Random Factoid #476

16 11 2010

Well, there goes Redbox as being a great deal for consumers.

Studios have been running one step behind in terms of catching up with consumer’s taste in moviewatching.  By the time they get there to jack up the prices, the boat has sailed away to the next big thing.  Looks like Redbox is just another has-been now.

According to Company Town, Fox will begin charging a premium on DVD releases through Redbox beginning with the release of “Knight & Day” in December (darn you, Tom Cruise).  This is supposedly the alternative to delaying their release by 4 weeks, the past strategy to maximize profits on DVD sales.

Here’s my theory on what will happen: people might not notice at first, since it’s just a few movies.  Then, every studio will start doing it for their new movies, and people will turn away.  Eventually, they will charge a premium on every movie with an actor you’ve heard of, leaving the $1 rentals for cheap knock-offs alone.  Some will argue that iTunes has remained successful in spite of their price increase, but let me remind you that Apple has a virtual monopoly over the e-music industry.  There are alternatives to Redbox.

The big question is: what will rise in the post-Redbox era?  Will this just ensure Netflix’s continued success?

Random Factoid #465

5 11 2010

“We don’t have an obligation to give consumers what they want when they want it.”

That’s a real quote from a studio executive, and if this profit-hungry motivation doesn’t have you up in flames, I don’t know what will.

I understand that the movie industry is losing money across the board (so much for the cries of recession-proof, eh?), but taking advantage of your consumers is NOT the way to make up the deficit.  According to /Film, this is the state of the industry:

“Despite a few prominent successes at the box office this year, the industry is in a state of financial turmoil, with DVD sales cratering, Blu-Ray sales not compensating, and the rise of rental companies like Netflix and Redbox, offering consumers a way to see a movie for cheap.”

I think Netflix and Redbox are great (I have become avid users of both this year), and with the latter announcing plans to go digital, the future is not in discs anymore.  It’s on the Internet.

Universal, Fox, and Warner Bros. have all been skeptics of the new frontier, waiting four weeks to release their movies digitally out of fear that it will affect DVD sales.  They are only about to get worse, according to /Film.  A Warner Bros. executive said, “To be honest, I think [the window] a little short today versus what we probably need … that will get revisited as those deals expire.”  And to make matters worse, they plan on limiting the movies released to Netflix instant streaming, which is quickly becoming their most used feature.

I buy few DVDs anymore, and thanks to iTunes and Netflix offering HD rentals and streaming, I don’t feel the need to buy a Blu-Ray player.  We are entering the digital age of movies, and it’s time that the studios embrace it.  I have embraced it, so should they.  There will always be a place for these discs, although first it will be in the dust and soon after in a museum next to the VHS tapes and LaserDiscs.

(For all those desiring a more business-savvy approach to this topic, check out the great piece that The Los Angeles Times ran a few weeks ago.)

Random Factoid #263

17 04 2010

Scott over at “He Shot Cyrus” posted a probing question in one of his many comments yesterday (follow his lead, other readers):

How do you get your movies now? Hollywood or Blockbuster?
Netflix just takes a little planning ahead and while the physical rental stores are still good for quick picks, I save so much money on late fees. Also, their selection is untouchable.

I’ll break it down for you all in order of frequency.

  1. Houston Public Library.  Seriously.  They have pretty much any movie I could want from the past decade, and it just takes a little planning (like Scott said).  Another big plus is that I can have up to 15 movies out at a time.  And did I mention it’s free?
  2. iTunes.  It’s where I go to get my quick fixes for movie cravings (and for some things that the library might not have).  I have an Apple TV, so I can watch iTunes rentals on practically any electronic device I own (because I have an iPhone, albeit a cracked one).
  3. Blockbuster.  Ever since they did their bizarre rental schism, I’ve been reluctant to go there.  But when I need a movie that hasn’t been released electronically, this is where I go.
  4. On Demand.  AT&T has some nifty on-demand movies on U-Verse, but I usually choose iTunes just because of the more diverse viewing options it offers.
  5. Redbox.  I chronicled my first visit to Redbox back in December, and since then I have only gone back once (I got “Moon,” for those who are particularly curious).  I have a couple of coupons for free rentals, so I can imagine using them whenever summer rolls around.

Hope this proves enlightening for those of you thinking, “Gosh, how does that Marshall watch his movies.”  Rest easy tonight, you formerly weary souls.

Random Factoid #155

30 12 2009

Today, I discovered Redbox.

I really wanted to see “District 9” again but didn’t want to hassle with Blockbuster.  I stumbled upon a blog that gave me codes for a free rental, so I decided to try it out.

Boy, some of those boxes had next to no movies.  I practically had to scour the town to find “District 9,” but I managed to find it at a Walgreens.

I’m not sure if it’s worth the hassle (and yes, I know that I can reserve them online), so we’ll just see Redbox keeps my business.