Fox Makes 24 DVDs Available As Soon As The Season Ends

from the about-time... dept

I have to admit that, for all the insistence from movie industry folks about the importance of "windows" between releases in different formats, it's never made any sense to me that movies aren't released in multiple formats at the same time. In fact, I still can't figure out why the movie studios don't have DVDs of the movie you just saw for sale as you walk out of the theater. Offer up the DVDs with a discount if you have a ticket from the showing, and if the movie was really good, the DVD has lots of extras, and the price is reasonable, plenty of people would buy it right up -- rather than needing to remember months later. So consider me surprised and impressed that Fox made sure that the DVD for the latest season of the show 24 was available the day after the season ended. It's not quite the same as having DVDs of movies available, but it's close. Of course, the studio also decided not to do much marketing for the DVD release, fearing that people wouldn't watch the finale if they knew they could buy it on DVD the next day. Of course, they could also just record it with their DVR, but who's counting?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Windowslogy, May 22nd, 2009 @ 1:28am

    Mike, the movie studios won't sell DVDs of the current movies the studios are showing simply because they think they can make more money than they can by selling DVDs, at least, when the movies are still new. Besides, people can copy DVDs easily and usually share the copies among friends. And that is not good for the movie studios.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 1:34am

    I used to like 24, but decided to go a different direction when I started reading about how easily fiction can become nonfiction. I won't support 24. Fox and Murdoch will eventually go the same route of the 1983 movie "Wargames": They are the Metro Goldwyn Mayer of this age.

    To Murdoch: Cash out, and get some real estate in Las Vegas to setup a Casino. Call it "24" and you may have a winner.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 2:11am

    Wow you are incredibly naive if you think DVD's should be sold right after theater viewing. If this was done, movies would immediately show up at dvd quality on the internet for download (torrents), and piracy would be even more rampant. At least now illegal downloaders have to deal with poor cam quality unless a screener is leaked. If filmmakers want to go straight to dvd that has long been an option, but obviously not as lucrative or else they would be doing that to maximize profits..

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Paul Renault, May 22nd, 2009 @ 2:33am

    Maybe they're pushed to do so by the 'Mercan government, so all the 'tards can keep touting Ticking Time-bomb Torture (tm) as an effective tool in the War Against Terrorism (tm).

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    MadJo (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 2:54am

    Re:

    But the six (or so) month-window between end-of-life in the cinema and the dvd-release makes even less sense. But I guess it has to do with antiquated license-agreements with pay-per-view channels.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 3:10am

    Let's give 'em what they want....

    Cheney PR!
    Cheney PR!

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 3:18am

    Re:

    Wow you are incredibly naive if you think DVD's should be sold right after theater viewing. If this was done, movies would immediately show up at dvd quality on the internet for download (torrents), and piracy would be even more rampant.

    Um. They already do appear in DVD quality online.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 3:35am

    Re:

    Sure, and I agree with you, Coward. However, this is a story about a fictional television series.

    As others have pointed out, the series also has a political slant to it. However, I wouldn't be surprised if there existed political motivations (being a FOX production, which happens to be a member of CFR) could have pushed it to DVD quickly if the proper motivations were applied.

    But yes, in a normal world, your absolutely correct.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 3:47am

    Mike, there is a huge difference between TV shows and movies.

    Movies have a life in the theater. They can run weeks or even a couple of months for some movies, continuing to pull in good crowds, including some people coming back to watch for a second time.

    Simple marketing: If I see a good movie, I tell some of my friends, and they go to see it at the theater.

    Stupid marketing: If I see a good movie, I buy the DVD on the way out and "lend" it to my friends, who enjoy the DVD.

    What you are saying is that the movie makers should cut their own marketing off at the knees to satisfy your desires. This is one of those places where you prove yourself not the brightest marketer. You are unable to see past your own desires.

    As for 24, it is a TV who's uniqueness dies the second the season ends. 24 doesn't go into re-runs in the summer, it's a one and done series, so putting the DVD out right away is good marketing. If they waited six months, they might be overlapping their own next season.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 3:50am

    Re: Re:

    Mike,

    He's talking about Film, not Television. To quote a well known author, Reading Comprehension is a great thing. Read the original comment again and let's talk.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    PRMan, May 22nd, 2009 @ 3:56am

    DVR the next day

    I don't know if you caught the news, Mike, but Nielsen ratings now include DVR recordings watched for up to 3 days after the show as well.

    I was part of the pilot program for this when I still had a TiVo with DirecTV. Now that I have a DirecTV DVR, I'm not sure whether I am still part of it or not, to be honest.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 4:17am

    Re: DVR the next day

    Do you have a Turtle Beach based DVR?
    If It's HD, then PRMan, yes, you are a user of TB.

    Did you like the TiVo better? If so, why not call 1-800-DIRECTV and ask them when the HD TiVo will be available. It was supposed to be available in February but someone caved in and John Malone didn't make it a higher priority. Next time I'm in Colorado, that man may find a flaming bag of poo on his doorstep for promising and not delivering.

    Charie Ergen always outsources to the lowest bidder. Let him. Quality will reign.

     

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

  13.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 4:51am

    Re:

    You talk about marketing, but you forget there are a great many different markets. For example:

    1. People who will always go to the cinema.
    2. People who will go to the cinema, but only to see movies recommended by friends.
    3. People who rarely go to the cinema and prefer to wait for the DVD (or suitable rip).
    4. People who *never* go to the cinema, regardless of what's playing.

    How does forcing customers to wait for 6 months help market to group #4? You also make the same unfounded, stupid assumptions that the studios do:

    Assumption 1: Everyone who wants to watch a movie will do so at the cinema if the DVD isn't available.

    Assumption 2: Nobody who watches a DVD at home will ever go to the cinema to watch the same movie.

    Assumption 3: Everyone who wants to watch the movie theatrically will do so if enough time is left between the theatrical and DVD releases.

    None of these assumptions are valid, and pandering to them actually misses out a large section of the potential audience as listed above. It only drives those who will not / can not go to the cinema (e.g. high costs of the cinema trip including child care and snacks for parents, people who despise gangs of chattering teens on their phones during the movie, etc.) to seek out alternatives (piracy) or simply not bother with the movie.

    "If they waited six months, they might be overlapping their own next season."

    Except, there IS traditionally a wait between the end of a season and the release of the DVD. For example, the final episode of season 6 of 24 was broadcast on the 21st May 2007. The DVD was released on December 4th - MORE than 6 months! (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24_(season_6) )

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 4:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    ...and DVD quality leaks of movies are often available within a week of the theatrical debut of a movie, if not before. This goes double if you're outside the US and are forced to wait an arbitrary length of time before the local theatrical release (sometimes even until after the official US DVD is available for import).

    Your point?

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 5:29am

    Re: Re:

    I watched 24, on DVD, starting in the Feb of 07. From Feb thru June I completed the entire first five seasons. When I found out Season 6 wouldn't be available until December, I did what most people do. I got them from an alternate source. In my case, a friend of a friend had just gotten a computer with DVR capabilities and had recorded and edited all of season 6 onto DVD, sans commercials. I was able to watch all of season 6, and avoided giving a single penny to the studio, whether thru DVD sales/rentals or watching any of the commercials. Way to go Fox.

    Needless to say, I was amazed to see the commercial during the season finale of 24. Hopefully, it is the start of a trend. Maybe, just maybe, someone gets it. But I doubt it. Some suit somewhere at Fox will find a statistic backing up their claim that releasing the DVD immediately hurt the bottom line somehow. Just wait ...

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks for the info. But I wonder what point needs to be re-made in this context? You're absolutely correct.

    I apologize PaulT if you took this as offensive towards Mike, as it's intent wasn't such. I think he just misread something which maybe was amplified in his own mind. OF COURSE Mike won't directly address me again for another year (as that's his usual cycle) but was fully expected by myself, seeing as though I was correcting the owner of a blog who likes 24...

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    JohnForDummies (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 5:41am

    Having DVD's for sell at the theater would be exactly like going to a concert and buying a CD as you leave. Your adrenaline is still pumping, you're like, "WOW! That was the greatest ever!" And you're more willing to part with your money to take a little bit of it home with you, just to keep the feeling going.

    By the time a movie is on DVD, I've had time to reflect and think, "Yeah, it was good... but was it another $20 good? I mean, it'll be on Starz in a few more months, or I'll just add it to my Netflix queue."

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Mechwarrior, May 22nd, 2009 @ 5:51am

    Re:

    As opposed to showing up weeks before the movie premieres?

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Common Sense, May 22nd, 2009 @ 6:54am

    Re:

    Logic would tell us otherwise. If you see a good movie, and you tell some of your friends, they will go see it in a theater if they want to. If they don't want to go to the theater, they'll download it or wait for it to come out. If you lend them the DVD that you bought on your way out, THE SAME THING WOULD HAPPEN. They'd either like it enough to go see it in the theater (for the experience or whatever...) maybe even grabbing their own DVD, or they wouldn't (so they'd find other ways to get it, or avoid it completely...) Case in point, Wolverine was leaked and got some bad reviews. I personally don't spend money going to the theater unless it's going to be awesome, which isn't the impression I got from Wolverine's reviews. I have two friends who BOTH would NOT go anywhere near the leaked version so that they could see it in the theater and get the full experience.

    Sometimes, I think the movie industry forgets that there are a lot of people out there that simply do not like going to the movie theaters. These are the people who forget what good movies came out that they wanted to see during that 6 month "window" and frequently end up waiting until it's on television or a friend buys it anyway... I speak from experience.

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, you seemed to be suggesting that Mike's comments about the gap between theatrical and DVD releases were irrelevant because the subject of the original AC's post was movies, not TV. You then attacked him for a lack of reading comprehension, even though the comments are equally applicable to TV or movies. I simply pointed this out.

    I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

    (btw, these discussions are easier if everyone provides some kind of identifier rather than having 10 ACs in each thread...)

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    tubes, May 22nd, 2009 @ 7:13am

    Re: Re: DVR the next day

    My understanding since the press release that Tivo & DTV was joining forces again they said the HD Tivo's would be released in 2nd half of 2009.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re:

    paul, not really, your assumptions are horribly biased to your opinion.

    Assumption 1: Not so - but if the DVD is widely available, there is potential that less people will see the movie in the theater.

    Assumption 2: Not so - but the vast majority of people who have seen a movie on DVD wouldn't pay to see it again in a theater.

    Assumption 3: Not so - but again, see assumption 1 - if you put the DVD out there right away, you may take some movie goers away and turn them into home viewers.


    Home viewers and theater viewers are different markets, not the same. However, there are plenty of people who are in both groups. There are plenty of movies I wouldn't pay to see in a theater, but I would see it on DVD for the cost of renting it. There are some movies I see in the theater that I buy the DVD for because I know I will enjoy watching the movie again in the future.

    The delay time is also marketing, in many senses. I am less likely to buy a DVD today for a movie I saw last night, but 6 months from now, I might be "wow, I would like to see that one again" and buy or rent the DVD to enjoy the movie all over again.

    In the end, it is about revenue. The studios / networks / content producers market their products to get the most revenue from those products over their lifetime, not in a single week or day.

    If you make the movie available on DVD, PPV, rental and Theaters on the same day, you are forcing the public to choose a deliver method for their viewing of the product. By staggering the delivery, there potential is that they will choose more than one delivery method (in the theaters to see it, and then maybe renting it on PPV 6 months later when friends are over, or maybe buying the DVD for their collection). Why turns 2 or 3 potential sales into 1?

    marketing. It's all about selling the product as often as you can, for the most money possible at each point.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 7:51am

    Re:

    Since you can get DVD quality rips of a movie before it hits theaters your comment makes no sense. The real issue would be buying the DVD then showing the DVD to your friends instead of bringing your friends to the movie. Perhaps if the movie theaters gave you a coupon for the DVD or BluRay (probably bluray since they want to push that stuff) to buy later down the movie later might push people to go to the movie theaters and people can't hold on to little pieces of paper all that long so they'll lose the coupons so the movie companies still win.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold's former #5 fan, May 22nd, 2009 @ 8:18am

    It actually makes sense for 24 - I know several people who refused to watch it this season because they couldn't stand to wait a full week between episodes. They'd rather wait for the DVD's to come out and go on a 2-day 24 binge and watch it all at once (without the commercials).

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    rjk, May 22nd, 2009 @ 8:27am

    paul, not really, your assumptions are horribly biased to your opinion.

    as are yours.


    In general, there seems to be a staggering lack of research/evidence to back up some basic claims people make about some of these issues.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Korrosive, May 22nd, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If the theater commands a premium (ticket prices, concession prices), then they should not have a problem competing with other delivery methods. I think (like it's been discussed before) they do not offer the better experience and thus need to artificially create a temporary monopoly so as to continue to exist.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 10:00am

    Re:

    I have watched every episode and that is what the show is all about. Damn right winged agenda show! With having black/women presidents, gay couples, social policies and all that other right winged nutty stuff.
    Watch the show if you really want to know what it is about.

     

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

  28.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hmmm... so, you attack me for questioning your assumptions with another group of biased assumptions? Interesting...

    "Assumption 1: Not so - but if the DVD is widely available, there is potential that less people will see the movie in the theater."

    There is also potential that many more people will buy it while the hype is at its peak rather than months later. It's foolish to assume that the potential theatrical audience outweighs the DVD market, especially in a climate where "piracy" from those forced to wait is supposedly such a big issue.

    "Assumption 2: Not so - but the vast majority of people who have seen a movie on DVD wouldn't pay to see it again in a theater."

    ...and many would, especially as they know the movie's good and would be enhanced by the theatrical experience. No, people might not go to watch a movie that they hated a second time, but a great movie in 3D, in comfortable seats and a massive soundsystem? Maybe.

    "Assumption 3: Not so - but again, see assumption 1 - if you put the DVD out there right away, you may take some movie goers away and turn them into home viewers."

    Again, MAY do so. You also MAY sell the DVD to people who would not have bothered 6 months later. It's hard to come up with hard stats with this kind of thing, but you are only assuming something that matches *your* own biases and leaves out a huge potential audience.

    "The delay time is also marketing"

    Indeed. What is marketing? The action of trying to get someone to want to buy your product. As an example of how it's a waste of time doing this several times, I currently want to watch the new Sam Raimi horror movie Drag Me To Hell. However, I'm unlikely for various personal reasons to make it to the cinema over the next few weeks.

    If I was allowed to buy the DVD or even a reasonably-priced download right now, I'd do so and no sale would be lost. In fact, if I really enjoy it, I could recommend it to friends and maybe they'd watch it at the cinema. However, because of marketing, I'm not allowed to. This leaves me 2 options: wait or pirate. If I wait, there might be movies I'm more interested in at the time of the DVD release and I might not pick up the DVD until it's in a bargain bin (far less profit for the studio).

    You're assuming that the lost revenue from myself is made up from others. I say that's unlikely, or at least a highly flawed assumption.

    "I am less likely to buy a DVD today for a movie I saw last night"

    Really? Our opinions differ. I'm sure that many millions of copies of The Dark Knight, for example, would have shifted in theaters if they had been available. More than have shifted now? I don't know, but I'd say it's unlikely to have been less. I dare say that DVD sales would increase, just as I've always maintained that being able to buy the book or soundtrack of a movie would be a sensible and lucrative addition ot a cinema's lobby, if the prices were right.

    "By staggering the delivery, there potential is that they will choose more than one delivery method"

    On the other hand, you're also increasing the possibility that people won't bother. Maybe they would have bought the DVD, but 6 months later decide not to bother and just add it to their Netflix queue. Maybe they just decided to download a pirate copy instead.

    "Why turns 2 or 3 potential sales into 1?"

    Why turn a potential 1 or 2 sale into 0? Again, you're assuming that the theatrical audience and home audience are the same, and they're often not. Those "pirates"? Merely potential customers whose needs are not being met in the hopes that their peers can be leeched several times for the same movie. Why not expand the potential initial customer base by including those who don't go to the cinema?

    Just as Netflix, cable and iTunes don't necessarily steal sales revenue from the DVD market, there should be nothing wrong with allowing the customer to choose what's right for them. If placing artificial restrictions on your customer base is the only way you have of selling a product (in this case, the theatrical experience), maybe you should examine what's making that product so worthless in a free market...

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    anymouse, May 22nd, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    Buw why didn't they release 25 or 30 dvd's???? how come only 24?

    You know what they say about assumptions, everyone's got one and they usually stink...

    So few shills, so much internet out there, how do they get around so quickly?

    I won't be surprised when it turns out that the leaked 'working print' of Wolverine was actually a test case by the studio to see what would happen if a 'near' finished movie gets released before the final version hits theaters (lets suspend reality and ignore the fact that 99% of movies are available in some form, usually torrents, before release, and people still go see them in theaters). I wouldn't be surprised if the movie does better than expected due to the early release of the working print (of course the studios will claim otherwise and complain about how pirates destroyed their profit).

    I'm adding some copper foil to my hat today, it adds a splash of color to the otherwise dull tinfoil.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: DVR the next day

    It was pushed back from the original press release put out in Jul 2008 that indicated a Feb 2009 release date. I don't have a link to the original press release. Sorry.

    But you can make it happen, Tubes! Call 1-800-DIRECTV and ask to leave a message for John Malone requesting him to call you when the HD TIVO comes to market. He *will* unlike that Charlie guy!

    DirecTV is #1 in Customer Satisfaction, 6 years running, and the gap between them and the unfortunate #2 keeps growing!

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    B, May 22nd, 2009 @ 1:09pm

    Re:

    I've actually heard the contrary to your first point (about money from DVDs).

    Kevin Smith talks about DVD releases in his second Q&A thing (An Evening With Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder) and how basically the theatrical release becomes a sales pitch for buying the DVD. Now, that might not work for all movies... especially since Kevin Smith movies tend to have really good DVD sales... but it's worth pointing out.

    As for your second concern... meh? I didn't think DVD piracy was that big a deal in the US. If someone's going to steal a movie, it's a lot easier to go to the pirate bay.

     

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

  32.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    He's talking about Film, not Television. To quote a well known author, Reading Comprehension is a great thing. Read the original comment again and let's talk.

    I was talking about film as well. Read my comment and let's talk again.

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 22nd, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Heh. I'm just going to say that my answer to the original post would be pretty much exactly as PaulT answered it. Great comments, Paul.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    JakeNoob, May 22nd, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    Quality, quality, quality

    I would have absolutely bought the DVD of Star Trek on the way out of the theater. It was a great experience and if I could've I would have watched it again that night. I think one point everyone keeps missing is the matter of product quality. What do Hollywood, the Recording Industry and the American Car Industry have in common? There all in trouble because of lousy sales. It's not the fault of piracy, unions, taxes, or whatever else the corporate flaks like to blame. It's because of lousy product. Great product markets itself.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Gary, May 22nd, 2009 @ 5:29pm

    Is there a non-shaking camera version of 24 available?

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2009 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Paul, all nice answers, but again, you are making what I consider a classical marketing mistake: Bending over a dollar to pick up a dime. It's what makes the whole Web 2.0 revolution such a laugh at times.

    "Again, you're assuming that the theatrical audience and home audience are the same, and they're often not. Those "pirates"? Merely potential customers whose needs are not being met in the hopes that their peers can be leeched several times for the same movie. Why not expand the potential initial customer base by including those who don't go to the cinema?"

    People who are going to leech a copy from the internet isn't a buyer anyway. If running a P2P program for 2 days to watch a shaky, hand held camera copy of a movie is all that these people need, they certainly aren't buying. Handing a copy of the DVD to movie goers as they leave would just mean that there would be digitally perfect copies of the current movies online getting leeched perfectly, leading to even more people NOT paying for a movie ticket, and NOT buying a DVD. So in order to pick up the dime (selling a DVD at the movie house) you bend over the dollar (selling movie tickets and DVDs over time).

    Yes, it would satisfy some paying customers, but it would likely do an even better job of satisfying a group of potential paying customers who would quickly become non-paying customers. Even in simple terms, why go see a movie at $10 a head when you can get the DVD for $20 right now and watch it with 10 friends at your house? Heck, if you can leech it off the net for free, why bother even paying the $20 for the DVD?

    "I'm sure that many millions of copies of The Dark Knight, for example, would have shifted in theaters if they had been available. More than have shifted now? I don't know, but I'd say it's unlikely to have been less"

    But here is the key: How many fewer people would have seen the movie in Theaters (which is the big end of the income stream)?

    Think about it this way: A movie ticket is $10, and a DVD is $20. A movie ticket is good for one person, a DVD can be played over and over. Say on average 5 people watch a DVD (household plus 1 friend). Your per head income is now $4. Every DVD sold would be like killing 5 ticket sales. So you go from $50 income (5 heads) to $20 income (one DVD, 5 heads watching). You have to sell 2.5 times more DVDs to make up for what is lost. It's downcoverting a sale from a higher value and higher profit point to a lower profit point, which is horrible marketing, no matter how much it makes some people happy.

    By selling DVDs after the movie is no longer in the theaters means that not only can you sell it to those people who didn't pay a ticket, but there is potential that those who paid for a ticket will also buy it. You have increased you potential DVD income, and you haven't harmed your theater sales.

    "Just as Netflix, cable and iTunes don't necessarily steal sales revenue from the DVD market, there should be nothing wrong with allowing the customer to choose what's right for them"

    Within reason. It's just normal marketing, you offer your products up at a time and place where the price point and public demand meet. You don't want to go into the marketplace with a lower price point than needed to make the sale, and you don't want to cannibalize high profit sales by pushing those customers onto a lower profit option if you don't need to. Why shoot yourself in the foot?

    Again, are there significantly less DVD sales as a result of not offering the DVD right away while the movie is still in theaters? Probably a few, but the potential costs to the theater boxoffice take isn't worth the risk, now is it?

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 24th, 2009 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Paul, all nice answers, but again, you are making what I consider a classical marketing mistake: Bending over a dollar to pick up a dime. It's what makes the whole Web 2.0 revolution such a laugh at times.

    I'd argue it's the opposite. These are models that involve giving up a penny today in order to get $100 tomorrow. If you can't understand NPV then I can see why this is confusing. But if you look closely you realize the opportunity is much greater.

    Handing a copy of the DVD to movie goers as they leave would just mean that there would be digitally perfect copies of the current movies online getting leeched perfectly

    You're assuming two things, both of which are likely to be incorrect:

    (1) That such perfect digital copies aren't already online. They are. So it doesn't make a difference if the DVDs are available. They have no impact.

    (2) That if you can download the movie it means fewer people will go to the movies. The two things are rarely substitutes. Just as you still go out to eat dinner sometimes rather than eating at home, even though it's more expensive to eat out. You enjoy the better experience. Same with the movies.

    So in order to pick up the dime (selling a DVD at the movie house) you bend over the dollar (selling movie tickets and DVDs over time).

    Wrong wrong wrong. So very wrong. You're giving up the penny (a small set of DVD sales down the road) to get $100 today (a lot more people both going to the movie AND buying the DVD).

    Even in simple terms, why go see a movie at $10 a head when you can get the DVD for $20 right now and watch it with 10 friends at your house? Heck, if you can leech it off the net for free, why bother even paying the $20 for the DVD?

    And yet people do. All the time. Because of the EXPERIENCE of seeing the film in the theaters. The last Star Wars film leaked a few days early.... and was a HUGE box office success, despite the fact that many people downloaded the perfect digital copy for free the night before. But people still wanted the experience.

    If you think people are just buying the content, you have no clue about the movie business.

    Think about it this way: A movie ticket is $10, and a DVD is $20. A movie ticket is good for one person, a DVD can be played over and over. Say on average 5 people watch a DVD (household plus 1 friend). Your per head income is now $4. Every DVD sold would be like killing 5 ticket sales.

    Again, you are making a bunch of assumptions that haven't proven true in the past. Why should they suddenly start proving true now?

    You are falsely assuming lost movie ticket sales, when those are not at all likely to be the case, and you ignoring the INCREASED movie ticket sales from people realizing they get extra benefits for going to the movie (get the DVD cheaper).

    By selling DVDs after the movie is no longer in the theaters means that not only can you sell it to those people who didn't pay a ticket, but there is potential that those who paid for a ticket will also buy it. You have increased you potential DVD income, and you haven't harmed your theater sales.

    Again, you're making a bunch of bad assumptions that we haven't seen to be true at all.

    In waiting for the DVD to be released months later, you've lost all the benefit of the multi-million marketing campaign that came out with the movie. People now need to remember that the movie is out on DVD, so the number of DVDs sold are reduced by a large amount. You also lose the sales from folks who saw the movie and thought they wanted to see it again, but over the months they had to wait gave up on it. You end up losing both movie ticket sales (fewer reasons to go to the movies) and DVD sales.

    You don't want to go into the marketplace with a lower price point than needed to make the sale, and you don't want to cannibalize high profit sales by pushing those customers onto a lower profit option if you don't need to. Why shoot yourself in the foot?

    Marketing 101. If you don't cannibalize your own product that way, someone else will. THen you look like a lame follower. Why not lead the pack?


    Again, are there significantly less DVD sales as a result of not offering the DVD right away while the movie is still in theaters? Probably a few, but the potential costs to the theater boxoffice take isn't worth the risk, now is it?

    I'd argue the exact opposite. Releasing the DVDs at the same time as the movie does a few things: it gives people MORE REASONS to go to the theater to see the DVD, and MORE REASONS to buy the DVD and MORE MARKETING around the DVD as well. You increase sales of both.

    I can't fathom the reasoning in the other direction. Offering customers less? That's never a good marketing strategy.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2009 @ 7:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike, a nice long story, backed up with NOTHING.

    "So very wrong. You're giving up the penny (a small set of DVD sales down the road) to get $100 today (a lot more people both going to the movie AND buying the DVD)."

    This is the crux of your arguments, and for a guy that keeps pushing "first year economics", you really just don't get it.

    There is no $100 today. That is a massive lie. Where would you find $100 today? Ticket to the movie is $10, the DVD is $20. Where is the $100? Nowhere. Exaggeration to try to make your point look valid?

    You have no proof (not the slightest) that people attending a movie would buy a copy of the movie on the way out. This isn't music, which typically has a high replay value, but a movie, who's replay value is often lost at least in the short term by knowing the ending.

    Most importantly you are ignoring cannibalization of ticket sales, which is hugely important. If the movie is available in various forms day 1, the producers would be trading the highest margin ticket (theaters) to the lower margin ticket (PPV distribution) and everything in between. Only in theaters can they get a full $10 for each person watching. All other methods are lower income streams. They may have a slightly longer income life, but they aren't as high net results.

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button sold 51 million in tickets it's first week. It has sold 24 million in DVD's it's first week. The difference? The 51 million is almost all topline revenue to the studio, where the 24 million in retail DVD sales might only mean $10 million. Cashwise, it's about a 5 to 1 business. So if you sold 20% more DVDs (because you sold them the same time the movie came out) but you lost 20% of your theater attendance, net the studios lost money on the deal.

    How? 30 million in DVD sales might still only mean $12-$14 million to the studios. 20% less ticket sales on the other side would drop that to 41 million. Net to the studios would be 53-55 million, where as the other way they get 75 million. There are very few investments where you can make 50% on your money in 6 months. You are suggesting they should take 50 or so million now, rather than taking net 75 over 6 months. How odd! I must have missed that part of the economics class, giving your bottom line a haircut.

    "I'd argue the exact opposite. Releasing the DVDs at the same time as the movie does a few things: it gives people MORE REASONS to go to the theater to see the DVD, and MORE REASONS to buy the DVD and MORE MARKETING around the DVD as well. You increase sales of both."

    You would argue it, but without anything to support the argument. Why would people go to the theater to see a DVD? They would just go to Bestbuy or online to Amazon and buy it. Restrictively selling it only to ticket holders inside the theater would likely create a black market of people buying and reselling the DVDs, being the only rental play on the block that has the movie, whatever. If you release the DVD, you have to widely release it - and you also have to release it through all the other channels as well as to not harm those revenue streams.

    More than anything Mike, this is all a very amusing argument from you. You are suggesting the movie people need to sell more shiny discs (how odd coming from you), and you also want them to take less net revenue from their movies to meet your desires.

    it isn't offering the customers less. In fact, it is offering customers significantly more. instead of offering a cluster of overlapping, mutually exclusive experiences, the studios offer a significant number of ways to enjoy a movie, and in many cases, to enjoy that movie again. The theater experience, the DVD "take it home" experience, the PPV experience, the "on the airplane" experience, the rental experience, and so on. Making all of those options available at the same time would APPEAR to be offering more, but in fact you are offering less because you are asking the customer to choose one. The current system allows them to choose more than one option over time.

    Too many choices? http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun04/toomany.html

    As a side note, the too many choices problem is also why the DYI flat model of the music industry you are pushing isn't exactly workable. People tune out.

    Again, nice try Mike, but at least you have the nuts to admit that your entire spiel is based on "I think". Too bad you will like to this post later on as if it is truth.

     

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

  39.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 25th, 2009 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is no $100 today. That is a massive lie. Where would you find $100 today?

    I said $100 tomorrow... and I wasn't talking literally $100. You said giving up analog dollars for digital dimes, and I was explaining that the opposite is true and the order of magnitude is greater. If you must reinterpret what I said, at least get the facts right.

    You have no proof (not the slightest) that people attending a movie would buy a copy of the movie on the way out.

    Other than all the people saying they would love it? Yeah, no proof at all.

    The great thing here is that a studio could easily try this and see what happens.

    Most importantly you are ignoring cannibalization of ticket sales, which is hugely important.

    No, not ignoring it at all. In fact, I addressed it in my response. If you can't read, I can't help you, but there is no cannibalization of ticket sales, because you're giving more people a reason to go to the theater.

    Only in theaters can they get a full $10 for each person watching. All other methods are lower income streams. They may have a slightly longer income life, but they aren't as high net results.

    Someone doesn't understand economics. We're talking about ways to get MORE PEOPLE TO GO TO THE THEATER. This is about the opposite of cannibalization.

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button sold 51 million in tickets it's first week. It has sold 24 million in DVD's it's first week. The difference? The 51 million is almost all topline revenue to the studio, where the 24 million in retail DVD sales might only mean $10 million. Cashwise, it's about a 5 to 1 business. So if you sold 20% more DVDs (because you sold them the same time the movie came out) but you lost 20% of your theater attendance, net the studios lost money on the deal.

    Or you would actually increase both. More people have a reason to go see the movie in the theater AND more people are interested in buying the DVD, increasing sales of BOTH.

    Why would people go to the theater to see a DVD? They would just go to Bestbuy or online to Amazon and buy it.

    I see. You never eat out at restaurants then? Do you not know why people go to the theater? They go for the social experience, not just the content. If the theaters and the studios gave people more reasons to go, they would spend willingly. I'm talking about giving them more reasons to go to the theater.

    Why would people go to the theater to see a DVD? They would just go to Bestbuy or online to Amazon and buy it.

    Indeed. Why would you want to limit it? But you can offer discounts to those who go to the theaters to buy it.

    More than anything Mike, this is all a very amusing argument from you. You are suggesting the movie people need to sell more shiny discs (how odd coming from you), and you also want them to take less net revenue from their movies to meet your desires.

    Why wouldn't I want them to sell shiny discs? That's a scarcity. If they can sell it, great. But I want them to make MORE net revenue because they'd be giving people MORE REASONS to go see it in the theater.

    You seem to believe (totally incorrectly) that the number of people who go see movies in the theater now is the maximum number of folks who will go see movies. You are so wrong it's not even funny.


    it isn't offering the customers less. In fact, it is offering customers significantly more. instead of offering a cluster of overlapping, mutually exclusive experiences, the studios offer a significant number of ways to enjoy a movie, and in many cases, to enjoy that movie again. The theater experience, the DVD "take it home" experience, the PPV experience, the "on the airplane" experience, the rental experience, and so on. Making all of those options available at the same time would APPEAR to be offering more, but in fact you are offering less because you are asking the customer to choose one. The current system allows them to choose more than one option over time.


    By that reasoning, you are saying: "movie customers are too stupid to pick how they want to see a film." You'll find that, in business, treating your customers as stupid is unlikely to build up much business.

    Too many choices? http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun04/toomany.html

    Hahahhah. Next time try reading the study and understanding what it actually means before pointing everyone to a report that supports my point, not yours.

    You seem to have read that, incorrectly, to mean any choice is bad. But it's not what it says at all.

    You also don't seem to realize that what I'm suggesting now isn't a different number of choices, it's the same. It's just that the calculus is different. The number of options is exactly the same, but now I'm making it EASIER, but taking away the TIME element of the system you prefer. So I'm DECREASING that confusion, while you prefer it to be increased.


    Again, nice try Mike, but at least you have the nuts to admit that your entire spiel is based on "I think". Too bad you will like to this post later on as if it is truth.


    No, not based on "I think" at all. That would be incredibly lame. It's based on the compiled research and historical evidence of over 100 different economic studies.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Again, a nice collection of unsupported answers.

    "No, not ignoring it at all. In fact, I addressed it in my response. If you can't read, I can't help you, but there is no cannibalization of ticket sales, because you're giving more people a reason to go to the theater."

    Again, this is based on your feelings, and not much else.

    What extra reason are you giving people to go to the theater for? People who are DVD viewers aren't going for a whole pile of reasons, most of which have to do with the cost / benefit ratio. How often have you heard "I wouldn't spend $10 on that!"? So now you expect them to pay $30 to see the movie AND take home a copy? The logic just doesn't follow.

    What is more likely? DVD viewers suddenly get the urge to spend more money to see a movie and get a DVD copy, or that they ask someone they know who is going to pick them up a copy of the DVD so they can watch it later with their friends and family?

    Just as importantly, what do the movie companies tell the retailers, the rental businesses, the PPV networks, etc? Pound sand for 6 months while we sell this DVD in the theater and wipe out your potential business?

    You just don't seem to be thinking past the end of your nose. Once again, you are caught up in the absolutely unproven theories that killing an existing business will suddenly create money for nothing somewhere else. You have no real proof. You are hinging this entirely on your feelings, not much more (please show actual supporting evidence otherwise, I haven't seen any here).

    "You also don't seem to realize that what I'm suggesting now isn't a different number of choices, it's the same. It's just that the calculus is different. The number of options is exactly the same, but now I'm making it EASIER, but taking away the TIME element of the system you prefer. So I'm DECREASING that confusion, while you prefer it to be increased."

    Again, you see time as a source of confusion, where it is not. Do you think anyone attending a movie today thinks the DVD is for sale now as well? Nope. There is no confusion in the marketplace. Actually, the marketplace is very orderly, with a clear theater - dvd & rental - PPV - movie night on cable channel progression that the market isn't particularly upset about. The link I provided shows what happens when you up the number of simultaneous choices, and how consumers tune out.

    It's also important to see the run out of movies reviews come in and drive DVD sales on the back end. I didn't see Benjamin Button, but I might buy the DVD based on reviews (and those awards...). I would very likely be a non-buyer if the movie pretty much burned itself out on theater and dvd sales in the first couple of weeks and disappeared.

    "No, not based on "I think" at all. That would be incredibly lame. It's based on the compiled research and historical evidence of over 100 different economic studies."

    Would you care to cite a couple of those economic studies for the rest of us? Or will we discover most of them to be only marginally relevant?

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hmmm, late due to a couple of days off the internet but I feel a few points still need responding to (thanks for the kudos, Mike!):

    "People who are going to leech a copy from the internet isn't a buyer anyway."

    An utterly unsupportable and, frankly, false assumption. I know for a fact that I have several DVDs of movies I only watched because someone burned me a pirate copy. I also know numerous people who download cam versions of movies, then pick up the DVD when it's released because they liked the movie.

    This makes sense because the DVD package is usually relatively inexpensive (once you factor in the costs of gas, parking, refreshments, etc, the DVD is usually the same price as the cinema, or much cheaper if more than one person shares the cost), and also more valuable (extras, guaranteed decent picture & sound quality, resale value).

    Forcing those people to wait only increases the chance they'll download, not the chance they'll pay money.

    "Why shoot yourself in the foot?"

    In my experience, this is what the studios do all the time. Again, while the markets do overlap, there is a massive market who simply cannot access a theatrical screening of a particular movie.

    Maybe I see things differently as I don't live in the US - I'm a British ex-pat living in Spain - but I get raped by marketing decisions all the time. I can't watch all the movies I want to at the cinema because they tend to dub most movies over here, and I hate dubbing (even if a movie is dubbed into English - I'd rather wait for a subbed DVD). Then we get the active attempts to prevent me watching, say, the US release of the DVD where that's either a better package or released earlier.

    In short: it's easier for me to pirate (as I did with Grindhouse when they decided to delay the European releases by more than 6 months so they could work out how to market the movie to me. Idiots), than it is to access the legal version. A great many of the "pirates" are just customers tired of jumping through the hoops forced by clueless marketers.

    I don't "pirate" often, though I do import a lot of DVDs. If the studios had their way, they'd actively reject those import dollars in order to make sure a fictional US citizen would be inspired to go to the cinema.

    "Again, are there significantly less DVD sales as a result of not offering the DVD right away while the movie is still in theaters? Probably a few, but the potential costs to the theater boxoffice take isn't worth the risk, now is it?"

    Again, you seem to assume that the theatrical audience outweighs the potential home audience. I'd be willing to bet cash that this has not been the case for a number of years. Hard figures are difficult to come by, but you are making the same mistaken assumption that they are, based on nothing but "that's how it worked before the internet".

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), May 26th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow. You do miss the points and enjoy contradicting yourself, don't you?

    "Just as importantly, what do the movie companies tell the retailers, the rental businesses, the PPV networks, etc? Pound sand for 6 months while we sell this DVD in the theater and wipe out your potential business?"

    Re-read what's being said. While the DVD has been the main focus of this argument, there is NOTHING to stop PPV, rentals, retailers, etc. from taking a piece of this pie early. The studio still makes money. The PPV people, DVD retailers and renters, etc. still make money. All while benefitting from a marketing campaign

    Isn't the whole argument that the studio are losing money because their product is being pirated? Not giving people what they want only encourages piracy, and you're advocating doing so on the blind assumption that the untapped market is smaller than the theatrical market...

    The point is that different people enjoy watching movies in different ways. Not everyone likes the cinema, and it's a hell of a lot more than $10 for a lot of people when all costs are considered. Especially in the current climate, many people consider these costs and decide to stay home. Make the PPV / DVD available? Maybe you'll still get some of their money.

    If the cinema has the facilities, experience and other benefits to offer potential customers, they will still pay for those. If the cinema has nothing to offer potential customers than "we have this movie a few months before everyone else", why are you so shocked at the possibility that some are not being served by being forced to wait?

    "Once again, you are caught up in the absolutely unproven theories that killing an existing business will suddenly create money for nothing somewhere else."

    Except, that's not the theory being put forward. The point is that people are *already* seeking alternative ways to see movies. Instead of trying to stamp out those "evil pirates" (in fact, just the customers who don't want to wait for your marketing cycle), offer people what they want.

    That seems to be the main problem with modern marketers such as yourself. You seem to be so convinced that you know what people want and how to sell it to them, you fail to realise that many people are independent. Refusing to sell me what I want won't suck more money from my pockets. It might get you less.

    "Do you think anyone attending a movie today thinks the DVD is for sale now as well?"

    It's harder to see at the local Blockbuster than it once was (mainly because less people use them), but I can guarantee you that people get confused in this way. I personally know 2 people who rented the crappy Ulli Lommel Zodiac movies because they thought they were the David Fincher movie (at the time it was at the cinema). Ironically, they couldn't have seen the movie they wanted to at the cinema anyway, as it was a limited released and the nearest cinema showing it was 150 km away...

    That made Lommel money, but the studio who were paying for the ads backing Fincher's movie? Not so much.

    "I didn't see Benjamin Button, but I might buy the DVD based on reviews (and those awards...). I would very likely be a non-buyer if the movie pretty much burned itself out on theater and dvd sales in the first couple of weeks and disappeared."

    The 2 main drivers for that movie's success were the reviews and Oscars. These would have happened regardless of the DVD release date, but many people simply don't want to watch a movie that long at the cinema. One reason why dumb summer action movies and comedies do better than dramas is because a lot of people prefer to wait for the latter on DVD...

    Besides which, there's a long list of movies that "burned themselves out in the first couple of weeks" at the cinema and have gone on to be massive-selling hits on video/DVD, anything from Blade Runner to The Shawshank Redemption. That short-term view is killing movies more than anything else...

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This