When Blu-Ray movies were introduced, the technology was advanced during a format war with HD-DVD and there was plenty of competition for the consumer sales. Routinely companies like Amazon.com would offer discounting of 50% for new title releases to drive consumer adoption. Today good luck finding a great deal on a new title, gradually the cost has risen to purchase many titles.
For many releases, instead of offering the disc for just the movie and extras, studios have taken the tact to make them multi-disc offerings. Many children’s releases include Blu-Ray, DVD and a DVD or slip for Digital download. Do most people need all of this? A digital copy is neat, but it has been used to justify much higher prices. Instead of new movies becoming available upon release for perhaps $15 or $20 discounted, prices have crept upwards to $22-25 to start. If you are at a Best Buy, many titles are available for $25-30. They do try to keep the line down for pricing many times, but on new titles often if not in the first week or if not a highly promoted title, the pricing creeps back up.
When you look at the internet, VOD and multiple routes people can watch features, many people opt for the cheaper option. Many times, with iTunes, Vudu, Ultraviolet and other VOD options you can even buy a title cheaper. When you have a movie available online for say $17.99 or $19.99 from Itunes to buy in HD, why not make the disc on BD nearly the same price?
Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes was recently on the CHARLIE ROSE program and said, “If you can get movies now rented and bought electronically and you don’t have to go anywhere, then that’s going to take over, The good news is that we can deliver that without brick and mortar stores. The bad news is movies maybe have to be cheaper.”
This is an express admission from the Studio Chief that makes it a necessity for affordability and ease for physical media like Blu-Ray to have a strong future. When Blu-Ray first came out it was a new format, limited manufacturing and a new standard. It also featured higher authoring and mastering prices for HD a new format requiring fancy new mastering labs and programmers. Today? BD has been around for years and the HDTV format has been widely accepted and adopted in the post production community and them some. Pressing costs for BD must have similarly come down.
We are calling on the film studios to END THE HD TAX! Pricing on BD must become the same as what DVD’s pricing were when new titles are released. BD ought not be considered a premium price anymore. Lower pricing will allow adoption wider and much higher consumer purchase rates of titles.
Haywire is a top seller today, its list price $40, on sale for $20.14 on Amazon, same title at Best Buy the DVD is priced $20, but the Blu-Ray is $25, Where it was actually the same deal with $25 for the BD/DVD/Digital combo pack, and just $15 for DVD/Digital, and $20 for a BD/Digital UV. HAYWIRE is also avail for $15 on Amazon VOD in NTSC, Not HD.
THOR is available for BD 3D/BD/DVD/Digital for $30 on Amazon, BD/DVD/Digital $20, DVD for $15.
Remember, Bewkes comments came from a time when companies like Warner Home Video specialize in releasing special restorations of classic features like CASABLANCA, CITIZEN KANE are released at about $60 in a special Box, collectables and then will hold back 2-3 months a less expensive basic version. Many consumers love special editions, but Warner’s often uses SE’s to push consumers to paying much higher amounts than they would be happy to just own the movie at an affordable price.
All of this means that if someone is a long term movie collector, pricing for physical media is often a penalty and a higher price. If consumers are abused by high prices for being the best customers Studio Home Video Departments have… they are not going to fully accept that. They will opt for ease and price, especially with an economy like this.
End The HD Tax, make all formats affordable and quality for collecting. Funny thing is that new BD players are getting even more and more connected, enabled to be a hub for the home. With App’s to connect to VUDU, Amazon, Ultra-Violet and more, you can collect BD’s and have excellent VOD capabilities. Consumers should be enabled for ease and quality each step of their movie loving experience and if prices came down a little to earth rumors of Physical Medias demise ought to be greatly exaggerated.
-Peace, Love & Apple Pie!