I was just writing a response to one of our frequent commenters – Joey – who takes the side of the studios in this battle. Instead of just posting the comment as a response to his, I thought I would write a new post and get thoughts from all of you.
Here is my response to Joey, and to any others who may be siding with the studios in all of this…
The problem with most of your comments is that they are too one-sided. Are you really so blind to reality that you cannot see any valid parts of the other side of the argument here? Either that is the case, or you are a shill for the studios for some reason.
The reality of the situation is much simpler than you are making it. People don’t buy movies as much any more because the value proposition is low. If you only watch a movie once or twice, paying to own it not only makes little sense, it is stupid. Also, the quality and originality of films has decreased greatly over the past years. How many remakes have the studios made in the past 10 years? The number has certainly increased over the 10 years before that.
You may argue that the $1 price point that Redbox uses has increased the speed of the downward spiral the studios have been on over the past decade or so, and you are likely correct. However, keep in mind that I have seen $1 rentals at grocery stores for many years now and no one was complaining about those. Also, Netflix and the Blockbuster Total Access also move the cost of rentals lower and lower, in some cases to less than $1 paid per movie based on rental habits.
So, what is the “solution”? Well, aside from the fact that I don’t think there is one that the studios are going to like, they do exist.
1) Raise the price of DVDs. If the studios raise the wholesale price of DVDs, retailers and wholesalers will have to charge their buyers more. Of course, if studios think DVD sales are down now, try raising the price on the consumer and see what happens.
2) Go back to their “rental-first” model and sell DVDs at much higher price points to rental companies for the first little while. Of course, this is similar to the above strategy, and will make consumers even less likely to buy the movie later because they already had to pay a high price for the rental. So, either consumer will wait and not rent at the high prices, or they will rent and not buy later.
3) Create a partnership among major studios (a la Hulu) and buy Redbox. Then they can control the distribution channels and the price of a rental.
Now obviously, I like Redbox and think they provide a valuable service in a down economy. But, for the record, I also use Netflix and generally watch more movies from them than from Redbox. Once Redbox gets blu-ray in my area, this may change, but for now it is the reality for me.
So, Joey, what you are doing is fighting the future. Either suggest a solution that is fair for everyone, or you comments will continue to make you look like a bitter studio exec who doesn’t want to have to give up his Maserati and 3rd vacation home in the Hamptons.
So, what do you think? Am I totally off base here? Are the studios right? Is Redbox right? Do you have a better solution? Please share your thoughts in the comments – I would love to hear them!