We knew it was coming: A new trend in standard vs SE pricing?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by MattHR, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. Jeff D Han

    Jeff D Han Supporting Actor

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    This issue doesn't bother me because the examples of the
    bare bones and SEs already mentioned were released on the
    same day. The consumers have an immediate choice of which
    version to purchase. The thing that really pisses me off
    about DVD collecting these days is the dishonest double
    dipping for greed practice by the studios (a special
    edition or "director's cut" will be announced shortly
    after the original DVD is released). Eternal Sunshine Of
    The Spotless Mind is the perfect example of dishonesty
    by Universal. The MAR and Widescreen versions were put
    out on the same day, then the 2 disc was announced just
    weeks after the release date, and the 2 disc came out
    within 4 months of the originals. [​IMG]
     
  2. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    It's all gouging plain and simple. It's designed to get more money out of people, that's all it is. If not, the studios would just release the Special Edition and be done with it. Or, the bare bones would be available for $10-$12 and the SE would be at the "standard" $15-$20 price point which would make the "Cheaper Alternative" claim more valid. The only question is, who is the most fair with this practice. I would say WB is because the MSRP of the 2 disc is often only a couple of dollars apart from the bare bones. The problem is, as others have pointed out, is that the small gap ususally translates into several dollars more at the B&Ms because they usually don't discount the deluxe editions as they do for the bare bones. The other problem is that often the deluxe editions become hard to find at stores as well. You won't find them at blockbuster. Costco probably won't carry them either (in some cases, they have, but there certainly is no guarantee)

    I'll go against the grain and actually vote for double dipping as opposed to premium priced SEs, because I think most of us around here can smell a double dip coming and can hold off on buying the initial version (although, yes there are some instances when the studios are very deceptive about it like the "Eternal Sunshine" double dip. But a very unpredictable double dip like that I think is still rare. Also, I do not count re-releases that occur years after the first edition in all of this.) With the premium priced SE all you can really do is hope you can find a good discount online or wait for a sale like the DDD 20% off which is essentially the same thing as waiting for the double dip to be released anyway.
     
  3. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    Those who buy barebones new releases (Sin City, Man on Fire) should know what they're buying.

    Budget movie-only releases after the SE, like 1-disc Close Encounters are OK too.

    However, I wish studios would stop with the same day barebones release because it significantly drives up the cost of the SE (by intention no doubt).

    One case where I didn't mind was Raging Bull SE, because the SE was only $2 more if you knew where to go.

    But in most cases, a 'same day SE' will run you almost $10 more and while I love extras that's too much for what is often a blind buy anyway.

    Another result of 'same day SEs' is that the used market is often flooded with the barebones release with no SEs for the frugal buyer.

    For example, I had no problem finding a used copy of The Aviator SE because that's the only release of the film, but good luck finding M&C SE in the used market (aside from Ebay).
     
  4. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I see it all the time here.

    I'm not ok with them doing the double dip. If I knew ahead of time like Lord of the Rings, I'm fine with it.
     
  5. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    Actually I don't mind it. I buy all of my new releases from a local shop that I like to support (plus I get stuff early [​IMG] ), and I always pay 75% (sometimes 70%) of list price.

    Now in the case of WB's two-tier releases, the list prices are usually 28.98 and 30.98. So for me, I'm only spending $1.50 more to get the 2-disc edition. Plus what I'm paying there is what I would have paid (or close to it) for the 2-disc at a place like Best Buy, so no big deal.

    Now in the case of releases like War Of The Worlds and Walk The Line, the 1-disc lists for 29.99 and the 2 disc is 39.99. In these cases I still buy the 1-disc. As much as I love the cover art for the Walk The Line 2-disc, nothing on the 2nd disc really interests me, and I can't justify paying an extra $8 just for a different cover.

    I think the thing to keep in mind here is that if we didn't get the two-tier releases at the same time, we would either get the 2-disc later on as a double dip, or we wouldn't get it at all. The days of getting a loaded 2-disc new release as a loss leader are gone.
     
  6. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    Just wanted to light this thread up again because this practice is certainly becoming the norm. Reading over this thread made me realize just how long this has been going on and it's only getting worse - Batman Begins, Harry Potter 4, Narnia, Walk the Line, Lord of War, Jarhead, the list goes on.

    I can understand the studio wanting to get a premium price for premium content. I can buy that - and I often do. But when they put together a kickass 2-disc SE that actually makes use of the space available on 2 DVDs - and then sell a single-disc version completely stripped of those "disc 1 extras" and make it instead, quite literally, JUST the movie - that pisses me off.

    Unfortunately, we've become used to getting a quality new release SE for under $20 and now it's gonna have to be closer to $25 if we want the same amount of features. For me, that's going to mean waiting longer before I buy and getting it on sale once it's old news.
     
  7. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    All I can say is "thank god for eBay." $7.99 for the 3-disc Mystic River!

    Got Batman Begins in a buy-1-get-1-free sale from Columbia House.

    This just forces us to be more creative in our bargain-hunting. [​IMG]
     
  8. Matthew Clayton

    Matthew Clayton Stunt Coordinator

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    I like the standard and SE same day releases, because it gives the consumers a choice on what they want to get (rather than a barebones edition first and then a full-blown 2-disc SE months later). Sure, I don't like the price gouging when I want to get the 2-disc edition (such as the SE for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), but usually I save more money when I preorder online. But I like the choices they give us, which is a plus for me.

    And there are plenty of high-profile barebones titles I got because the extras didn't interest me: The Polar Express, Batman Begins, War of the Worlds, and Master and Commander. I plan on also getting the single-disc editions of Walk the Line and King Kong.
     
  9. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

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    I look at this way: By giving consumers a choice from the get go it actually saves me money on most titles. Instead of buying the initial release *and* a later lavish special edition, I sometimes spend a bit more initially (Amazon has been killing B&M on pricing some of these releases) and don't have to worry about it later on. The only one who really loses is my family: they don't get the hand me downs! [​IMG]
     
  10. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    That's a really good point David. Maybe you spend $16 on a single disc, only to buy the 2-disc for $20 later on. Maybe you can get $8 net for the 1-disc by then. So, you spend $28 in total. or you spend ~$23 upfront.

    Of course in my case, I rarely rebuy a recent film as a 2-disc unless there are noticeable improvements in the film presentation, or I love the film so much I want the extras (rare).
     
  11. Chris Farmer

    Chris Farmer Screenwriter

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    Nah, that's just what the studios and retailers want you to believe. What's happened is that the standard release has now become the one disc edition. Before, $15 or $16 on release day got you the full blown two disc edition. That was true for most big releases up until about Master and Commander, which was the first to buck the trend and offer the bare bones edition at$15 and the SE at $30+. The hell of it is, people who don't want special features aren't saving a dime. They think they are, because now they're "not paying for things they won't use," but it's the same cost anyway. $16 for a bare bones edition is objectively a far worse deal than $16 for a two disc edition, whether you use the features or not. A good deal is keeping the price of the 2 disc editions the same and offering a bare bones edition for less, say $12-13. What we're seeing here isn't a good deal, it's just dressed up as one.

    This practice offers no benefit to consumers whatsoever. People who don't want the features are paying the same amount they were before and getting less for the money, whether they care or not, and people who do want them are paying more money. The only people who benefit are the retailers/studios. Retailers by the WB pricing, and studios by the Fox pricing. Consumers get shafted in either case.
     
  12. dana martin

    dana martin Cinematographer

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    and all of this is going to change yet again

    SD
    SD SE
    SD SuperBit (Sony)
    SuperBit SE
    BD

    now with the thought in mind that some of the manufactures are saying day for day release, amazon just might be the way to go from now on, B& M have to figure what shelf space they are willing to give up then ti becomes a tier system
    20
    30
    40
    50
    60
    and that isn't even taking in double dips,
     
  13. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    I wouldn't mind an extra buck or two extra for a 2-Disc edition if that was actually the reality of the price difference at the B&M stores. But as has been noted, the 2-Disc editions do not get similar markdowns as the 1-Disc editions. I don't know what store you are going to, but something like that sure doesn't exist where I am that I have found.

    The other problem with the separate editions is that it makes the 2-Disc hard, if not impossible to find if you don't want to buy. My Blockbuster will only stock the 1-Disc, my local Library will also purchase the 1-Disc and the same with Netflix.
     
  14. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    Will,

    I'm not saying the 2-disc is cheaper than regular B&M's, I'm saying the place I go to doesn't loss lead the 1-disc, and their price on the 2-disc is pretty much the same as what regular B&M's sell it for.

    For example, the typical list price structure for WB's 1-disc and 2-disc releases is 28.98 and 30.98 respectively. Since the shop I go to does a straight 25% off list pricing that would make the 1-disc 21.74 and the 2-disc 23.24. Since most B&M's are selling the 2-disc for somewhere between 22.99 and 24.99, it's kind of a no brainer for me to get the 2-disc at my shop. But if I was getting the 1-disc I would obviously be paying more. Sometimes I do anyway, as I get to support a local shop and get it for the weekend prior to release. Now with Fox's 1-disc and 2-disc releases, they usually do 29.99 and 39.99. So in these cases I stick with the 1-disc unless I really love the movie. I just bought the 1-disc Walk The Line, because there's nothing on the 2nd disc that sounded interesting to me.


    Let's face it, most people (not HTF members) aren't going to care about the second disc when they impulse buy a disc the week of release. So in the studios' minds, they may be thinking "Why go the extra expense of a second disc when stores will loss lead it?". If they can save money by selling a 1-disc to B&M's for loss leading purposes, and extra an extra $5-$10 from collectors and enthusiasts, I can't say I blame them. I'm willing to bet if you rented any new release 2-disc edition, you'd find the second disc virtually untouched.

    Like I said before, if the studios were to eliminate one of the options, it's going to be the 2-disc. That's just the way it is now. Other than voicing our displeasure to the stores and studios, or not buying either version, what can we do?
     
  15. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the psychological aspect of all this is rather funny. For me, I can totally justify whipping out a $20 bill for a new DVD. Impulse or planned purchase - at my local B&M. Maybe I get change (great!) and maybe it's JUST enough. But $20 is my mental breakpoint for a new (single film) DVD. Once the cashier wants more than $20, I start mentally wrestling with the decision and I start hearing my wife's voice telling me we don't need to OWN this title. I think this new trend is going to seriously impact the number of titles I buy because I HATE bare bones discs. If only on principle! [​IMG]
     
  16. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    Greg,

    What do you do if the title is 19.99? or even 18.99? Dang tax! [​IMG]
     
  17. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    I live in CT so tax is 6%. That means the DVD has to be under $18.79 for it to be a no-brainer for me. [​IMG] I typically like to buy at Target where I could often get new release SE's for anywhere between 15.99-17.99. Gone are those days, or so it would seem....
     
  18. Nathan A

    Nathan A Second Unit

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    No benefit indeed.
     
  19. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    Well maybe in some cases, but it would be nice if 2-Disc versions had better availability without having to buy. For example, I would have gotten the 1-Disc of Spielberg's War of the Worlds and just Netflixed the second disc of extras had it been available. Netflix apparently only stocked the single disc version. So I had to lay out significantly more money to be able to see the extra features.
     
  20. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    Nathan,

    I understand your frustration, but as DVD has hit its highest saturation point, the studios need to find other ways to maximize profits. It's not surprising they would find a way to give us less for the same money.

    Here's a similar situation. Companies like Frito Lay have been gradually recuding the net amount of chips per bag. It used to be something like 14 oz. Then 13 oz. I've see some 12 1/12 oz bags. But they certainly haven't lowered the price. This is what's happening with DVD.

    Personally, I rarely watch special features once, if at all, for most releases. The only reason I would buy a 2-disc version is if there wasn't much a price difference where I shop, or I was thinking ahead to resale value. Hate to say it, but I'm fine with the single-disc in most cases.

    I definitely respect anyone's desire to fight studios on this. But I can't help feeling this is like saying "milk used to be $1.69 a gallon, now it's $3.29. I'm not buying anymore milk." The price is never going to go down.
     

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