Studios still wishing for the days of DVD

Discussion in 'Streaming and Digital Media' started by Kevin Collins, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Kevin Collins

    Kevin Collins Owner, from The Other Washington
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    The studios have been baffled, or disillusioned, with the new format technologies that have come out since the decline of DVD sales. They kept thinking that things would be like when DVD came out, a format shift that drove a massive change in consumer behavior from mostly renting movies to mostly buying them, producing a huge revenue and margin windfall for the studios.

    The first time that changed was with the format wars. With studios taking sides on what format they were going to side with, consumers were confused during the most important shift of SDTV to HDTV. By the time HD discs hit the market, they faced a much flatter adoption curve that they might have. Though technically impressive, Blu-ray has done little to slow the shift toward low-priced rentals and non-disc streaming.

    After that came UV, which in itself was a great idea, but after two years of infighting with conflicting political, financial and technical agendas consumers have largely passed it by. Consumers largely stopped buy optical disc and instead moved to the open arms of RedBox, NetFlix, Amazon Prime and others for rental and now largely streaming. If you don't buy the Blu-ray to begin with, what good is UV?

    Now the studios are hoping that 4K will change the story. The hope is that a new upgrade cycle of HDTV's to UHD's will bring about a resurgence of revenue for the studios. At the Consumer Electronics Assn. Industry Forum in Los Angeles this week, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Worldwide president Mike Dunn said the coming transition represented another opportunity to get people interested in purchasing movies again. He is proposing another set of BD players that would accommodate 4K discs, but would also include HDD's to accommodate digital downloads and disc-to-digial format shifting. “Consumers would have the ability to copy their physical discs and store and manage their entire digital library in one centralized location — managed in the living room, where most content is viewed on the big screen,” Dunn said.

    Hmmmm... "have the ability to copy their physical discs and store and manage their ENTIRE collection in ONE centralized location"??!!! Let's think about this. On my WMC, I have a 16TB HDD drive array that is made up of 8 2TB HDD's. It's a fairly large box and consumes alot of energy and puts out a fair amount of heat (outside of producing noise from the fans to cool the HDD's). I have about 1500 movies on them from HBO, Showtime, etc. and they take up 7TB of space. As everyone knows, the quality of HD content from HBO, etc. is sub-par to what you get on Blu-ray. Figure that a typical BD disc is 30GB. The files on my share are about 4GB in size. Now, even with advanced codec's you have 4X more pixels than the HD 1920x1080. Let's figure that H26.5 has 2X more compression than what is on Blu-ray today using H.264.... I think you are getting to the same conclusion that I am. No one is going to have this type of storage capacity to do this, at least not the typical consumer that is used to paying $199 for their Blu-ray player!

    However, let's play along with this as that type of device would truly be impressive. The big problem with this is that it is built on a premise that consumers are going to purchase this with an adoption rate of DVD! Are consumers going to buy a new player and new optical disc media AND get a UHD TV?!

    There were three reasons people bought DVD:
    1) Convenience -- not having to rewind the tape and the ability to move to different chapters
    2) Longevity - VHS wore out, DVD didn't, at least not at the same rate as VHS
    3) Improved picture and audio quality

    Look at SACD/DVD Audio -- both had superior sound. Who won? MP3 with less quality but higher convenience and longevity.

    Look what is surging today --- convenience -- streaming media content. Forget waiting for the Blu-Ray in the mail or going to that RedBox kiosk... Get what you want, where you want it -- NOW. Once again consumers are sacrificing quality for convenience.

    It can be argued that the days of DVD are over because the key criteria to have such a huge consumer shift isn't about quality, it's about convenience. Are consumers going to put each 4K blu-ray disc into their player so it can be stored on a HDD? Are they going to wait for it to download and incur potential provider fees for exceeding download limits?

    Don't get me wrong. I'm all about quality, and I want it over convenience. Unfortunately, I am not in the majority.

    In Dunn's speech he said “There are 101 million households in America already with a DVD or Blu-ray player under their TVs, giving it virtually 100% penetration,” It is one of the most important pieces of real estate there is.”

    Unfortunately there is the tablet, which is arguable getting more usage than the either DVD or Blu-ray players. At the end of Q3 2102 Apple had sold 83.95M iPads. In their quarterly report today, they sold another 14.6M. I'm missing the data between the two, but if you assume 15M a quarter, then add another 60M to the 83M and you have substantially more iPads than the combined total of DVD and Blu-ray players. Now what is the most important piece of real estate?

    I think the studios are going to have to focus on something other than 4K optical disc or digital media if they want a repeat of the DVD days. 3D sure didn't move the needle, why will 4K? Is there a convenience factor in it that is better than what is available today?

    I will still buy 4K material that comes from the studios, it would be the driver for me to buy a UHD TV. It certainly wouldn't be the other way around.

    What's your take on all of this?
     
  2. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    My take on this is that the studios are whistling in the wind. As most sensible people recognise, the economy has slumped and the market has changed. Most of all, attitudes have changed.

    There are, and always have been, fashions in the Entertainment Business. When DVD was at its peak, it was the done thing to have a DVD collection. That is not the case now. In addition to the reasons you have outlined, there is another factor. Many of the people who bought DVDs in large numbers now realise they haven't enough time to watch them frequently. They feel they have wasted their money and they are not interested in making the same mistake again.

    People like us, with enormous collections and no regrets, are not normal!
     
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  3. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Indeed. Chasing the enthusiast market it no way to make billions, they have to satisfy the lowest common (or, more kindly the broadest) market segment.

    Features do not sell products. Nobody wants a drill, people want to make holes in the wall.
     
  4. Towergrove

    Towergrove Screenwriter

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    Yes but there will always be the market for people like us who purchase. In fact, like many industries there will be renters and purchasers. Many in the industry are now saying that sell thru will be dominate this year when it was said earlier in the year that rental would pull in more money. I think its foolish to say everyone is renting when multi billions are being made on sell thru in 2013.
     
  5. Towergrove

    Towergrove Screenwriter

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    But they are, in fact, making billions. Sell thru in 2013 will be a multi billion business model. Just plain mathematics applied here.
     
  6. Worth

    Worth Screenwriter

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    I think most people always primarily rented DVDs and only bought a handful of favourites. I know of very few people who own more than a dozen titles on any format, and I work in the film and television industry. It was the video stores that drove sales, but they're largely extinct now. And 4K is going to tank bigger than 3D - even the biggest home theatre enthusiasts are divided on its merits. It's going to be a non-starter with the general public.
     
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  7. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Screenwriter

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    DVD is "good enough" for the average consumer. Blu-Ray and certainly 4K aren't going to be converted to quickly as the average consumer doesn't notice the change as much as they did between VHS and DVD.

    The majority of movies still aren't even produced in 4K.
     
  8. MattPriceTime

    MattPriceTime Second Unit

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    While i agree there's a point in the logic of the adoption, But streaming is not that big of a threat to purchasing. If this was years ago would you be acting like the library would put book publishers out of business? They never have. Would video stores have put the VHS makers out of business? they never did. And even know why would the modern streaming services ever put DVD/Blu/and what now this new format out of business?

    There is always going to be a large part of the market that is not going to buy a version of entertainment media and is completly fine with renting/streaming. Always has been and always will be. These things spike in times of less financial stability and for the sake of being more coveniant.

    People need to be able to trust digital downloads to make that the true successor. We aren't there yet. So far DVD and Blu are still going strong enough to not to fear about going away anytime soon. Yet lots of people are embracing digital, but a lot of them aren't giving up their DVDs, Blu, or streaming either. This is the inherent hiccup. Another format adding to the mix isn't exactly helping, in all honesty it's probably going to take away from people from Blu buys than it is DVDs and streaming and then probably only a select group of this format will use it as a buffer to go to complete digital. Which should be the end game there. But you need to convince the people they can trust it, and i mean really trust it. It's going to take time, but do they really think this "hey it's the best of both worlds" is going to make people give up their DVDs and Blus?

    And i hope streaming converts aren't in their theory since really those people probably aren't going anywhere unless somehow we can make a better Netflix, which already is essentially a library on speed for the modern era.
     
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  9. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    They're acting like Blu was a big failure. It wasn't. Dozens more titles are coming out every week. It's just that Blu was never as successful as DVD. That's because people don't like to double-dip. I do. I'm upgrading one dvd a week to Blu. That's my goal for the next year or two. However, when I'm done, I'm done. No further formats, thank you.
     
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  10. Carabimero

    Carabimero Cinematographer
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    I was stunned when I had occasion to give some Blu-Ray discs as gifts to family members and discovered NOT ONE person in my family or extended family (and only one of my friends) owned a Blu-Ray player, much less any discs. I knew Blu-rays weren't as successful as DVDs, but had no idea they were THAT unsuccessful.

    After fifteen years of buying DVDs, and more than 5000 in my collection, I have discovered the ones I watch repeatedly. Turns out my collection should be about 500--not 5000.
     
  11. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I wish I had your will-power and could hold myself down to one upgrade per week!
     
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  12. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    I tend to sell my DVDs when they sit more than a year.So far this year...I've sold 54 while adding 89.Average price(with shipping, if domestic) was $11.Yes my movie watching is that esoteric.
     
  13. jetvideocooperative

    jetvideocooperative Auditioning

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    I think, although the industry is marketing the hell out of it, Blu Ray is destined to become the new Laserdisc. It seems like there is often an intermediate tech-step which is different, but just not revolutionary enough to make people jump at it, and it dies out. You see this in the home video game console world also -- some systems just get passed by completely, while others completely saturate the market.

    Mostly I agree with a previous poster that for most people (including me), DVD is totally satisfactory -- "good enough," and Blu Ray doesn't offer substantial enough improvements to warrant a library changeover, definitely not the night-and-day improvements that you saw between VHS and DVD. Personally, my only complaint is the fragility of the CD/DVD format; I wish they could make these things with a more scratch-resistant surface.

    Also, I must add that streaming, while convenient, is nowhere near the quality level of DVD. I have definitely watched my share of movies on YouTube during lean times, and you almost forget how bad they look compared to DVD until you get back into physical media again.
     
  14. sidburyjr

    sidburyjr Second Unit

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    Welcome to the club. My collection is not at 5k yet but it's over 4k. I'm packing in preparation for moving to SC and have discovered that I have a huge number (over 500 maybe waaay more than 500) disks that are still in the shrink wrap. :)
     
  15. Carabimero

    Carabimero Cinematographer
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    I once went out and excitedly bought a DVD set on sale for $99 only to get home and discover I already had it (I'd received it for free and had forgotten). That's when I knew I needed to re-evaluate my DVD mentality.
     
  16. Carabimero

    Carabimero Cinematographer
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    I upgraded very few things from DVD to Blu-Ray--had to get The Twilight Zone and Star Trek TOS. If they ever released THE FUGITIVE I'd get it. Probably DANGER MAN too, but I see no realistic reason that they would.

    As for 4k or whatever is next or in the future....how good does it need to look? At what point do human eyes fail to see the difference? Then what does it become about--holograms, speed, reduced file size?
     

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