Are the Days of HTF Influence with the Studios over?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dick, Oct 12, 2002.

  1. Dick

    Dick Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    6,294
    Likes Received:
    2,319
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Maine
    Real Name:
    Rick
    There are certainly plenty of red flags out there: Pan and Scan-only releases in spite of HTF member protests (do you think Warner would bend to requests for a widescreen edition of WILLY WONKA if they were just releasing the film today?); the seeming end of live chats with studio reps and their decreasing participation on forum threads; cut backs in screeners for reviews; special edition features geared toward children and away from film buffs ("Harry Potter," to cite one example, plus the dropping of trailers on many recent releases), etc. I think that the worst fears of some posters a year or two ago are truly coming to fruition. We simple don't matter much anymore. God, how I hate seeing this wonderful format being taken over by people who couldn't give a damn about the medium as an art form. It's all commerce now. Shit.
     
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,563
    Likes Received:
    195
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    In my honest opinion, I think the web has pretty much destroyed the tie between internet forums/reviewers and the studios.

    If I remember correctly from some complaint threads, there were comments like "F___ you" or "What's wrong with these stupid studios" or something to the effect of those.

    Things would be MUCH better for films with forums like this one would work with studios instead of being for or against.

    I'd personally like to see HTF studio chats return. That way, we can SUGGEST what do with releases instead of insult and criticize on and on. Instead of making the millionth complaint about packaging or including DTS, WORK with them.

    The people who come here are the easiest to please DVD-wise, so why not?
     
  3. Jeffrey Gray

    Jeffrey Gray Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2001
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The problem is that we are no longer the majority of DVD buyers. As DVD has crept into the mainstream, we have started losing whatever influence we had over the industry. Not that we had a ton of influence in the first place. I mean, the first generation of DVD fans had influence on the DVD industry, but the Home Theater Forum itself didn't have that much influence. It's just that we supported the same causes as the majority of DVD fans.

    And before you talk about Peter Staddon and Martin Blythe, realize that when we would get what we asked for, we were the people that were buying the most DVDs. They still listen to us...it's just that the execs don't anymore. They have realized that, by targeting the average consumers, they will make much more money, and they were apparently right. Thus, most of the major studios cater to them, instead of us.

    Fortunately, not all of them do this. Sure, there's Disney, who believes that they will make much more money if they go for the group of consumers that made them successful in the VHS days, and doesn't care about our feedback...but we also have Warner, who tries to give consumers the best-looking and best-sounding discs that they can, who actually realize that there's money to be had in catalog titles, and who actually listen to feedback, and try their best to satisfy the people who have complaints.

    You see, maybe we lost the influence we had on the industry, but we are still getting what we want for the time being, at least from some studios. And I believe that, although some studios won't do what we want from time to time, others will continue their efforts to satisfy us. I believe that all of the studios will eventually realize that they can't stop giving us what we want, but these things take time...we're just in a rough transition period for DVD.
     
  4. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2000
    Messages:
    1,189
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Studios sell to the retail stores not to the consumer. The retail stores sell to the consumer. Since money talks the studio's biggest purchaser "Wal-Mart" can call the shots. DVD belongs to the Wal-Mart shopper[​IMG]
    If they only kept the purchase price of a DVD player high:b
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,319
    Likes Received:
    6,568
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    For clarification purposes, HTF was just one of many on-line sites that influenced the Willie Wonka widescreen release. Also, as someone already commented, the studios sell their product directly to distributors/retail stores and not the consumer, thus our influence was not as great as some of us believed.

    Furthermore, sites like this one will eventually play an intregal part in the acceptance of the HD-DVD product once it's introduced to the market place. When that happens, perhaps, that market will remain more of a niche market for HT enthusiasts.



    Crawdaddy
     
  6. Jeffrey Gray

    Jeffrey Gray Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2001
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Robert Crawford:

    I know that we did help influence WB to put out a widescreen disc of Willy Wonka...but as I said in my last reply, Warner actually cares about consumer feedback. They removed the widescreen transfer at the last minute, and after reading the feedback, they realized they made a mistake, and decided to release widescreen version.

    Compare this to the whole Disney business, which had just as much support from the HTF, and yet went nowhere, mainly because, although they received a large amount of customer feedback, they did not listen to it...

    Our influence of the studios depends on whether or not they care about our feedback, listen to it, and try to do something about the issue (like Warner did with the Stanley Kubrick Colleciton, Willy Wonka, and Cats and Dogs), or not (like Disney has done every time an issue with one of their titles pops up).
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,319
    Likes Received:
    6,568
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    As a frequent critic of Warner, I am not about to give them a free pass as one of the best in listening to consumers. Examples being several titles non-OAR and the snapper case that annoys several consumers. Furthermore, I'm not exactly happy with their DVD release policy concerning their catelogue titles.

    Now, Disney has come a long way from where they were back in 1997-2000 time period, but they also realized that their bread and butter final consumers are not HT enthusiasts.



    Crawdaddy
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    48,288
    Likes Received:
    5,474
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    In some respects, yes, we do notice a change
    of attitude within the industry towards the
    internet. Most all of it I understand. Online
    forums such as this have become overly critical
    and demanding of the studios. I'm just as guilty
    as anyone else for promoting that attitude at
    times -- but I suppose all of that stems from the
    fact that the online community is very passionate
    about this format.

    I know for a fact many of the studio reps mentioned
    (and not mentioned) still read this forum. Your
    opinions here not only draw the attention of the
    marketing people, but perhaps people you would never
    have expected. When I receive a very kind letter
    of thanks from Director John Badham, I realize how
    far-reaching this forum really is.

    The fact that less studio people participate here
    is due to the fact that they have been chased away.
    I don't think I need to tell you about some of the
    posts that have shown up on this forum as well as
    others. No matter how many times we ask people to
    be constructive with their criticisms, there are
    always the few that turn their cause into personal
    attacks.

    I can tell you first-hand that one of the studio
    execs I talked with out in LA feels very
    uncomfortable about participating on-line. I think
    the reason is that the online community has become
    overly demanding towards the industry without
    realizing that there are reasons that the studios
    can't cater to everyone's needs.

    As far as live chats -- well, we haven't scheduled
    any. We sort of gave up on the chat process because
    of security concerns and the fact that we get these
    studio reps to participate and the next day members
    are hammering them in posts all over the forum.

    I can give you a piece of good news. There will
    be a MAJOR live chat in November with a VERY SPECIAL
    guest.
     
  9. RichardMA

    RichardMA Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Now that Warner is releasing FS only DVDs and no widescreen
    DVDs to Blockbuster for rental seems to point to a
    conscious decision on their part to screw enthusiasts.
    They are catering solely to Joe Sixpack now.
    Or they are trying to force the enthusiast to buy all
    the DVDs they want to see movies on.
     
  10. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2001
    Messages:
    11,380
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Great news about the chat!

    Industry people (in ANY industry) who ask for feedback, must grow skins thick enough to handle the very worst that consumers will throw at them. I personally dealt with that for several years. I never denied anyone their honest, heartfelt opinion, no matter how it was phrased. I just had to accept that none of it was personal.

    Also, what guarantee is there that HDTV will remain "more of a niche market"? HDTV is supposed to be getting out there for the masses, isn't it? If Sony and Phillips and Matsushita have their way, a High-Def TV set - whether 16x9 or not - should be on its way to becoming standard in every home, in well less than a decade. The FCC, with help from Congress, is pushing the US in that direction. When that happens (assuming it's successful), won't we just be cast aside again as HD-DVD goes mainstream?

    In the end, does HTF need to have influence with the studios in order to maintain the goals it was set up with in the first place? Don't get me wrong; I prefer to have the input with these people, in as many avenues as possible. But does it change what many of us are here for?
     
  11. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2002
    Messages:
    1,465
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
  12. Cameron Seaman

    Cameron Seaman Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 1998
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  13. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  14. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 1999
    Messages:
    11,267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Michael's right. Now personally I think this has a lot more to do with Warner's war on Blockbuster, but he's totally right

    So many people scream when they find stuff goes out of print or whatnot, and just don't realize that this is how the industry works, and has worked for 20 years
     
  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,319
    Likes Received:
    6,568
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert

    Bingo! Which is why I hesitate to give Warner undeserving kudos.




    Crawdaddy
     
  16. Jeffrey Gray

    Jeffrey Gray Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2001
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Robert Crawford:
    Who gives a damn about snapper cases? It's the movie that counts...and furthermore, they corrected their two biggest non-OAR mistakes, and have only released two (slipped under the radar and budget-priced) non-OAR-only discs since. Just two. And what release policy considering catalog titles? WB has been putting out great catalog titles, and the fact that there aren't many out is because they devote their time to getting the best print and best transfer possible.
    And everybody else...quit wasting your time bashing Warner, who has done very little wrong. There are many other studios making stupid mistakes, including Universal, Columbia, Fox, and of course, Disney. So why single out WB because of a style of DVD case, the mistakes they made back in 1997, and two discs announced to be P&S-only, and then given widescreen versions when Warner LISTENED to the large amount of feedback and complaints? (Listening to negative feedback and correcting their mistakes is something hardly any other studios have ever done, mind you.) It's just not worth it.
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,319
    Likes Received:
    6,568
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    Jeffrey,
    Just because you don't care about snapper cases doesn't mean other members don't have a problem with them. Also, unless I'm reading your remarks wrong, I don't appreciate your attitude that came across in your last post.
    Crawdaddy
     
  18. Jeffrey Gray

    Jeffrey Gray Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2001
    Messages:
    488
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Look, I really like Warner, and I just want all of you to realize that they're much better than you all seem to think they are. If my attitude was mean-spirited, I apologize.

    And as I said before about snappers, it's still the movie that counts. Make your own Amarays if you don't like the snapper, but it's still the movie that counts.
     
  19. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 1998
    Messages:
    7,585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There is no denying the harshness of online communication for the studio reps at times.
    I look at the questioning/criticism by Patrick and myself of the FOX Sunrise thing for example. I certainly respect the hell out of Peter for coming in, listening a bit and responding as much as possible...especially because I know that I have no ill-will toward him or his job (and I assume Patrick doesn't either) and yet even our comments are no walk in the park to read I'm sure.
    If that's the kind of criticism a respecting fan is dishing out, you can imagine how ugly it can get with much less respectful fans.
    I only hope that Peter realized that I said my peace and expected no more comment from him, specifically because I realized what a pain in the ass we can be. [​IMG]
    I do think he is an example of a rep that listened to what we had to say and tried to act upon it when possible. Can't ask for more than that.
    I also recall the MGM chat and their subsequent adjustments toward DVD releases. They didn't "snap to it" of course, but I do think they really improved dramatically. It also seemed like some of those changes WERE tied closely to comments that were made at the chat.
    All manufacturers LOVE feedback or testing. Its the kind of thing that marketing people usually pay for, so getting it free is a bonus.
    The problem for us is that the feedback is STRONGER from J6P sources now, such as Wallmart. We now represent a much weaker voice shouting in a crowd, so we just aren't going to get heard as much and listened to even less.
    Yet I still have hope simply because I think that many J6P ARE slowly being converted by the tech adjustment toward home theaters as a more common situation. More DD systems, HDTV sets, and so on. As these people get in tune with what DVD can be (as we already see it), some of their wants will adjust too.
    Not so much W/S vs P&S, but things like animated menus, forced trailers, easter eggs, etc. Those complaints/compliments stem from EXPERIENCE with the format, not just taste. New DVD player owners just don't know enough about how things differ for different titles to complain.
    But you can be sure that ALL DVD owners have some feelings about menus, special features, soundtracks, packaging, etc. They just might not really understand these items yet.
    Example - I bet you could go to a J6P and explain snappers vs keep vs digipack, etc and once they see that they are different, or simply know the names, I'd bet they would also have a "preferred" packaging too. They might already but just don't understand why they are different or what they are called, so that they could actually comment on it.
    In that way, the more saavy users that can be found at places like HTF still are going to provide very good feedback for studios. If you find it annoying or awkward to pull a DVD out, then you can bet other customers do too. And while you might just think of this as nit-picky, marketing people are also aware of the "negative experience" that consumers get with products. Branding is very critical in sales, and that subliminal association between a studio logo/movie and you not being able to get the disc out is still important to that, though you might not actively consider it.
    They want you to see their logo, hear their music, and think "mmm, happy thoughts". [​IMG]
     
  20. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    31,319
    Likes Received:
    6,568
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert

    Jeffrey,
    First off, I don't care about the snapper issue, but I do respect and appreciate other members that have a concern with the packaging issue.

    Secondly, in another thread I have praised Warner for doing a fine job on the Firefox dvd, but just because I hand out praise to a studio it doesn't mean they're above getting criticism for other issues.




    Crawdaddy
     

Share This Page