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blu-ray-logo-400-740773As hordes of shoppers hit stores and the web today, retailers and Hollywood studios hope they pick up a Blu-ray player and a few discs along with their doorbuster specials. The three-year-old high-definition format is not taking off as quickly as its backers would like, and massive discounts are being promoted on Blu-ray hardware and discs to induce more customers to take the Blu plunge.

Mammoth retailers Walmart and Amazon, among others, are offering cut-rate prices on many popular titles and players. The discounts are much more substantial than those offered on the DVD format at a similar point in its lifespan. Several players are being advertised at under $100, and many titles can be had for less than $10.

It’s not just the retailers taking a margin hit on the steeply discounted Blu-ray products. The studios are also absorbing much of the cost through subsidies to retailers, investments which they hope will get people away from Redbox, etc.
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and back into purchasing titles.

According to Richard Doherty, a consumer electronics analyst:

“The studios still make money on a $3.99 DVD sale. . . Not as much as they used to, but certainly more than they do at a Redbox kiosk.”

Doherty noted that there is a lot at stake here, and “studios and their retail partners need for people to adopt the newer Blu-ray format and start building disc libraries again instead of renting movies for a dollar at Redbox.”

One potential issue with the Blu-ray Black Friday sales is that consumers may come to expect high-definition films to remain at these prices, an unsavory prospect for studios and retailers. Says Doherty:

“Consumers expecting $7.99 Blu-ray titles over the long term is not part of any business model we’ve been privy to,”

Will the ability to pick up Gladiator in high-definition for ten bucks get you to purchase a Blu-ray player, Insiders? Are studios and retailers shooting themselves in the foot by cutting prices so drastically this quickly?
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Give us your thoughts in the comments.

[via The Wrap]

19 Responses to “Studios and Retailers Hoping for a Black and Blu Friday”

  1. Member [Join Now]
    superkid []

    It would be nice if redbox would roll out blu-ray rentals in their kiosks nationwide and not only limited to 5 or so markets.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    FalconFour [visitor]

    How about if the world can get (properly connected) HDTVs first? I’ve only seen a handful of people that have HDTVs, even fewer that have them properly connected to an HD signal. Not a single one that has a Blu-Ray player.

    Suck economy, people. I couldn’t even fathom shelling out an entire paycheck (~$500) on a TV I could only use during the few free hours I have in a day.

  3. Member [Join Now]
    ChadCronin [chadcronin]

    I have asked many times for Redbox to start offering Blu-ray rentals. I got a play back in Feb and another one today. It is a shame the cheap $78 Walmart Magnavox I got didn’t even come with HDMI. I used the Yellow, White, and Red cords and the quality looks horrible. I already ordered another cord online. If people hooked up the player with HDMI then they would see the difference. I can understand Studios not wanting to go below 10. I am ok with around 20 for new and 15 for old with some 10 titles. I just want more titles releases and to see things switch over and get rid of DVD sooner than later.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      John Small [visitor]

      They barely make money by forcing studios to give them ultra-cheap prices on DVDs. They would be out of business in no time if they went to Blu-Ray.

      There is a reason the Blu-Ray tests have not expanded. They were a disaster financially. Luckily they were smart enough to do small enough test zones so that they did not lose too much.

      Red will not be Blu unless Blu can be had at under $10.00 a disc.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      FalconFour [visitor]

      You can get similar quality to digital (HDMI) by simply using the component cables (red, green, blue) instead of the old (we’re talking 1950s, I think) yellow, “composite” video connector.

      Strictly speaking, I think anyone connecting an HDTV to any video device using anything other than red-green-blue needs to be smacked squarely upside the head. :P

      • Member [Join Now]
        ChadCronin [chadcronin]

        On that note I like to smack the makers of Blu-ray players for putting a pathetic connection method in the box, and they wonder why they have to keep fighting claims that the quality isn’t better!

        • Visitor [Join Now]
          FalconFour [visitor]

          I’d have to agree there, to an extent… for the same reason DVD players never came with coax (tuner, or “channel 3”) input or output (except for those VCR+DVD combos), Blu-Ray players simply shouldn’t have included a composite or S-Video output, for any reason. HDTVs, I can understand having a composite input, because there are TONS of things that need to be plugged into it. A Blu-Ray with composite? It’s just asking for trouble.

          Component, on the other hand, is just an analog version of the digital signal you’d get with HDMI or DVI. It may not be exactly the same quality or resolution, but you’ll at least get a HD picture that you couldn’t previously get with *shudder* component. You just need a cable with all three cords, and voila… high-def Blu-Ray, only slightly watered down. ;)

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    The [visitor]

    So the studios pay the same amount to produce a Blu-Ray and they think they can make people pay more? SCREW YOU STUPID GREEDY BASTARDS!

    And I’ve seen Blu-Rays at a Redbox for rental. It didn’t show up online but when I went to the box there were two movie pictures on the screen side by side, one for DVD and one for Blu-Ray for the same movie.

    I’m sure they are working on a way to show Blu-Ray versions on the Redbox web page.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jody [visitor]

    I am not even interested in a blu-ray….I only know of 2 people in my friend/family circle that even own one. Doesn’t sound like I am missing much!

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Carson [visitor]

      It really is for suckers, its a gimmick designed to make money off of a market that is not willing to spend money. True the quality is ‘amazing’, if you have a 52 inch TV and a movie that is worth it, but its really reserved for people who want to spend an insane amount of money on their movie collections.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Movie King [visitor]

    Eff Hollywood. Until they no longer produce DVD’s I won’t be switching to Blu-Ray. Still have a bunch of VHS after reducing my inventory by 75%. Can’t give them away. The difference in quality doesn’t make up for the price of having to purchase the same thing all over again. They missed the boat on this blinded by greed as usual. Much of what comes out each week is average on its best day.

  7. Member [Join Now]

    AS for a Blu holiday, I don’t see it happening. That Door Buster Magnavox at Wally World, come Sunday they still had a full pallet sitting there for $78. I bought that same one last year on BF for $128 ;(
    Sure if you spend some coin on the disks it can be great. But an up-converted DVD on my 46″ Sammy looks nice.
    Prices are gonna have to come crashing down on Blu-Disks in order for me to buy them, I only bought 5 since last years BF.

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    MovieBuff [visitor]

    Blu-ray is the latest Hollywood scam as studios repackage a product consumers already own, hoping they will shell out more money for it one more time. When video first came out, I strictly rented with the exception of a few absolute favorites which I did purchase. As a Star Wars fan, I bought the Star Wars trilogy. Then it came out as a remastered set. I bought it again. It was released as a wide screen. I bought it a third time. Then it was the special edition and I bought it a fourth time. Laser disc came out, but I was already stupid enough to buy it 4 times on video so I passed. DVD came out and I bought the trilogy for the 5th time. I also decided to start collecting my favorite movies on DVD as DVD was promised to be the Be All and best format ever. I agreed and started adding about 100 movies a year to my collection. Unfortunately, as soon as I purchased a DVD, a few months later the studios released the special edition, the director’s cut, or the super duper ultra deluxe version. I learned my lesson with the trilogy scam and promised that I would only buy the first version released no matter how much better that 5 minutes of deleted scenes might be. Then studios got even more sneaky. They stopped printing collectable DVD inserts altogether, one of the reasons I bought them. Eventually all of the special features were cut out unless I wanted to buy the 2 disc edition for an extra $10 while the price of a standard DVD kept climbing.

    Enter the HD Blu-Ray war. I decided to sit this one out. I refuse to pay an extra $15-$20 for a movie I can get on DVD for less or buy a movie I already own. I have never down loaded a movie but I buy less movies for several reasons. My library is already big enough that I have to keep a list of movies I bought and have not watched yet, so new purchases had better be darn good. Movies are getting dumber. Sequels of sequels of remakes that were not that good in the first place. Even renting has me feeling ripped off lately. So when I purchased my Blu-ray player this weekend, it was NOT to play a single Blu-Ray disc, nor will I buy any. I simply needed a new player and didn’t want to buy older technology when I just need something to play my huge library on my widescreen HDTV and surround sound system. IF Hollywood stops playing the bait & switch movie game and sells blu-ray for the same price as DVD, it might make sense to upgrade. But it doesn’t. And what would I do with what I already have or the cabinets I built to hold them? DVD is good enough.

  9. Member [Join Now]
    superkid []

    Maybe it’s because I do have a 52″ LCD with a blu-ray player connected via hdmi, but the only movies I’ll watch on DVD now are the chick flicks my wife likes. Everything else has to be blu-ray for me. Call me a sucker, but blu-ray looks tons better than DVD IMO.

  10. Member [Join Now]
    AnnieB [annieb]

    I am NOT going to rebuy my thousand plus movie library in yet another format. They can kiss my A**. If they do away with regular DVDs it will be the last dime they ever see from me in DVD sales. Every time they want to boost sales they come out with another format that’s supposed to be “the best”. No thank you, I’m happy with what I have. I won’t be ripped off when I already own perfectly good legal copies of the DVDs I’ve already paid for. No damned wonder people download content. These rip off artists have only themselves to blame.

    The same goes for music. I’m tired of the constantly changing formats and buying the same music over and over just to be able to ,listen to it. And the artists aren’t getting anything out of it.

    Then they stop making the other formats to FORCE you to buy the newest thing.

    That’s what they did with movie rentals. And one major reason I stopped renting movies from the rental places. I don’t have a wide screen TV. The TV I have is sufficient for my needs. And the wide screen format cuts down on the viewable picture, makes it much smaller on a regular TV. I’m not spending my money on that.

    I should be able to rent or buy the format I choose.

    And the more they manipulate, the more PP’d I get. And I stop spending money period!

    So let ’em rant, scream, whine all they want. If they were giving people what they want, the way they want it, then they wouldn’t have a freakin’ problem selling it. You
    d think they would get the message, but nooooo, they’re determined to shove their sh*t their way down people’s throats.

    I like to think of myself as a law abiding citizen, but I’ll find a way over, under, around, or behind, if they keep it up. I’ve already paid for my content. I won’t pay for it three or four times over.

    • Member [Join Now]

      I agree once you bought it, it’s yours. copyright paid, artist paid. done

      records to tape to cd to mp3 how many times do they need to be paid.

    • Administrator
      Michael [administrator]

      I agree that once you pay for your content, it is yours. With music, it is not as big of a deal as quality is actually going down with new formats. You can always rip your CDs to mp3s and put it on your portable devices. So, there is no reason to buy an mp3 you already have on CD.

      With movies, it is a bit different, as the blu-ray format is higher quality (usually) than the DVD format, so there is no reason that the studios can’t charge you for that upgrade in quality. However, it would be nice if the cost was less for an “upgrade” if you already owned the DVD. However, you can always purchase a Blu-ray and sell your DVD, thus somewhat reducing the cost of the upgrade.

      One correction for you, though, regarding widescreen vs full screen. It is actually full screen that cuts down on viewable picture, not widescreen. The movies were recorded in the widescreen format, so a full screen (regular, old tv) picture cuts off both sides to make it fit, generally using what is called Pan&Scan.

      Ultimately, it is up to the individual if they want to upgrade or not. The studios do not force anyone to do so. Yes, eventually old formats disappear (cassette tape, VHS, etc…), but that is mainly because most people don’t want them anymore, and it becomes unprofitable to continue making them.

  11. Member [Join Now]

    I don’t know about your other arguments, but the idea that they’d want DVD to die so everyone would just buy the same movies in blu-ray is pure greed.

    I’ll do it that when they give me a widescreen HD-TV for free (incidentally I love letterbox when it represents the original way the film was shown in theaters to get the full picture as intended, but I agree that if your screen is small, it kinda sucks).

    It’s not just that the BD’s are more expensive, but so are the players and sets required to get the full picture (and people shouldn’t have to buy a game console to watch movies… the PS3 is for playing GAMES first, movies are just a side feature).

  12. Member [Join Now]

    The other thing that sucks about BD is that way many releases have catered to the whining of consumers who don’t know what they’re talking about (complaining about “dirt” when in reality they’re just noticing film grain that is SUPPOSED TO BE THERE), resulting in movies where everyone looks blurry and/or waxy (see Pan’s Labyrinth on Blu-Ray).

    Until they get that crap sorted out, and the prices drop to DVD levels, it won’t take over unless they force everyone. And you know once they have market dominance they’ll just switch to another format, and another, and another, etc.

    DVD was significant, in that it was superior in quality to tape, AND it in terms of longevity (tapes stress and get de-magnetized over time, losing quality, and copies lower quality, etc). They were cheaper and more portable than LD and didn’t have the “laser-rot” problem or the “disc flipping” problem (well at least not for movies under 3.5 hours). BD just isn’t that much of a leap over DVD that the previous formats were, so it’s a harder sell to get people to “upgrade” when DVD has only been around barely 12 years.