Weekly RoundUp 2/22/05

Discussion in 'Bargains and Deals' started by Mike Frezon, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. Joel Vardy

    Joel Vardy Supporting Actor

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    I checked with my local BB last night and the AatE is MIA and will not appear on their shelves in the future [​IMG] .

    Back to the online community. B&M's are getting less and less reliable in carrying catalog titles.

    I wonder if this tradition of carrying only B&M prices (other than Amazon) needs to be adjusted to account for the changing face of the industry. Pretty soon no B&M will carry anything beyond titles that are guarranteed blockbusters or a few years-old [​IMG] .

    Joel
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Well, Joel...history here seems to indicate that the B&Ms will carry the catalog titles eventually. They just don't seem to get them week-of-release.

    Prices offered up in the RoundUp for catalog titles usually seem to remain constant over the long haul. That is, they don't go up after the first week of release like the hot, new release titles.

    So, for example, The Agony and the Ecstasy (which HAD to be the set-up to an excellent Carnac the magnificent line somewhere along the way) WILL be available eventually at a store near you...and when you find it will likely be in that $8 - $10 range. I fully expect to find a dozen copies at my local BB or CC within a week or so.

    I think most people here know the possibilities and places to go on-line for good deals. There's always dvdpricesearch.com (a great resource!). And, I LOVE IT when people post a great new release deal at an on-line vendor here. I'm all about the bargains. But what I like about his format...as originated by my ol' buddy Dave Lambert....is that it gives me a good sense of what prices I can expect to find for a title as I head out to the stores to look around during release week.

    I've given a fair amount of consideration to adding other on-line vendors to the mix (although I definitely don't want to make the RoundUp any more labor intensive than it already is). I don't know about Dave's original thoughts, but i've always maintained the inclusion of Amazon.com because of its size. I consider it to be a bellwether site--that is, an indicator of what you can expect to find throughout the market in general.

    This discussion usually pops up whenever we have people passionate about catalog titles disappointed during release week (which, unfortunately, seems to be happening more and more).

    I'm always interested, though, in what people think about the RoundUp. Any feedback is welcome. That's how, for example, we ended up with the grid making it into table form recently. I heard everyone's comments about highlighting the low prices in the table and such...but I'm afraid I find that extra step to be a bit too time prohibitive right now.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I also struck out on TA&TE at BB, CC, and Target. I was looking for it because my dad wanted it. Oh well...
     
  4. Joel Vardy

    Joel Vardy Supporting Actor

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    Mike, you've done an excellent job here and I am indebted to the service you provide without any compensation. So I wrote this memo, not to reflect on the usefullness of your service (and Dave's before you) but to suggest there may be a 'c-change' going on in the industry. 90% of my experience with Amazon is that they are not price-competitive with say DDD or a couple of other sites. In the cases when they are I do business with them (mostly box-sets I believe, as well as books...).

    The case in question AatE was listed here as being low priced at BB and when I investigated the situation directly with one of the blueshirts he said that this title was 'not' going to be coming in 'at all'. Possibly he could have been mistaken [​IMG] , but this goes beyond the wait a week or two and check again at CC or BB to see if a couple of copies have come trickling in. In the past this has been the case though in a couple of instances that day never came and I just went back to my online stand-by's. Yesterday I weighed the option of getting Get Shorty and Heat SE's at my B&M or ordering them online for roughly the same cost (after taxes) but I was curious about a couple of the catalog titles I am seeking (Charly and AatE) and so I did the treck to BB. They clearly don't have much margin (if any) on these first week release titles so lo and behold they got me by pulling through the sale of a non-DVD item I was seeking (at MSRP no less) as well.

    This information you provide is invaluable to our community since if each of us did the research you have commited to we would be both less effective and less efficient. I trust you will not take offense to my suggestions. You may be altogether right about the way these B&M's operate but on the other hand we may be seeing some fundamental changes here.

    Joel
     
  5. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Let's see, in re A&E at B&M:

    Fry's - didn't order any, not on website, clerk asked if it was a porno title [​IMG]
    BB - didn't order any, website only
    CC - didn't order any, website only
    Barnes & Noble - ordered 1 (ONE) copy for 2 million + population metro SJ area, pre-sold, staff was stunned how many people came in off the street for it
    Borders - didn't order any, website only
    Costco - not on website, I haven't been in yet
    Target - not on website, I haven't been in yet

    Did I forget any B&M stores?

    I wonder how Fox markets titles like this. Somehow they didn't succeed in getting any interest at all in the B&M stores.
     
  6. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    I thought that sounded odd, since Target.com's DVDs/books/CDs are powered by Amazon.com. They DO have it listed. Not sure what the MSRP is, but they have it for $9.98:

    here
     
  7. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Right. Target doesn't have DVD's as such on their own website, so you can't use that information to predict whether they may or may not have it in their B&M stores.
     
  8. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i was able to find what appeared to be the last disney gift card at my best buy.
    this is important because it has a coupon in it for disney dvds.
    buy 1 get $3 off,2 get $5 off, 3 $10 off, 4 get $15 off.
    so i bought all 3 new miyazaki titles and old yeller.
    all for 13.99 each, plus now i can send in for the $1.99 one too.
     
  9. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    OK, gotcha...
     
  10. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I was at my local Circuit City myself tonight in search of nothing but Agony/Ecstasy. I came up empty. The red shirt was completely clueless when I asked about the title.

    I asked if he knew if he had any copies of The Agony and the Ecstasy. He asked me to repeat the title. I did. He said, "so that's two movies?" It went downhill from there.

    I told him it was a new release Tuesday. He went off to look at the new release shelf. I told him I already did that. He couldn't find it in his little computer printout at all. I told him it was a drama. He started to look in the drama section. I told him I already had. He went and looked on his computer at the cc.com website. Found it after struggling with the spelling and pronounced, "We don't have any!" [​IMG]
     
  11. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Well I'm off to Costco to buy salmon and beer, so I'll see if they have any copies of A&E. My box of 10 from DDD arrives tomorrow anyway.

    My experience with a clerk at BB was the most productive. He actually could spell "agony" and "ecstasy", and asked me what it was about. I told him it starred Chuck and Rex in their roles, was directed by "the third man" Carol Reed, and was shot in Todd-AO and won the Oscar for cinematography. He said it sounded interesting and that he would have to look up a copy for himself.

    Barnes and Noble was also odd. I walked up to the movie desk and said I wanted a new release called "A&E". They didn't even have to look it up - they told me that people had been coming in all afternoon looking for it.
     
  12. Joel Vardy

    Joel Vardy Supporting Actor

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    No worries. I'm just pointing out a pattern of ever decreasing signs that the major discount B&M's are exhibiting, IMO. Every so often there is a week of interesting catalog releases and I use this forum to catch the price comparisons (as well as skimming the papers). More and more when I go to the usual suspects (CC, BB, Target) they either don't have the titles out during release week (in a couple of cases their records show that they only received 1 or 2 copies and they are gone now) or they have absolutely no record of any copies received and indicated that they are not anticipating getting them in the future. It is true that occassionally they start getting some copies after a few weeks but I suspect the iron is no longer 'hot' enough for them to even bother with that. They are teaching us (the fanatics) to look elsewhere. How many of us have the luxury of hunting for a given title all over the region where we live?

    There is still good reason to use B&M's for the more popular releases that are both competitive (even after taxes) with the online folks and give us the instant gratification of getting our hands on titles on release date. Costco is also changing its purchasing behavior and no longer devotes as much shelf space as it did in years past to DVD's in order to turn over their inventory in a profitable manner. They still come up with a surprise or two but it is getting more difficult to predict what they will carry. Occassionaly I've given up on them and several weeks later they show up with a surprise title at an advantaged price and I wind up kicking myself but it is hit and miss and I don't routinely go into Costco just to look what's new on their DVD shelves.

    As the DVD market is maturing DVD's are becoming commodity items similar to CD's and are no longer the curiousity they once where. The list of must have catalog titles that are not yet released has peaked and ultimately we in the fanatic end of the market are looking for ever less well-known titles that just doesn't get the attention of the casual moviegoers. This is evidenced by the stories you are all sharing. Once Star Wars, Indy, Back to the Future and other popular classics became available the anticipation has dropped off for the public at large and now it is all about recently produced movies.

    Hope this wasn't a rediculously long rant but I had to get it out of my system. For the record, I am still anticipating a few titles that seem to be MIA but have rumors flying about.

    Joel
     
  13. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    And it looks as if another "holy grail", Song of the South, will be falling by the wayside next year.

    So Joel, let me ask you (and anyone else), this question: If YOU were putting together the Weekly RoundUp...what sources would you find most useful in determining your DVD-buying patterns?

    I offered up the idea of replacing Amazon.com with deepdiscountdvd.com Anyone have any thoughts on that? Any thoughts on other vendors? Do you like things the way they are? This thread's already got 3200+ hits this week (which I suppose is about average for a week not featuring a huge blockbuster title). So, there must be people out there with ideas.

    I dropped Sam's Club from the RoundUp months (maybe a full year) ago. They were inconsistent in their pricing and the titles they carry. Maybe CostCo is going the same route. I frequent BJs Wholesale Club and find their selection to be spotty at best.

    Personally, I like having the prices for the B&Ms that are most likely to carry the titles I want. And, BB, CC & Target seem to be the most popular retailers doing regular DVD business across the country. I would LOVE to be able to include Wal-Mart in the RoundUp but their regional pricing structure does not permit it. (I always think back on my little experiment of asking roundUp readers to post Wal-Mart prices the week the Star Wars Trilogy was released. I was amazed at the spread of different prices we saw that week!)

    Please...anyone interested...add your thoughts. [​IMG]
     
  14. Joel Vardy

    Joel Vardy Supporting Actor

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    I'll pick up the challenge:

    1) I would keep Wal*Mart off the list for the reasons you already cited (regional pricing). They actually offer very little in terms of competitive pricing in my area [​IMG] .

    2) BB, CC and Target are good benchmarks of competition and for the time being are still willing to go the 'loss leader' route to draw on their core customers.

    3) I might still show Amazon for a while since they are consistent, even if not always price leaders.

    4) I would like to see DDD added to the list since this might encourage them to be more consistent as well. When they are high they are very high (much higher than B&M's on selected titles). When they are the price leader most people are not aware of their position and this effects their inventory for that title (they seem to be very judicious about keeping low inventories).

    5) I like that you include Costco. In my case it is very useful though the accuracy is dropping off since they are not always going to follow the same pricing or stocking patterns between their online and their warehouse locations. Perhaps an adjustment to the specifics on this part of the list could be made in the first couple of weeks based on eyes in the street reporting here. I need to think about this one a bit...

    6) It seems to me that when Dave decided to keep this list B&M only he already made the concession to Amazon. We might just expand it to DDD and perhaps DVD Empire (though the later is problematic for me since shipping costs in my area are also included with state taxes). I don't know if Buy.com would be worthwhile since they have been quite inconsistent I hear (I used to frequent them quite alot, especially after DVDExpress went belly up and buy.com carried the 40% discount policy for preorders).


    All in all I wish DDD would upgrade their systems (their online information for tracking is abominable) and DVD Empire would find some way to ship from out of state for PA residents. I went from 100% online shopping to 20% to about 50% now. I don't know if others are splitting their orders between vendors, B&M's and online, or are just doing things out of habit and convenience. We all make decisions about 'value'. I remember my uncle telling me that 'some people will travel 10 miles to save a penny'. I guess I make similar judgments based on convenience vs. reliability vs. immediate gratification vs. habit vs. change of pace ...

    Hope that gets the ball rolling for your poll, Mike. Thanks for accepting the challenge. Perhaps at the end you'll decide that the current structure works for the majority. If that's the case I encourage you to stick to your format. It already is more readable and is fulfilling an important function here [​IMG] .

    Thanks for all your efforts. I know it helps to know that you're appreciated.

    Joel
     
  15. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    I have found, in the past 18 months, that I am buying 95% of new titles locally, particularly at BB. When Mike posts each week, I'll run a specific title I'm interested in through DVD Price Search to see if any online retailer comes close. While the base price may be slightly better, once you figure in shipping, it's cheaper to buy it here and pay tax. Plus, I get it right away. On catalog titles, it's just the opposite.

    Mike, what about running your weekly list through DVDPS and see which online retailer has the lowest overall price for a majority of the titles and adding just that retailer in? I can see that being a ton of work however. Or, picking the top two or three consistenly lowest online retailers and adding them?

    IMO, whatever you decide, I appreciate your work each week and look forward to it every Sunday!
     
  16. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    FWIW, Here's my thoughts about the Roundup.

    I find this useful for the b&m prices. The online prices I ignore, because it's trivial to look up those prices myself. But without going physically to the stores, the roundup gives me an idea of what the prices are going to be at Best Buy, Target, Costco, etc. That's what I find useful.

    For myself, I wouldn't find additional online prices of any use. If you were going to add a price, I'd find Borders more useful. Sure, they tend to be overpriced. But they also are often accompanied by 10-20% off coupons that can lead them to being a bargain, and they certainly have the deepest catalog stocking of any of the b&m's.

    Anyway, those are my two cents, Mike. Your hard work is very appreciated.
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Mike,
    I wouldn't change a thing, your roundup is just fine and I thank you for the hard work you put into it.







    Crawdaddy
     
  18. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Pat, george & Robert:

    Thank you all for responding...and for all the nice words.

    I would like to encourage further feedback from others. I'll re-post the question in next week's thread...which I just put to bed and will be posting soon! [​IMG]
     

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