DirecTV Admits Almost No One Wants To Pay $30 To Watch A Movie At Home

from the pricing,-duh dept

Back in April, when DirecTV officially announced its plan to let people see movies for $30 at home, we were not alone in suggesting the price was ridiculously high, and were somewhat shocked to see theaters complaining that they’d never be able to compete. Looks like our thoughts on the price turned out to be exactly right. As a few people have sent in, DirecTV has admitted that there’s been very little uptake of the $30 movies, and flat out admits that the price is too high:

The service is part of an attempt by studios to harness pay-TV as they seek new ways to sell movies and counter shrinking DVD sales. Few customers will purchase the premium rentals unless the quality of the movies improves and the price comes down, White said in an interview.

?They?re priced too high for consumers,? White said. ?We didn?t choose that price, but that?s where the studios forced us to be.?

Of course, the studios forced that price because they’re petrified of pissing off the theater owners (who were already pissed off), because the big studios still think that the “movie business” is defined solely and completely by how well a film does in the theaters on its opening weekend. The theater owners, at the same time, don’t want to have to compete and actually improve the quality of their service — so they whine and complain any time the studios do anything to make accessing content outside of the theaters any easier.

The end result, then, is just a big question of why anyone bothered at all with this plan. It made no sense for anyone involved. If you’re going to offer video on demand to consumers, offer them a reasonable product at a reasonable price or don’t bother.

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Companies: directv

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Comments on “DirecTV Admits Almost No One Wants To Pay $30 To Watch A Movie At Home”

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Mike C. (profile) says:

Why studios use theater results...

You’ve missed the point on big studios and WHY they continue to look at theater business as the success/fail indicator. It’s so easy to see that I’m surprised you missed it…

They can’t evaluate a movie on profit or loss because movies from the big studios never make a profit.

I mean really… DUH! 🙂

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Can anyone say focus group?

The more options you give someone that are within reason the more options you give for someone to buy.

Example from my own life: I have not bought a movie in over 18 years on any format. There are lot of reason why but mostly it comes down to I don’t want to pay for something at a too high price that I may only watch a few times. But I did buy “Up” because I got a deal ($16) (2 year old son and he loved the movie) for all three formats. I got the DVD, the Blu-Ray and access to a Digital copy for that price.

The bargain I got was that we could watch on what we had (DVD), we got the option to watch on what we will have, and also got the option to transfer it to a portable player. (Although, later I found out it was limited.)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Can anyone say focus group?

You actually bought 2 formats. The “digital copy” was there as part of an attempt to try and help the studios outlaw ripping software because they still think that people will rush and buy legally if they can’t pirate.

As you found, this means that it’s so limited as to be almost useless. Of course, if you downloaded the film from an illicit source as a replacement, it would work perfectly…

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Re: Can anyone say focus group?

No I waited because nothing was worth it. As for spending so much. (Children come first) Really? $16 for three formats? I think that is an OK amount. I got what I needed and a future format (for my house). Sure the digital version was close to shit but it was there even limited. Better than I can say for the usual fare they dish out.

DinDaddy (profile) says:

Re: Can anyone say focus group?

“(Although, later I found out it was limited.)”

It’s pretty trivial to make a non-limited digital copy from the DVD.

What limitations are you running into though, out of curiosity?

I also tend to think that the pricing on this VOD offering was not strictly a result of placating theater owners. I would bet that is actually the valuation they believe this service is worth.

Anonymous Coward says:

As a few people have sent in, DirecTV has admitted that there’s been very little uptake of the $30 movies, and he flat out admits that the price is too high:”
emphasis added

umm…Am I losing my mind or did that pronoun (he? he who?) come out of left field? I have no idea who the he is. Maybe ‘it’ if you want to talk about DirectTV as an entity…but…

Atkray (profile) says:

This just proves that people are unwilling to pay a fair price. You freetards all want everything for free. Little mikee and all you koolaid drinkers insisting that if the studios offer an acceptable way for people to get movies they won’t pirate.


now we see that you are all a bunch of freetarded goldfish rapists. Give it up the party is over.

AC says:

Re: Re:

Actually, this proves nothing of the kind.

I would not pay $30 to watch a first run movie on my TV. There are parts of the experience you get at the theater that cannot be replicated on a 50-60″ flat screen.

I am sure the studios were thinking that “wow, for $30 you can invite a bunch of friends over and watch this movie. Hey thats a bargain because you would spend a lot more than that to see it at the theater”.

What they fail to see is that the big screen is a different experience and by the time it hit’s DVD, I can just rent it and invite friends over and watch it for $5 or less.

Now, I agree there is a certain segment of society that does not want to pay any price and would just prefer everything be free.

Studios need to recognize it is more about convenience than about a subset of folks that don’t want to pay for a movie. I am happy to pay for content when it is content I want to watch.

I do prefer convenience though and therefore willing to pay for it. I pay my $15 monthly to get access to DVD/Blu Ray rentals and online streamed content. I occasionally go out to the movies with my wife. I don’t torrent movies or other content.

There are few movies I would buy because there are only a handful of movies I would watch more than once.

Not everyone is a pirate, not everyone is trying to accumulate some massive movie library, not everyone expects everything for free.

Ninja (profile) says:

Wait, $30 to watch a film in pay-per-view that can be bought for less than that, watched over Netflix with zero effort for much less than that or downloaded with little effort on TPB (via torrent) by much much less than that and, wohoo!!, watched in the cinema with girlfriend for less than that.

Yes, it’s a very smart and reasonable business indeed.

Color me shocked with his conclusion.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Their “Thinking” if you can call it that, was family movie nights, or slumber parties where it would be cheaper for 4-6 people to rent one of these $30 movies than pay for individual seats at a theater.

Their problem is after forcing their customers to wait 28 days for movies on netflix and redbox, they have made them complacent to wait the extra 30 days (when the normal pay per view price is offered). Once again, they screwed themselves.

HuwOS (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Typical consumertard, taking money out of the mouths of creators and their families by not being willing to pay more than you’re prepared to pay normally.

What people have to understand is that creators work very hard to make movies, it involves a lot of people and a lot of time, often over a year, and if you aren’t prepared to pay 30 measly bucks to watch what it took over a thousand people to make, then you must think they are nothing better than slaves.

In many ways you consumertards are worse than the pirates, they at least make no bones about watching without paying at least in that moment of time, but paying “consumers” think that the pittance they hand over somehow covers their obligation to the people who sweated blood to make this entertainment for them.
What is six bucks or ten bucks or fifteen bucks from you worth to the thousands of people involved?
A kick in the teeth that’s what it is.
Why oh why won’t people learn to properly appreciate what the studios do for them.
The MPAA needs to start making instructive videos telling the peons exactly how much they get for the pennies they grudgingly pay.

Steve (profile) says:

Re: Re:

From the original article studios were getting ready to offer $30 video-on-demand movie rentals, in an attempt to create a new tiered “window” much closer to the original theatrical release date.

The intent was to sell the showing at $30 at the end of the theater run but before the DVD / Blu-ray / Netflix etc. releases. The thought was that people would pay extra to see it sooner.

Still a bad idea though…

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

What does the $30 get you? You pay to see the movie a little bit sooner legally but that is all. You don’t get value for the money.
I can actually believe that whoever it was who thought of this actually said to themselves “We’ll compete with the free downloads of cams and screener rips by charging a ridiculously high fee for a one-time viewing!”. I can believe it because these same people have done other bonehead maneuvers like this time and time again.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Re: How many times do they have to fail?

Depends how long the movie industry can keep shelling out piles of cash to congressmen.

Unfortunately they pay congress 1 billion, and congress turns around and passes some bill that gives them 10 billion. Hollywood then wastes 9 billion, and spends the 1 billion left on congress again. Cycle repeats.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

The $30 price just proves once again that the movie industry overvalues its content. Customers are just not willing to pay as much as the studios want them to pay. Lesson for the MPAA: “Consumer sovereignty’s a bitch.”

The reaction of movie theaters shows once again that many people in the industry don’t understand that people go to movies for the “going to a movie” experience. But in my weaker moments I do feel bad for theater owners who are stuck in the very small pricing zone between the exorbitant royalties they have to send to the studios and the amount that customers are willing to pay. It leaves them very little room to improve the movie-going experience that customers actually want.

Sam Simpson says:

Seemed like a good deal

When my family goes to the movies, it is around 50 to 70 dollars. That includes the price of tickets and the price of drinks, popcorn and candy for the kids. So this is much cheaper for me and I wouldn’t have to use any gas. The only reason I never got one was because they never showed a movie I would want to watch.

JS says:

I'd pay half that

I’d pay up to $15 to watch a first run movie at home. Ticket prices are nearly that where I live anyways and I’d happily part with the little extra to avoid the ignorant unwashed masses that frequent theatres these days.

Also, I don’t get why the studios bowed to the theatre owners. Don’t the studios basically have the theatres over a barrel? No movies means no theatres. No theatres just means studios can get their revenue from elsewhere.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: I'd pay half that

I don’t know the economics of theaters & studios, but i was thinking about something along these lines the other day.

The two most popular (and profitable) movie theaters in my city are not over the barrel by the studios, because neither of them show first run movies. What they do is show movies that have entered the second run, or from long ago in the back catalog. They consistently sell out their seats.

Oh, they also deliver beer, soda & snacks to your seat (you text them to order) and their seat are comfortable (1/3 of the seating is couches). And they’re fun.

Nobody cares about them not having the first run movies. Even with new movies that people are “dying to see”, I know a lot who wait for these theaters to show them because the experience is so much better.

DB says:

Maybe a little overpriced, but not by much

I’m thinking $30 is a bit much, but if you think of the money we spend to go to movies, family of 3 is about $27 unless you go matinee. Granted if you paid $30 on DTV, you are limited by what another Poster said Smaller Screen, also no 3D if your TV doesn’t support it.

I actually would buy it to see a movie in my home for $20, or their magic $19.99, do that and I would jump on it.

Most people nowadays that can afford to go to movies have nice enough systems in their homes, and the popcorn and soda are cheaper and better tasting there too.

So, set the price at $19.99 and give some of that cut to movie theaters so they don’t whine. problem solved.

T says:

The biggest problem is that these people are too greedy. I understand their logic of the family of 4. With snacks it’s not that much cheaper to watch at home. The problem is that as a society we’ve gotten used to things like netflix & redbox. I’d rather wait a bit & hit the redbox to watch a movie. With snacks it works out to about $5. Which is a heck of a deal. I just saved myself $25 that I can spend on other things that I actually need. I don’t mind waiting that extra time & saving all that money. If they dropped the price to $10 to $15 and release it on Direct TV when it’s released in theatres people would start using the service. Especially today when things are so tight people aren’t willing to pay for premium items at high prices. This is something the studios aren’t getting. Why am I going to pay $10 for a matine plus another $20 for stale popcorn, a drink, and maybe a box of candy especially when I can wait a couple months and pay quite a bit less? It’s simple economics that they don’t seem to understand.

Anonymous Coward says:

I know you think that all studio execs are idiots and you believe that no one “get’s it”. They fully comprehend the situation, unfortunately they must appease the theatre owners or face litigation. The people that really don’t “get it” are the judges and politicians who cling to the status quo.

Personally, I enjoy going to see action movies on the big screen, but comedies or dramas are perfectly suited for home viewing. I made the unfortunate mistake of going to see Hall Pass on the large screen and the hot tub scene might have scared me for life.


Re: Clearly not

Clearly they don’t get it. Clearly they don’t understand what’s going on. Clearly they don’t understand they are selling a luxury good with a HIGHLY elastic demand.

That means that people can either take it or leave it.

Cheapskates have been waiting for movies to get to HBO since the 70s.

Forget about Redbox or Netflix, this sort of stuff has been going on for much longer. “Waiting for a cheaper version” is nothing new by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s been going on for at least 30 years.

WysiWyg (profile) says:

It's brilliant!

Actually it’s pretty brilliant. The MPAA gets to say that they tried, oh how hard they tried, to reason with us freetards, but the fact that it failed only proves that we freetards don’t want to pay for our entertainment. And probably something about starving creators.

Meanwhile DirecTV got some free publicity. I’m ready to bet that more than one would be customer who was put off by the insane price-tag rented a cheaper movie instead. Add to this that they just shifted the full blame onto the moviestudios, and BAM: great marketing!

Now, the theaters might have been left out of the loop on this one, which is wrong, but they will probably realize that it wasn’t a serious attempt anyway.

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