Did Amazon Cash In Big On Oprah Viewers' Confusion?

from the mistaken-identity dept

theodp writes "In mid-December, the NY Post credited an endorsement from Oprah on her ‘Favorite Things’ show for making Planet Earth the best-selling DVD set on Amazon. And Amazon just reported that the $54.99 boxed set was one of its three best-selling DVDs this holiday season in terms of units sold. It’d be ironic if the huge sales numbers can be attributed to The Oprah Effect, since the David Attenborough-narrated version of Planet Earth sold by Amazon certainly wasn’t the same as the Sigourney Weaver-narrated version sold by the Discovery Channel Store that was actually on Oprah’s List. That the Amazon version wasn’t just-what-the-Oprah-ordered wasn’t evident from the Amazon web site, although some customers tried to warn potential buyers. Wasn’t Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos all about warning customers that they’re getting the wrong video, even at the expense of sales? Will breaking the don’t-mess-with-Oprah rule come back to haunt Amazon in the form of refund requests?"

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Comments on “Did Amazon Cash In Big On Oprah Viewers' Confusion?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I’m not sure what Amazon is supposed to do? Put a big image on the page saying Don’t Buy This! It’s Not on Oprah’s List! I say as long as they don’t put a sign up that says it is an item listed on Oprah’s List then they didn’t do anything wrong, and those who bought it should do some leg work next time and they wont make a mistake like this.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s the same basic mini-series isn’t it? 11 parts, probably all the same footage… Just one is in a BBC box with BBC labeling and David Attenborough narrating.

The other is in a Discovery box with Discovery labeling and Sigourney Weaver narrating.

What’s the big difference??? I’d probably rather have the BBC one anyway…

But I’ll admit Amazon and eBay are both really really bad about crap like this, but in the end it’s just another reason that it pays to not be an idiot consumer when buying things on the interwebs.

Anonymous Coward says:

It looks like Oprah’s fault along with the viewers. On her list is does not specify what one but if you go through to discovery it says who did the commentary (but you need to scroll down to see it) and that this one is approved by Oprah. Amazon states who narrated it and never said that Oprah approved it or anything.

How many people bought the wrong HD format of that box set?

Ps. Oprah is nothing special!

Jack Sombra says:

Amazon did them them a favor

British Edition
90 More Minutes of footage
Narrated by probably the most respected makers and presenters of nature documentarys in the world with over 50 years experience

US Edition
90 Minutes less footage
Narrated by a hollywood actress who is a minor player in the environmentalist who is more known for killing aliens than anything else.

Rose M. Welch says:

Kind of off topic but....

…to number 18, I decided that Obama had my vote long before Oprha threw her support his way. Furthermore, I like Ben Affleck way better and I seem to recall that he supported the Clintons. It’s crap to assume that people are voting for him just because Oprah said so.

Believe me, I work in a book store and we never saw so many people come in and leave mad and empty-handed (and many who purchased later returned) as when she recommended James Frey’s ‘Million Little Pieces’, which is about a bunch of drug addicts. People see a cool item on Oprah’s show, they pos def go look at it but it doesn’t mean that buy it, keep it, and revere it because of Oprah. We’re not all lemurs, yanno.

Dr. Phil says:

Re: Kind of off topic but....

To # 23

“I decided that Obama had my vote long before Oprah threw her support his way” – Congratulations, but many people are supporting him based on Oprah’s recommendation. The country is now deciding on the presidency of the United States in much the same manner that we purchase books. Very sad indeed.

“Furthermore, I like Ben Affleck way better and I seem to recall that he supported the Clintons.” – You like him way better? OMG, do you like him this much (outstretched arms)?! Liking Ben Affleck is your personal problem and is apropos of nothing.

” Believe me, I work in a book store and we never saw so many people come in and leave mad and empty-handed” – Really? People actually left “mad” because they did not like a book that the big O recommended? Views on literature (and art in general) are subjective and differ from person to person. No reason to get mad just because Oprah likes a book that you don’t. The fact that they are mad just goes to show that they are placing too much importance on someone else’s ability to make decisions for them.

“…which is about a bunch of drug addicts” – Are you implying that the book is bad because of its subject matter? So a book about drug addicts cannot be good? That is an odd sentiment from someone who works in a book store, believe me, I shop in book stores.

Rose M. Welch says:

Re: Re: Kind of off topic but....

I wasn’t implying anything at all. The book has many, many drug addicts in it. In fact, every single main character is a drug addict. The casual term for ‘many’ is ‘bunch’. What would you prefer I call them? Genetically challenged or some such crap? Or ‘drug addicts’, which is what they call themselves? Do you have something against drug addicts? Is that why you so quickly jumped to that conclusion?

And as a matter of fact, I own both ‘Million Little Pieces’ and it’s sequel, ‘My Friend Leonard’ and (once again) I owned them both before Oprah had James Frey on the show. In addition, I didn’t return them after he finally admitted that it was mainly (partially?) fiction.

And how would it be an odd sentiment from someone who works in a book store? Are you saying that people who work in book stores can’t have any negative opinions about books or genres? That’s kind of silly. Personally, I see zero merit in books about vampire sex, but they just fly off the shelves. Is that an odd sentiment, also?

In discussing a celebrity endorement, I mentioned another celebrity endorsement. How is that ‘appropriate of nothing’? (By the way, I think you mean ‘has nothing to do with this’, since ‘apropo’ means ‘appropriate’ and the phrase ‘appropriate of nothing’ is semantically null.)

Cixelsid says:

Re: Re:

The Sigourney Weaver version is much less fun to watch.. I actually sent back the Sigourney Weaver version and got the one by the original author, Sir David Attenborough (who was involved with it’s production)

This story would have been way more interesting if Sigourney Weaver came to your house and you had to send her back cause she was less fun to watch than Dr. Phil shopping for books in a book store. YAWN

theodp says:

Fuller Disclosure vs. Boldface

Boldface won’t help much if the most pertinent information isn’t presented. For example, away from the product page, the Official Amazon Screening Room also employs boldface as it specifically pitches viewers of the Discovery Channel version of Planet Earth narrated by Weaver that was recommended by Oprah, but IMHO the following passage still leaves buyers with the impression that only the Attenborough-narrated version is available on DVD: ‘Note that while Sigourney Weaver is narrating the show on Discovery, the DVDs will feature the original David Attenborough narration.’

Vincent McBurney (profile) says:

You've got this story back to front

Agree with the other commenters – Amazon did the right thing. It sold the original version with the best wildlife presenter in the history of television – the version I watched. It’s a tragedy that the Discovery channel thought they needed an American accent for their shortened inferior version and that Oprah plugged it. It’s like flogging a shortened version of Lord of the Rings with Jar Jar Binks dubbing all the Gandalf dialog. “Meesah thinks you hobbits is great”.

paul says:

you are all hilarious...but!

come on guys i know your american, but you do understand an english voice…surely?
if oprah has forgotten to recommended the sigourney weaver version then she’s done you all a great favour.
firstly you get to see the planet earth as it was intended,by the bbc (not discovery,who never made the series).
secondly you and your families get to hear the accent of a different country to your own,there by bettering your geographical worldly sense,which ironicly is exactly what the planet earth is all about.
and lastly you get to realize that not everything is made by the united states of america,and that sometimes,somewhere outside of your “tunnel visioned country” there are other film makers who are making productive,educational wild life series much,much better than your own discovery channel can handle.
so with this and oprah’s blessing, i recommend you buy the amazon virsion and learn about world nature issues through the eye’s of a neutral observer.as apposed the the blinkered view of the american goverment of late.

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