If Hollywood Is Upset About $1/Day Movie Rentals, How Do They Feel About 6 Cents Per Hour Rentals?

from the it'll-destroy-Hollywood-even-more! dept

So Hollywood is all concerned that Redbox DVD rentals at $1 per day are going to do serious damage to the Hollywood economy — except, of course, that the actual numbers say exactly the opposite. Still, if they’re all freaked out (and some are in court) over $1/day rentals, you’d have to imagine they’re not particularly pleased about rentals that could be even cheaper. Rose M. Welch points us to the news of a new DVD rental kiosk operation, called Big Box DVD, which is moving forward with a business model of charging a whopping 6 cents per hour for a new release (4 cents per hour for an older release). For folks willing to just rent the video, take it home, watch it and return it, that can be quite cheap. Of course, if you keep it for a full 24 hours, it’ll be a bit over a dollar. How long until we hear about how much damage this is doing to Hollywood?

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Companies: big box dvd, redbox

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Comments on “If Hollywood Is Upset About $1/Day Movie Rentals, How Do They Feel About 6 Cents Per Hour Rentals?”

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moore850 (profile) says:

costs review

Let’s suppose that it costs 6 cents per hour to rent video content. Now let’s suppose that everything that’s not pay-per-view already on cable is available at this rate. A lot of cable services are in the ballpark of $25-$50 per month. How many hours of video would this get you? 416-833 hours of video per month. That’s 13-27 hours PER DAY. Count me in! This would save us all so much on our cable bills… here’s to a $10 or less monthly video service bill thanks to this rate someday.

taoareyou (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 costs review

I do not disconnect my cable when I am not watching it. Therefore the 300 channels are being made available to me 24 hours a day. When you rent something by the hour, you are paying for every hour it is available to you. Bringing it back after 110 min is certainly an option. But then the movie is no longer available. This is the same as calling the cable company and having them turn it off.

However, they are not going to reconnect my cable every time I feel like turning on the telly.

taoareyou (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: costs review

When you rent a video for .06 an hour, you are paying for the availability of that content, not just the time spent consuming it. Imagine if you rent 300 movies at once, all being charged by the hour. You are paying $18 an hour even though you are not watching all 300 movies at once, because you have the content available to watch.

When I subscribe to cable and have 300 channels, I have 300 hours of content available to me per hour. I have the ability to jump around and consume bits and pieces of that content however I want. Obviously I can’t watch it all, but it is available.

If I rent a movie by the hour, say .06, I am paying for the availability of the content. Under that premise, taking my $150 a month for TV, 300 channels available 24/7, my cost per hour is fractional and considerably less than .06 cents.

Arbus says:


This is a joke. Maybe not a joke-joke but rediculously funny nonetheless. This service is obviously counting on its ability to capitalize on people who’ll hang onto their movies for days saying “it’s only six cents an hour,” and run up decent charges.

Some will of course, but given how hard a time other movie rental places have making enough money to satisfy themselves, this business won’t make enough off the the average customer to pay for their costs, much less to generate any profit. It’s going to burn through any venture capital funds and close in the blink of an eye.

Derek Reed (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I think you underestimate the laziness of the average consumer of these products. The brick and mortar rental stores are dying because of the huge overhead of retail space and all the costs associated with that. An unmanned electronic kiosk doesn’t have that problem. I don’t think Redbox or this 6 cent deal will fail due to not bringing enough money to cover the current costs of the operation. However, they might fail due to having to pay exorbitant fees to Hollywood, or due to their currently limited selections.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Interesting thought ....

I like the whole “The company has three locations at University of Wisconsin campuses” what a great place to put them … LOL … the places that MPAA and RIAA fear most. I predict someone going to the machine with a $20 cash card, and a linux box set up to rip DVD’s.

A Sys admin at local university said to me file sharing is down 95% but our encrypted traffic is up the same amount … I wondered why? … local encrypted VPNs on campus for movie and music sharing …

yet another RIAA induced unintended consequence to watch happen large scale … GRIN

Curious says:

Double Standards are the norm...

With the studios flipping out over the $1 rentals from Red Box it is interesting that my local Blockbuster (Rochester, NY) has $1.99 one day new release rentals and $1 One day rentals on all other movies. I don’t remember what the late fees are, if it’s $1 a day or their regular fees.

Sounds like $1 devalues movies only if your not paying the studios.

sheinen says:

Once they’ve sold on the copy to the renting agent why the fuck should they care what they choose to distribute it for? It’s not up to them, surely?

I’d like to see this shit happening in any other market. Oh you wanna sell on that necklace I sold you? Well you’d best be able to find someone who’ll pay more than £1 Trillion for it, because I’ll sue you if you try to sell it for any less!

Anonymous Coward says:


OMFG!!! This is going to completely destroy and obliterate all of Hollywood and lay waste to every single actor, actress, director, producer, executive producer, hair stylist, key grip, best man grip, dolly grip, special effects guy, animator, caterer, wardrobe maker, carpenter, lead carpenter, sculptor, lead coordinator, coordinator, apprentice coordinator, lead painter, painters, standby painters, apprentice painters, apprentice coordinator, storyboard artist, art department lead and staff, graphics coordinator, illustrator, payroll accountant, second accountant, lead accountant, accounting assistant, production accountant, key grip accountant, carpenter accountant, caterer accountant, production office lead, production office staff, production office assistants, production office assistant apprentices, production office assistants’ accountants, dolly grip accountant, accountants’ accountants, accountants’ assistance accountants, accountants’ assistances’ apprentice accountants, pre-recording mixers, recording mixers, re-recording mixers, grip mixers, concrete mixers, prop mixers, mixers’ accountants, sound design, key make-up artists, assistant costume designers (and of course their acocuntants also), vehicle supervisors, vehicle drivers, security guards, stand-ins, and pretty much everyone else with their assistants, apprentices and accountants, and any other title, position, representative and individual involved in the movies.

All of this takes money!!! How can they possibly pay all those people with 6 cents an hour!!! That’s sacreligious, communistic wages that are so far under any possible pay wage that the actors couldn’t possibly afford their four 125,000 sqft. manions, fifteen Bentleys, 350 flat screen 96″ plasma televisions, 892 custom purses, 2,000 suits, and custom flooring made of marble only found in the deepest recesses of the Himalayan mountains that can only be dug out by 12 year old children and a goat with a gimp horn.



Jon says:

I highly doubt this company with 4 whole kiosk is a blip on anybodys radar. Much less have them actually make any money at this price point. Another example of why the studios are trying to put an end to these cheap rentals because look where they lead to. I don’t understand why they just don’t give it away there’s no need for making money anyways.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Two-Hour Reserve, Where the Film Studios Will Go.

I’ve seen something like this before. When I started graduate school (Anthropology, then History), university libraries commonly put scarce books on two-hour reserve. This applied especially during the critical first year, the “boot camp,” when people were being put through the wringer. The situation was that fifteen or twenty people would all be trying to read the same book, of which the library had only one copy, over a period of two or three days, before the next class session, so it had to be put on two-hour reserve in the interests of fairness. Of course you couldn’t read a book, at least, not the kind of book I’m talking about, in two hours, but you could make photocopies. Then, if you rationed yourself to four hours sleep, you had just barely time to read the book in time for class, write a reading note, and to be able to orally answer the professor’s oral questions. Being in such a program was incompatible with any kind of part-time job, of course. The professor and the library turned a Nelsonian blind eye to the photocopying. They couldn’t ask starving graduate students to spend fifty or a hundred dollars a day on books, even if particular titles were still in print, but they could, by God, require them to _read_ that many books. Even if the books were in print, unless the professor had pre-ordered them through the bookstore, there simply would not have been time to find copies, this being before Borders Bookstore took off. The professor was in the position of either saying that graduate students were either required to buy a book, or required to photocopy it. The professor decided what the poorest member of the class could afford, and acted accordingly. Of course, photocopying cost about as much as mass-market paperback books would cost, but these weren’t mass-market paperbacks. This kind of copying did not have much economic implication, because it involved only a tiny elite of hardcore liberal arts graduate students, compared to whom both law students and MBA students were both affluent and lazy. The difference, this time around, will be that automation will supply the place of labor. When people rent movies by the hour, they will, of course, rip them, return the originals, and watch the ripped copies at their leisure. The only practical defense the movie industry will have will be to sell movies outright for rental prices.

Hollywood is not going to find a painless marketing formula which allows business as usual. It will have to get its costs down. Hollywood will go to Bollywood, that is, it will move its operations to India. As “Anonymous Coward” (Dec 11th, 2009 @ 10:19am) notes, the vast majority of the people involved in making a movie do not appear on screen. They are cameramen, gaffers, grips, soundmen, lighting men, carpenters, electricians, costumers, make-up specialists, film editors, and a hundred other specialized trades. However, this means that it does not matter if they are Indians. The Indian film industry is one of the most vibrant ones in the world, producing huge numbers of films in multiple languages, and distributing them to Indian audiences who are film junkies in ways which American have not been since the 1930’s. At some point, American directors and leading actors will tap into this system.

Now, as for the extras, walk-ons, etc., the largest category of actor, such people have traditionally moved to Los Angeles, registered with casting agencies, and then found themselves ordinary jobs to live on while waiting for screen calls. They have worked as waiters or cab drivers, or the like, dead-end jobs where the employer expects a high turn-over, and doesn’t particularly mind people leaving without warning or notice, and will hire someone on a day’s notice without references. Allowing for precariousness of employment, bit-part actors have been paid approximately minimum-wage for the net time lost from their table-waiting jobs. Of course, an expatriate cannot do that kind of thing in India, but living expenses are much lower, and someone who is stage-struck can work in the United States for a couple of years, in the kind of job for which one does need references, eg. teaching school, and save up enough money to live in India for a couple of years. Indian producers and directors will discover that they can make movies for the American market, working with Americans who are not affiliated with the American film industry.

Once an industry moves offshore, its political influence diminishes. It is no longer a source of steady high-wage employment for Americans. The political base of the movie industry is someone like a cameraman. The cameramen, etc. are not like actors– they are craftsmen. Within reason, a good cameraman can film any kind of movie, which means that the cameraman can work steadily at high wages, filming whatever is being filmed. He votes for whoever favors the film industry, just the way autoworkers used to vote for whoever favored the automobile industry. As the movie industry moves offshore to cut costs, it will leave the union cameraman behind. It will no longer have its own congresscritters like Howard Berman or Mary Bono.

Ryan Diederich says:

Credit Cards

These companies, Red Box and the likes, must make special deals or set something up for credit card fees. I work in retail, and fees are upwards of 25 cents per transaction plus 6ish percent. I am sure that Red Box doesnt pay 25% of their revenue to credit cards.

And no one has brought up the security issue. For example, I rent a movie and never bring it back, how do they get their money? Do they take the credit card info to start with?

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Fees for DVDs

Most of the stuff isn’t worth six cents an hour. I am not watching any of the 240 odd channels I get on TV now because it isn’t worth my (leisure) time.
Even so, if they find a way to stream it to my home for six cents per hour, perhaps pay per view will start to make some sense. Right now, we don’t do pay per view (and movies? My wife sometimes does the Netflix thing, or finds something worthwhile on TV, but we recently turned down a free current movie.

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