Most Everyone Predicting Disaster For Self-Destructing DVDs

from the the-latest-in-a-long-line dept

Back when Disney first announced plans to offer "self-destructing" DVDs in May, I pointed out that this was hardly new. Over the past few years many companies have tried to offer self-destructing DVDs and every single of one of them has failed. Mostly, it's because they're not offering something very useful to consumers, but rather are seen as taking something away. Giving them a 48-hour deadline before the disc turns to landfill fodder for future generations to worry about makes people nervous. At least with a regular DVD, they know they can return it late and just pay a bit extra. But, with this, it's a scary process to open the case, because you had better be damn sure you're ready to watch it. Now, plenty of others are predicting that this offering is going nowhere fast - and the biggest reason may be that somebody who isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to pricing has decided to price the destructing DVDs at \$7 each. \$7!?! You can buy DVDs for about \$10 these days, and those (according to Jack Valenti) last forever. Hmm. \$7 for a DVD that lasts 2 days, or splurge and spend \$3 more for one that I can still watch next week. Or, just spend \$3 less and be bothered to swing by Blockbuster again next week and drop off the DVD. I'd say this entire idea has a high likelihood of self-destructing in a fairly short period of time.

1. dorpus, 15 Sep 2003 @ 1:43am

two-thirds law

If one throws darts at a dartboard and it has a uniform chance of landing anywhere on the dartboard, then the mean coordinate (EX, EY) is on the bullseye.

However, the average dart is also likely to land away from the bullseye, derived by

r = distance of average dart from bullseye
distribution F = (pi * r^2) / (pi * c^2) = r^2 / c^2
Density = F' = 2r / c^2
Therefore ER = integral(r * 2r / c^2) 0 to c = 2/3 * c.

The result is the same if we use a square, elliptical, or other symmetric dartboard.

By analogy, consumers think they want permanent DVD's (represented by the bullseye). But if given a price curve on a geometric distribution, they may prefer the 2/3 * c solution. Perhaps there needs to be an iteration of the Monte Carlo method in which consumers are offered varying DVD's, e.g. \$2 DVD's that destruct in one day, to \$5 DVD's that destruct in 11.9 days, to \$7 DVD's that destruct in exp(-b/t) days.

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