:44am

    Film Distributors "Pull a China" tactic

    As in the article studios can act like gangs protecting their "turf" namely the movie sales and beat up street vendors or sell Cheap N Early.
    They have chosen to beat the competition "to the punch" and drink the bowl dry no doubt!
    Studios can quality down all they have to and secondary market is GOOD...esp women will want the REAL movie version over the lower quality "outlaw style" version.
    Men would be just as happy with the "pirated style version except for the FEATURES and their ladies wanting the BEST for the second viewing! Absolutely BRILLIANT! And nobody gets their nose bloodied!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    E P Ramos, Aug 8th, 2006 @ 2:56pm

    Film Distributors "Pull a China" tactic

    As in the article studios can act like gangs protecting their "turf" namely the movie sales and beat up street vendors or sell Cheap N Early.
    They have chosen to beat the competition "to the punch" and drink the bowl dry no doubt!
    Studios can quality down all they have to and secondary market is GOOD...esp women will want the REAL movie version over the lower quality "outlaw style" version.
    Men would be just as happy with the "pirated style version except for the FEATURES and their ladies wanting the BEST for the second viewing! Absolutely BRILLIANT! And nobody gets their nose bloodied!

     

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    adam, Aug 23rd, 2006 @ 6:31am

    PIRACY AT ITS FINEST

    Piracy at it's finest! I have come across a guy that work at a movie theater gets paid minimum wage. I showed him the best way to receive the best picture. You know those little boxes that are available for transfering your 8mm film projector movies where you just put the progector up to the box and walla you got a little screen. Then you get a high quality color cammera. just like the ones you use for security. Place the cammera to the box hole where you see cammera. Hook the cam to the video input on your dvd recorder. Hey whatta ya know it looks like universal done this hehehe this is high quality!! Well another trick of the piracy trade revealled. have a nice day!

     

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    chiya, Apr 22nd, 2007 @ 2:07am

    bessnit

     

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