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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by James Reyes, Aug 28, 2001.
Simple answer-no. Same stuff you buy in the stores.
The slightly more complicated answer: It wouldn't make any sense for them to be. It would cost more to remaster an "inferior" version than it would to just manufacture more of the standard issue. Economics of scale.
The only difference is that they (CDs, not sure about DVDs) say that they are manufactured for distribution through Columbia House. Anyone who's ever worked retail knows why this difference is important.
The DVDs are the exactly the same DVDs you would get at a B&M or online.
I know the CDs are pressed at a different place than the ones sold in stores, but are probably from the same master.
Cassettes and 8-tracks from record clubs were another story though- the covers were always different, and I remember listening to a cassette of Duran Duran's "Rio" that sounded absolutely terrible. (I have a Columbia House 8-track of that album that sounds better; they made 8-tracks of new albums for several years after stores quit selling them.)
I was in their laserdisc club for a while and the LDs were exactly the same as the store-bought ones (barcodes on the cover, no "Manufactured For Columbia House" stuff), I don't know what they're doing with DVDs.
For those of us that haven't worked reatil, could you enlighten us on what the 'manfactured for...' means?
CH licenses with the label to sell the title, but they don't buy the actual product from the label. They get access to masters of the audio and artwork and then manufacture the product themselves or contract it out. They will usually modify the artwork, but not the CDs. As has been noted, if they contract out cassette tapes or 8-track, the quality may vary. With a digital medium, there should be less variation.
This allows them to utilize capacity in other factories and negoiate better duplication prices.
Andrew in Austin
Sony DVP-S530D DVD Player
Sony STR-DA333ES A/V Receiver
Sony KP-57XBR10W Rear Projection TV (16:9)
Infintiy SM 120 (L & R)
Infinity SM Video (center)
Infinity SM 165 (surround)
Infinity BU-120 (subwoofer)
Also of note: Columbia House is owned by Sony and AOL-TW, so Sony and WB CDs are not "licensed to..." they are the same ones. It wouldn't make sense to make a parallel version of the catalog, duplicating inventory.
If you order the newest Tori Amos from columbia house, it will be the same CD (not) selling down at the local Tower Records.
This same debate went on for a while in Usenet's rec.audio.high-end. Some people swore they could hear differences between retail and record club versions.
I suppose it was just a matter of time before it hit DVD's.
Just as someone else here pointed out, it wouldn't make
economic sense to make a version that was any more different other than the labeling.
Tobor realized the error in his logic and fully understood the penalty of death from EMP.
Speaking as a former retail store manager of 13 years...
...the reason why, as a retailer, it is important to be able to identify which product comes from "Columbia House" or similar clubs. Picture this scenario:
* A Sam Goody (SG) location gets 10 copies of "Friday the 13th Part 17" (F13p17), like every other location in the chain.
* Columbia House (CH) offers it as part of their DVD deal: "Buy 4 discs for a penny and then fulfill your commitment by...blah blah blah". Star Wars Episode 12 (SWe12) is nowhere on the list of titles for that deal.
* Joe Six-Pack (J6P) wants SWe12 but doesn't want to pay $20 for it at SG.
* J6P gets the CH deal and includes F13p17 as a choice, paying just 1/4th of a cent for it (plus shipping, natch).
* J6P takes the shrinkwrapped F13p17 to SG: "I don't have a receipt, because this was a birthday gift. I'd much rather have SWe12; can we do an even exchange?".
* SG performs good customer service and does the exchange.
* 49 other customers get the wrong "birthday present" (the CH deal) and SG does exchanges on all of them, since they have no way of knowing it's CH product for under 1¢ each!
* 50 customers are ecstatic that they got SWe12 for nothing
* SG has 60 copies of F13p17, since they didn't sell any of the original 10 copies they got.
* SG must try to negotiate with Paramount, maker of the F13p17 discs, for a return or markdown on all that inventory...more than they bought in the first place!!
* Fox, distributer of SWe12, makes out very well as they sell more copies of that title to the SG chain. But next time they might be the ones on the losing end of such a deal.
The retailer (SG in my example) can't possibly win in this scenario. If they tell a customer to piss off, then that info spreads to other customers. But, having the box marked in a special way to indicate that it is from CH will give them all the excuse needed to tell the customer "we can't do an exchange, because you definately didn't buy that from us".
This is why hardcover books from the Science Fiction Book Club are reduced approximately 1/3rd in size compared to their retail store counterparts. Book retailers demanded a way of recognizing these items on-spot with no question.
I guess as consumers we all wish we could take advantage of these things, but those guys ARE all in business to make a profit. If we don't let them make a profit, they won't be here tomorrow to provide more neat stuff for us to buy!!!
Widescreen is Family Fun!
10 thousand apologies for being so COMPLETELY off topic, but...
David, don't you find it ironic that the upsizing of your 'anamorphic is better' graphic exhibits what appear to be JPEG compression artifacts, but what a lot of people on this board would call Edge Enhancement?
Columbia House discs had better not be inferior, as you end up paying over retail on new releases.
Welcome aboard the Satellite of Love
I don't know about the DVDs, but I heard that Music Artists don't get compensated for the CDs CH and and their ilk sell, something about "promotional" discs, or something like that. Anyone know if there's any truth in that, and how it might relate to movies?
Just out of curiousity....
Those of you who belonged to the Columbia House LD club, what was an example of a good deal? How did it compare to the DVD club, where, for example, you can buy eight DVDs which average out to about 10.00 a piece after shipping and tax, etc.
I know this doesnt make that big of a difference, and I cant speak for all Paramount movies, but all the Paramount movies I've gotten from Columbia House have a slightly different UPC code than the ones sold at retailers. So theoretically, if I were to try to return a Paramount movie that I got from CH to Best Buy or any major retailer, it shouldnt scan in their system.
For those of you who have DVD Profiler, try searching by name for a Paramount movie, like Ferris Bueller, or Rosemary's Baby for example, and you will more than likely see two entries with one digit off on the UPC code. One is the CH version and one is the retailer version.
I havent noticed this with any other studio though, and as far as I can tell, the discs themselves are no different from the retail versions.
Even if CH did put a little line on the bottom of the packaging that said Mfg for Columbia House, I dont think that too many people complain......but then again, some of the crap DVD people complain about really puzzles me.
The LD club was awesome. You could pick all expensive box sets for your initial club offering then buy the cheapest LDs as your fulfillment selections. I made out like a bandit with that club.