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DVD Sales Decline: Blame the Studios?

jump_off_cliffBill Mechanic is the former head of 20th Century Fox Studios, and thus can offer some interesting perspective on the inner workings of the industry. Yesterday, Mechanic was the keynote speaker at the Independent Film & Television Alliance’s production conference. In his remarks, Mechanic said that much of the blame for the current DVD retail downturn should fall squarely in the laps of the studios themselves.

Studio execs have been more worried about “making budget” and preserving profits than understanding and adapting to shifting market forces, Mechanic said. He also stated that “the maturation and saturation of DVD movies and TV DVD was a logical conclusion to the destruction of the price-value relationship in home video by the studios and low-priced rental alternatives such as Redbox.”

Mechanic also questioned the soundness of the studios’ decision to push Blu-ray on consumers during a recession.

“If I can buy Titanic for under $5 in some stores, why am I so eager then to rush out to pay $30 or so when it’s released on Blu-ray? Is the quality that great? How many formats are yet to come? They simply accepted the idea that they could resell their libraries at higher prices,” he said.

Despite the current troubles DVD retail is facing, Mechanic is confident that there will always be a market for quality films, regardless of the format or distribution channel.

“It’s not that the buyers aren’t there,” he said. “Consumers, TV outlets, retailers and yes, even pirates, want what works.”

Over to you, RedHeads. Is Mechanic on the money or off his rocker? Have the studios gotten themselves into this mess, or is there enough blame to go around?

[via Home Media]

25 Responses to “DVD Sales Decline: Blame the Studios?”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    rb [visitor]

    Just this week they have been advertising “Wizard of Oz” now on blu ray. If Mechanic means that there will always be a market for “quality” films– such as “Wizard of Oz”– I totally agree. (Think about it, Wiz of Oz was made in the 1930’s!) Kids and people watching the movie enjoy it just as much now as those who watched it way back when it was first made. I think that’s “quality” when a good movie script, good directing, and good acting can make a movie still appealing for years, and years, and years. Not many, IF ANY, movies turned out by the studios today will hold the test of time or become such classics as Oz. So for that reason, yes I agree the studios have to take responsibility for the situation they find themselves in. Somehow, studios seem to have gotten the idea that if they improve the format, like introducing blu ray, people will run out and buy up the dvd because of the “quality” of blu ray, etc. But think of it….a movie like Oz stands the test of time because of the”quality” script, acting, etc. People loved the true “quality” of Oz just as much as when they first watched it on their vcr, and as when they watch it on blu ray–or any other format in the future. So yes, because of the saturation of so-so movies being turned out by the studios, people are now indifferent to which new format a movie–dvd– may come out on and more picky about the true quality of the movie.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jonathan Rowling [visitor]

    I believe studios are to blame for most of it, especially their pricing with Blu-Ray. A great example of it would be PAUL BLART – MALL COP! I have a Blu-Ray player and I happily spend money on great movies. I just bought GLadiator and Braveheart on Blu-Ray for $17.99 each at BB. I would happily pay more for great movies, but I’m not going to spend $24.99 on PAUL BLART on Blu-Ray and at the same token I won’t spend money on DVD for $14.99 which is inferior to Blu-Ray. Same with Waterboy. Buena Vista has this priced at $29.99 on Blu-Ray. Well I’m sure they are not selling a lot of it at that price. $12.99 – $14.99 I will bite, but not $30 bucks!

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      rumblefish [visitor]

      and you never realized any of this until redbox and their dollar a day rentals made you a cheap deadbeat…right? (I am being sarcastic of course)

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Sean [visitor]

    On another subject, I kind of preffered the term “Insiders” to “RedHeads”. Just my opinion.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    rb [visitor]

    Yesterday, I was watching the news and they reported that baseball card sales was down by like 30-40 percent. Since baseball and baseball card collecting has always been an American past time, even during tough economy times, the research study linked it to something else. They linked it to the fact that the “quality” of baseball players/heroes was just not there anymore–with all the public findings of steriod abuse, etc. Likewise, I think the studios have to quit blaming Redbox for their declining dvd sales and start looking at the “quality” –more precise non-quality–of movies they are turning out. The saturation of crappy movies the studios keep turning out and the public’s realization of such a high percentage being crappy movies has made the public want to rent–try before they buy–first.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Linda [visitor]
      I work for VBG. To find out why this is important, click here.

      What Bad movies are you talking about?

      X-Men Origins: Wolverine Fox Sept. 15
      Monsters vs. Aliens DWA/Paramount Sept. 29
      Year One Sony Oct. 6
      Land of the Lost Universal Oct. 13
      The Proposal Disney Oct. 13
      Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Paramount Oct. 20
      The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Sony Nov. 3
      Up Disney Nov. 10
      Star Trek Paramount Nov. 17
      Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Fox Oct. 27
      The Hangover Warner Dec. TBA
      Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Warner Dec. TBA
      Terminator: Salvation Warner Dec. TBA

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Linda [visitor]
        I work for VBG. To find out why this is important, click here.

        Maybe these ones: You really have no clue do you?????????????

        100.0 09/22/2009 PG-13 55.3
        NEW 1 OBSERVE AND REPORT (WB) 60.5 09/22/2009 R 24.0
        X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (FOX) 58.9 09/15/2009 PG-13 179.9
        STATE OF PLAY (UNI) 30.9 09/01/2009 PG-13 37.2
        CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE (LG) 24.6 09/08/2009 R 13.7
        I LOVE YOU, MAN (PAR) 18.7 08/11/2009 R 71.4
        DUPLICITY (UNI) 18.6 08/25/2009 PG-13 40.7
        NEXT DAY AIR (SUMMIT) 16.2 09/15/2009 R 10.0
        THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (UNI) 15.4 08/18/2009 NR 32.8
        SUNSHINE CLEANING (ANCHOR BAY/STARZ) 13.6 08/25/2009 R
        THE SOLOIST (PAR) 12.5 08/04/2009 PG-13 31.7
        AGAIN (WB) 12.0 08/11/2009 PG-13 64.2
        DANCE FLICK (PAR) 11.7 09/08/2009 PG-13 25.7
        TRUE BLOOD: SEASON 1 (HBO/WB) 11.7 05/19/2009 N/A –
        KNOWING (SUMMIT) 11.2 07/07/2009 PG-13 80.0
        FIGHTING (UNI) 10.8 08/25/2009 PG-13 23.3
        OBSESSED (SONY) 10.5 08/04/2009 PG-13 68.3
        RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (DIS) 10.2 08/04/2009 PG 67.2
        GRAN TORINO (WB) 9.7 06/09/2009 R 148.1
        BATTLE FOR TERRA (LG) 9.1 09/22/2009 PG 1.7

        • Visitor [Join Now]
          rb [visitor]

          Not ALL movies are crap BUT if you’re willing to just fork out $20+ without renting first for movies like Terra, Observe and Report, Crank 2, etc.etc. (even Duplicity with big stars like Julia Roberts and Clive Owens wasn’t that great), then you’re in the minority. Fact is the studios are turning out many more crappy movies than movies that are worth watching more than one time. Other than perhaps Gran Torino and some of the kid’s movies you mention, I’m not seeing movies that are bound to hold the test of time. For you to feel that the movies you mentioned will become classics and hold the test of time, then you must have a “clue” that I’m not aware of–and apparently the majority of us consumers aren’t aware of since dvd sales continue to decline.

          • Visitor [Join Now]
            rb [visitor]

            I just had a thought about the studios vs Redbox. The feud sort of reminds me of that commercial where the guy goes into a car dealer to buy a used car. The guy keeps asking the SALESclerk to see the carfax–so the guy knows exactly what he’s getting before he forks out the big bucks to buy the car. However, because the salesclerk knows the used car he’s trying to sell to the guy has an inferior car history/carfax that would probably/definitely make the guy not buy the car if made aware, the salesclerk keeps offering the guy all kind of other incentives to just buy the car. However, the guy/consumer is smart and won’t buy until the guy can see the carfax, continually repeating, “Just show me the carfax!” Likewise, dvd customers are renting first from Redbox–basically seeing the movie/dvdfax–and deciding not to buy after they realize the movie is crappy. The studios don’t like this. Bad Redbox! Bad Redbox!

        • Visitor [Join Now]
          Jody [visitor]

          I actually only like 5 out of that list.

      • Member [Join Now]

        wondered when taking of pelham 123 was coming out.. seemed to be off for along time..

        wonder when

        THE COLLECTOR is coming out.. man that was a major flop

        lol if you think YEAR ONE was a good movie .

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Jody [visitor]

        I like 3 out of that list….

  5. Member [Join Now]
    Mark [rb123456789]

    I don’t think the quality of movies has been declining in any significant way. There have always been bad movies along with the good.

    I think these days on average adults watch more movies than in the past, not just the most popular ones. The deeper you get into the “catalog” it’s more likely you will find lesser quality movies, hoping to find the occasional gem. This is especially true when much of your movie viewing is via Redbox. This affects greatly the impression many have of overall movie quality.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      TexasRebel [visitor]


      Sure there were great movies between 1930 and 1960, but name 10 real fast.

      Now trying doing the same for every decade after that.

      Now name 10 real stinkers for each decade.

      The point is that we are a NOW society and it’s real easy to complain because we can afford to watch everything now vs. years past.

      Why would anyone go back and watch the garbage that was made before you were born? We have reviews on the internet to sway us away from those.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        rb [visitor]

        Or we have reviews on the internet to sway us away from not only “watching” all the garbage being made today BUT also “buying” it–thus the studios can thank the internet/internet reviews for one more reason for declining dvd sales! People don’t buy “rotten tomatoes” when a majority have already “tasted” and warned others that the tomatoes they are about to buy are rotten!

  6. Member [Join Now]

    yes i agree why can’t they sale blue ray movies in the $14 range i will only buy blue rays when they are on sale from $10-$14

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    Joey [visitor]
    I work for VBG. To find out why this is important, click here.

    PHYSICAL: Studio says its operating fairly with kiosk operator
    By Susanne Ault — Video Business, 10/1/2009

    [editor note: posting this once is enough. please do not spam the comments.]

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      rb [visitor]

      Joey, you cut and paste this same blog over and over. Can’t you just give a common-sense opinion that is all your own? Like how do you respond to my above common-sense opinion agreement about how consumers have more internet access of movie/dvd reviews that act to sway them away from buying a lot of the “rotten tomatoes” that the studios keeping putting out/trying to sell.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Joey [visitor]
        I work for VBG. To find out why this is important, click here.

        The only reason there is more crappier movies out there is because there are just more movies being produced all together. There is also more great or good movies out there as well. I think as far as critics out there saying this movie is good or that one is bad it really doesn’t hold alot of water with the general consumer. I think that the marketing campaigns out there promoting these titles either grabs them or it doesn’t. Which could be part of the problem because there has been some big campaigns for a few rotton movies.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Joey [visitor]
      I work for VBG. To find out why this is important, click here.

      Warner also responded to their complaint with redbox it just hasn’t been reported yet.

  8. Member [Join Now]
    AnnieB [annieb]

    Maybe if they would improve the QUALITY of the movies they produce they wouldn’t have to worry about box office declines and DVD sales declining. They’ve been producing mostly trash for the last 5 years or so. Why would I spend my money on that?

  9. Member [Join Now]

    Look how well the Clint Eastwood Films have done
    over the years;
    (both with him acting and directing);
    I personally want to see all of those films over and over again;
    so again yoou are correct;
    quality, not rushed quantity is what really pays in the long run.