A study in contrasts-or-someone needs to fire their marketing director

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Paul_Scott, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    It is interesting to compare the reactions to two high profile, upcoming catalog releases that are exclsuive to each side- and also carry a premium over comparable releases.
    On the one hand, you have Close Encounters, which carries 25% premium over what were previously the highest priced single title, single disc releases (Fox films, with their $39.99 msrp). Sony is piling on the extras and taking pains to include all three previous versions of the film to make this first release of the title on HD a more or less definitive one.
    Over on the HD DVD side, Paramount is kicking out another version of the original Star Trek, with a first season featuring the new cgi effects- along with copious extras. However the price represents a 100% premium over the original sets dvd price and a greater than 100% premium over comparable season sets (like Universals Heroes which also feature oodles of HD exclusive extras).
    The prime demographic for this material seems to be not only not enthusiastic for the release, but dismissive and in some cases openly hostile- almost entirely due to the price point. And I have seen maybe one comment out of 100 where the poster expressed an interest in getting into the HD technology just for this set.

    I've been a huge supporter of HD DVD in the past, but to witness stuff like this really makes me question why my affections lie where they do.
     
  2. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Why? HD DVD has nothing to do with it; Paramount has always initially priced the Star Trek TV series high; this is just another example of them seeing how much their hardcore fans are willing to pay.
     
  3. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    I thought for sure this thread was going to be about HD DVD getting their asses kicked in terms of "mind share". I could've rambled on and on about all my anecdotle experiences from my own mother to my doctor who looked at me like deer in headlights at the mention of "HD DVD" but had surprising recognition of "Blu-ray". Its truly bizarre.

    Anyway, back to your topic, Paul. I agree with Jason to a degree. It is obvious that someone at CBS/Paramount was truly enamored with the Combo Format, and from that studio's prespective I think it all had to do with price. Combo Format command a premium, a reason I won't buy them, but to a studio that just starts dollar signs dancing in their eyes. Add in the Trekkers to the equation, and the studios are doing backflips of glee thinking of that poor fanbase they can gouge again.

    Now, here's why I don't totally agree with Jason. I'm not completely convinced that the reason ST: TOS is only coming out on HD DVD this year is purely a BD Profile 1.1 issue. The HD DVD promotion group has probably struck a timed-exclusive arrangement with CBS/Paramount in the hopes of being able to lure the Trek fanbase into not only buying this set, but into buy HD DVD as well.

    Personally, I agree with you, Paul, this ST: TOS has been a PR disaster not boon thus far for both sides.

    As for this:


    I couldn't tell you. Come to the Darkside, Paul. We have cookies. [​IMG]
     
  4. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Yeesh! You HD DVD supporters are a greedy bunch aren't you. First you want exclusive content that will help the fight against Blu-Ray but that's not good enough, you also want them to give it away for practically nothing. You do know the head honchos at CBS have families to support don't you? [​IMG]

    [BTW - the above was a joke]

    Seriously. If they go though with this pricing I have my doubts we'll see any more future HD sets of Trek because this just isn't going to sell very much at this price and as a result CBS will determine classic Trek just isn't desirable to the HD adopters.
     
  5. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    So does Paramount monitor reactions on sites like this the way the BR and HD-DVD "insiders" do?
     
  6. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    If it was anything but Trek I would agree but I think in this case they'll realize that they (finally) went too far and drop the price a little bit on S2 and see how it goes from there.
     
  7. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Well, that's not quite what I think - I strongly suspect that CBS/Paramount would have set something close to a $218 price even if these weren't combo discs. Star Trek has always premiered at crazy prices because there's a certain segment of the population out there that will pay it, and once you exhaust them, you can incrementally drop the prices to capture the next tier. Talking about Star Trek in terms of other TV shows is almost pointless, because in commercial terms, there's really nothing else like it.

    (Also, right now there's no way of knowing what effect the combo disc has on pricing; this is, as far as I can tell, CBS/Paramount's first release - they're pretty much a separate entity from Paramount Pictures - and we may find in the future that they buck the trend and price HD/SD-DVD combos the same as BDs)

    Also, I didn't say (or really even consider) anything about HDi vs. BD-J being the reason for the delay - I think I'm on record that whenever I see an exclusive anything, I tend to believe some money or other considerations is involved. My comment was purely along the lines that thinking that the negative reaction to the latest in a long line of high-priced and overpackaged Star Trek TV collections has very little to do with HD-DVD, and it seems almost silly to treat it that way.


    To get somewhere closer to the point, though, someone at HD-DVD central should be fuming and looking to Do Something when they look at today's Best Buy/Circuit City circulars, which show 300 as $35 on HD-DVD and $30 on BD without giving much indication that the HD-DVD version has more extras and has a DVD side. Considering that price has been one of their selling points, they really should find a way to lean on studios to either not charge a premium for combos or at least market it as worth the extra price.
     
  8. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    In my opinion studios are going to continue charging a premium for HD as long as they can, and this pricing will keep out all but the enthusiasts regardless of how much hardware prices fall. As an ethusiast, I care about content before price.
     
  9. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Hypothetically speaking since they charge an average of $5 more per disc for the combo and you have a 10 disc set one could argue that they added an extra $50 to this price to cover the cost. Without the added expense of the Combo would they retail this set at $170? Possibly. It's a good argument though.

    Logically, given the history of pricing on these formats it wouldn't surprise me if a future BD set will be $50 less than than the $220 or whatever the final HD price will be.

    Like I said in the other thread if they get the MSRP on the HD set down enough to where I could get it discounted for $100 or preferably less, I'll buy. Otherwise forget it, I'll use that money to pick up 10 or 11 other BD and HD titles instead.
     
  10. ppltd

    ppltd Producer

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    And it will be the same price when it is finally released on blu-ray.
     
  11. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    I'll call BS on this. We'll talk again once the BD is announced, but the Combo Format is driving up the price somewhat. To deny this is irrational.

    For whatever reason the studios see pasting a SD DVD on the other side of an HD DVD as a "feature". For that extra feature, they charge you more. Without that feature on the BD, they will charge less.
     
  12. Shawn Perron

    Shawn Perron Supporting Actor

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    I forsee Star Trek Season 1 as being one of the most pirated HD-DVD sets on the market. With the price set that high, many will not feel the urge to obtain it by legal means. In the long run, they may end up encouraging piracy by trying to set such a high price and end up making much less money.
     
  13. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    good point Shawn. I agree.
     
  14. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    In case I wasn't clear, all I'm saying is that this isn't the only reason it isn't being released now. I also believe that this is a timed-exclusive with CBS/Paramount for the purposes on encouraging HD DVD adoption. Do you not think that is the case?
     
  15. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Ummm, no. Combos are more expensive; take a look at the Warner HD DVD combos compared to the Blu-ray version of any given title in terms of price.
     
  16. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    I don't think the combos drive the price up more than about $10. That doesn't explain a 1 season price over $200. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think they are testing the waters with this press release to see how much they can realistically charge for this set. My guess is the final MSRP on release day will be between $120 and $150.

    Doug
     
  17. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    ^The trouble is we don't know how much it drives the price up on a release like this because frankly no one has been brazen enough to try it. Hell, Universal even had the good sense not to release Heroes in this manner. I agree that it would probably not drive up the price $50, but I think $10 is being a bit generous. The bottom line is I think everyone except Thomas agrees it is driving it up some.



    Wow. You think they're going to drop the MSRP $67.99 - 97.99? I'll take the over on that.
     
  18. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    But why would they? What benefit is there for Paramount/CBS- do they get a cut of the royalties too?
    No, I think it's pretty much a case of CBS Parmaount concluding that it would be more of a sure thing from their standpoint, if the any season set release contained compelling content/features over and above the few minutes of additional cgi per epsiode, and the enhanced pic and sound in general.
    If Blu-ray was able to offer compeling next gen interactive features, I'm sure they would have released on that.
    The combo feature is just a huge error in judgement on their part. And I do think it is clear that studios are using it to levy a $5 per disc 'tax' on new releases.
    What is even more interesting (infuriating) to me, is that supposedly the film coating used now on Bds-to provide scratch resistence- is much more expensive than spin coating, which they still haven't been able to perfect yet. The film coat is said to cost as much as a single dvd all by itself.
    While I'm assuming they mean the cost of a standard, un stamped DVD rom, and that doesn't take into account authoring or a glass master (or maybe even line time)- it does suggest just how much more expensive a Bd (regardless of number of layers) is to manufacture over even an HD DVD combo.
    At the very most, they should be pricing combos at parity with Bds, and in the cases of non combos, about $5 cheaper than Bds.

    Having been an LD collector, I haven't felt the prices before were outrageous for these- but I just found out about the relative cost of the film coating a few days ago, and at the same time, Paramount releases the price of this anticipated combo set.
    Something just smells rotten here...and the fumes are seeping up from the whole format, not just this release.

    I originally felt comfortable getting on board the HD DVD train, because I honestly believed the production cost differential would be significant with what i expected would be a slow adoption/migration to this technology. What I've seen though is the side with the supposed cost advantage consistently finding every excuse to charge more.
    I wasn't supporting that, and I can't help but feel a little used in the process now.

    From here on out, if this format has a production cost advantage- PROVE IT- across the board.
    Or else stop acting like a spoiler and just get the fuck out of the way.
     
  19. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    And who first called you on that? [​IMG]

    That's why I was very careful to say that the folks in charge of HD-DVD as a format should do something, although it would probably amount to making calls to the studios and making bribes offers to make it worth the studios' while. For instance, I notice that the banners noting that something is a combo disc have gotten smaller and smaller over the past months, and you often no longer see the HD-DVD and DVD logos side by side. It can't cost that much time and money to at least put in a call to the studios about that, or to Best Buy and Circuit City requesting that Combo discs be labeled "HD-DVD and DVD Combo" rather than just "HD-DVD" in their advertising.

    I mean, there's an official HD DVD Promotional Group; doesn't this sound exactly like what such a group should be doing?
     
  20. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    If Paramount were indeed getting some kind of break on these in return for temproary exclusivity- whether it be a break in rep costs, or authoring/feature development- Then that only means the inflated srp here is even more egregious.

    This should have been a release that creates enthusiasm among current HD DVD owners, and piques the interest of potential owners.
    By and large its done neither.

    On the other hand, while CE3K is announced at a premium price for a single film release, it HAS piqued the interest of non-Bd owners, and I've already seen several posts from people who are now definitely going to pick up a player, or go format independent specifically because of this release.
    Hardly any post I've seen have been bitching about the srp...even though I constantly see threads with people claiming that "prices need to come down on software".

    The HD DVD forum does need to get Parmaount on the line and try to talk some sense into them- and/or offer them some quid pro quo economic breaks if they aren't already doing so. Its not just that Paramount will end up moving less units than it expects- the release is tarring and feathering the entire format with the perception that its a blatant money grab scheme by the studios. Its going to be scaring off more people than its going to attract- despite the properties inherent hardcore fanbase appeal. And its going to do damage to the adoption of HD on disc in general...not just fallout limited exclsuively to HD DVD.
     

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