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EU To Investigate DVD pricing

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the suspicious-behavior dept.

Movies 257

traffosky writes: "At this address, the BBC says that the EU's competition commissioner, Mario Monti, is about to lauch an investigation into DVD pricing policies on the European side of the Atlantic. He is unhappy with the fact that EU consumers pay about 25% more than their US counterparts. He will also be asking Hollywood about the regional coding system. I'm not sure if the BBC 'get it' yet, though: they filed this story under "Entertainment: Film"." Perhaps this zoning thing will draw even more deserved scrutiny -- as it already has from a UK supermarket chain and from the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) down under.

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they need to investigate this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161331)

Some things [wolfe.net] just ain't right!

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161332)

so why do cds cost more than tapes which which cost much more to produce?

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161333)

I wish that someone (or some group) would check out the prices of CD's in the states (and around the worls for that matter). I know that there are marketing and royalty costs that come with each CD but to pay $15 for a CD is crazy.

Try paying $33-$40 per CD in Japan, $50 and up for DVDs.

It's a great model: have the lowest prices in the country where you have the most sales (the USA), then jack the prices up everywhere else.

Since none of the Americans will complain (unless he/she is an import DVD/CD fanatic), the companies keep their price fixing, drowning out the complaints of the smaller countries.

this sig is lame.

Which Department? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161334)

Yes, this is offtopic.

"from the dept."

what?

Re:The Solution! I have the Solution! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161335)

The best way to get the price of DVDs down is to stop buying them!!!

This is a very naive point of view in my opinion.
If the market was competetive the price would equal
marginal cost

But when companies are big enough to influence market prices
they will set the price too high, knowing that some consumers
won't buy the product.

Splitting the market is a way to discriminate consumers
and this has negative overall effects.

/Nicholai

Re:Wonder how EU will take it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161336)

And am I the only person in the world that is worried about the fact that all Switzerland's neighbouring countries would describe them as "shy, quiet.. keep themselves to themselves.. seem like really nice, polite fellows, wouldn't hurt a fly". It's only a matter of time.

Not only that, but now they want to start arming their troops in foreign countries.

I'll be watching those Swiss. Anyone who can make a knife that useful is a force to be reckoned with!

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161338)

Ok, I work for an independent record label, and I think you'd be surprised how much money it costs to make a CD. sure it only costs about a penny in raw materials, but a CPU probably only costs about $1 in raw materials and we'll glady pay $400 for one. Ok so let's break it down to the cost of the label:

$1 - to make the physical and Cd and jewel case.
$1 - artwork (booklet and tray card)
let's add 50 cents just to make it $2.50 to cover freight and all the other misc costs (mechanical royalties, shrink wrap, stickers, catalog insert, etc.).

ok, now we have a physical disc.

most stores mark up product about 50 percent right, so if a CD sells for $15 in the store, let's say they bought it for $7.50. but usually the stores buy from distributors, not the label, and let's say the distributor marks up 15-20%, so let's say the label sells it to the distributor for $6. minus the $2.50, we have $3.50.

at our label, we split the profits 50-50 with the artist, so that leaves us with $1.75 "profit" on a CD sold at $15 in stores.

that $1.75 has to make up the cost of making promo CD's, sending CD's to magazines and radio stations, placing ads, making phone class, paying employees, paying rent, etc. How can we possibly lower the price? unless you have a HUGE hit, or you keep losts really low, you can't even make money.

and unless the band sells the label the publishing rights, the labels sees nothing of radio airplay.

sorry if that was jumbled, but i'm tired, and this kinda thing really annoys me. do you honestly believe that record labels make like $14 off a CD sale. Well, Warner Bros. might because they own the manufacturer and the distributor and don't pay their bands crap.

Re:Region coding (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161339)

For example, the movie Titanic was distributed by Paramount in the US only, and Fox got the rights to sell it elsewhere.

This does not require region coding. Paramount and Fox could just as easily have the same contract without region coding. The only difference is that people would be able to transport Paramount's version into Fox's turf, and vice versa; thus creating competition.

Region coding exists to circumvent free-trade treaties, and thus to enforce selective pricing in various markets.

Re:pricing and demand (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161340)

You're missing the point here. This isn't about supply and demand - far from it. It's about large corporate conglomerates using technology as a means to forcibly control supply and demand. The "piracy" flag is always bandied about by these corporations in the name of some other pathetic way to fuck over the consumer. You shouldn't have to take the worst because that's what Hollywood decided your country is "worthy" of getting. You DESERVE the best choice your entertainment dollar should command on the truly free market, not the crumbs of bullshit they would have you pay for.

Power to the people.

Re:'Friad Not (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161341)

The movie companies abuse the region code in more than one way - several films that are long out of cinema are still being region coded without explaination. This is abuse, pure and simple.

Re:Logical Extension (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161342)

Well we already have area-dependent pricing as part of a normally operating marketplace: gas prices. I'm not talking about the state-to-state variation due to various reformulation requirements; I mean that I can find unleaded regular for $1.85 in South San Jose, but most pumps in (relatively affluent) Palo Alto are around $2.07.

That part isn't the problem -- if you want cheap gas you can drive a little farther to get it, and the market dictates that those prices will be set at exactly the point where profit is (locally) optimized. As long as the consumer has the ability to make that drive over to the next town (within reason), the marketplace works more or less as it should.

The problem with the region coding limitations is that they place an artificial restraint on market forces -- making it nominally impractical, for example, for someone to import a crate of DVDs from, say, India, and resell them in the U.S., even though the numbers might otherwise work out profitably (i.e. net profits more than cover the costs of importing and order processing). I have seen various posts suggesting a lawsuit against the movie industry for exactly this restraint of trade, but to my knowledge no one has taken any specific action yet.

As to your well-taken point about the evils of a fully encrypted end-to-end path, with users forced to buy "trusted client" machines, well, that is a different (albeit equally serious) problem altogether.

Region coding (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#161343)

I always viewed region coding as essential to releasing DVDs, simply due to the various legally binding distribution contracts. (Note: I am not saying this is a good way to do it, but i feel this is the reason for their existence)

For example, the movie Titanic was distributed by Paramount in the US only, and Fox got the rights to sell it elsewhere. To sell the same exact disc everywhere, both Paramount and Fox would have to agree on the disc features, extra footage copyrights, packaging, etc. Whereas if Paramount had one version, they wouldn't need Fox's approval. Compromise across corporate boundaries is often VERY difficult to broker.

This brokering would lead to serious delays in releasing of the disc globally. And actually might cost more to develop in the long run.

Tom

Re:Um.. (3)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 13 years ago | (#161345)

"No problemo. From now on, they'll charge $29 in US, $45 in Europe, while BillDaCat gets a special price of $95."

You know... he could swear up and down that he has no problem with that, and insist that they keep charging him $95, and it still won't make it inherently right. It would only illustrate who he sides with.

You will _not_ necessarily get a economic-libertarian-randroid type to acknowledge they're being unreasonable by throwing extreme cases at 'em. They will simply annoy you by fanatically insisting that they don't have any rights to fairness either, and that if they WANTED to, they could become the MPAA too (presumably by working through weekends and holidays! o_O ).

The only real argument you have is the argument that going with the most utterly pure form of free-market laissez-faire is NOT beneficial to society- that it goes out of balance. There's tons of evidence for this (sometimes softened by the vestiges of regulation and control, like with the California power grid), but you're not dealing with someone who places a value on society, typically you're dealing with someone whose only concern is 'can I be one of the winners?'.

If that's what you're up against, you can't win the argument, and you just have to over-rule them and shut them up. Talking of fairness only makes sense in a context where there is a society to be protected, and not everybody wishes society to exist. Some people want no rules and the death of the weak... which is a recipe for species extinction as the species charges into a local maximum, kills off all its diversity, and then croaks when conditions change and the finely optimised uber-people can no longer adapt because they're too inbred to what worked _last_ century.

Yes, this is an unusual way to look at it- your point?

And, _through_ looking at it that way, the reason they can't charge whatever the fuck they want is because it's bad for society for the biggest ass-kickers to be TOO efficient. We already have a somewhat limited set of choices for entertainment in the sense of 'movies to watch'. You're not gonna see big variety at your local movie house. The discriminatory pricing is only _part_ of a _pattern_ that also involves squeezing out other choices and dominating the public awareness completely. The more money they have to do that, the better they'll do it. Give them less money, they will be less able to do it- and that becomes a social good, allowing more options to arise over the long term, and take over from the MPAA if they really start to produce sucky products.

THAT is why they can't charge whatever they want. Not because they couldn't get away with it- because they could, and are, and in so doing they finance ever more expansion, past what is socially useful.

Of course, the EU just wants to get its DVDs cheaper ;) but this is why they should be _allowed_ to when the MPAA can successfully pull off cartel/monopoly pricing.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (2)

charlie (1328) | more than 13 years ago | (#161348)

Your $15 CD's are sold in the UK, an EU member state, for 15 -- at the current exchange rate, that's US $22.

Note that in many cases these CD's are pressed and packaged locally. Imports are flagged as such and typically sold for upwards of 20.

The artists typically see only about 10% of the gross price -- the rest is divvied up along the supply chain, with the lion's share going to the record companies.

If you haven't already read it, read Courtney Love does the math [salon.com] on Salon, where she explains precisely where the money goes ...

just another moron tax (1)

joss (1346) | more than 13 years ago | (#161349)

It's like the lottery, a tax on stupid people. If you're too dumb to buy a multi-region player, then you're gonna take it the ass on a regular basis anyway. Multi-region players are perfectly legal, and easy to aquire in UK. Check out www.richersounds.co.uk.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (2)

stephend (1735) | more than 13 years ago | (#161351)

And yet, CDs in the states are still way cheaper than they are here in the UK. Chart CDs tend to be around £13 while less popular stuff goes up to £18.

I'd prefer to be able to pay US prices!

'Friad Not (2)

stephend (1735) | more than 13 years ago | (#161352)

If that were the real reason, they'd need *country* encoding. Region 1 is just the US and Canada (right?), so that might work. But Region 2 is Europe. Here we don't even speak the same language, so having the same distribution agreements would just be a pipe-dream...

The reason they *say* they want region coding is to reduce cost(!). If they release a film on the same day world-wide, it costs more and takes much more organisation that doing one region at a time. With region coding, they can release the DVD in the states at the same time as they release the film to theatres in the UK without allowing DVD sales to encroach on ticket sales.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 13 years ago | (#161358)

The prices for CDs at Best Buy have not changed substantially in the past 18 years I've been shopping at that chain(back when they were called Sound of Music).

Most CDs I buy are around $12-13, I've purchased a few new releases there for $10.

I honestly don't think Best Buy cared about that lawsuit. It dealt with the record labels forcing fixed prices or failing to provide advertising money to the stores.

I rather doubt you'll ever seen prices of CDs go down from where they are today. But you can keep hoping, I guess.

Re:Um.. (1)

Art Tatum (6890) | more than 13 years ago | (#161363)

If that's what you're up against, you can't win the argument, and you just have to over-rule them and shut them up.

Elaborate.

Zoning is irrelevant (5)

Cederic (9623) | more than 13 years ago | (#161368)


Hmm. On Friday Amazon (yeah, ok) delivered five DVDs to me at work.

I live/work in the UK, which is in region 2. All five discs were region 1.

Better yet, they are all the new improved "wont work on regionless players" region 1.

Y'know what? I stuck them in my DVD player on Saturday, and they all work fine. And that DVD player can also play all the region 2 discs I own.

So I'm a little confused by the zoning thing. As far as I can tell, its main purpose is to give me more choice of which DVD I want to buy - the overpriced region 2 disc with minimal extras, or the region 1 Criterion Collection version with four commentaries, outtakes, storyboards, etc. Don't forget the other regions (also playable on my player).

Since I haven't had my player modified - even by the company I purchased it from - but use only its core built-in technologies, and since the player costs about half of a decent video player, anybody that gets caught by regionalisation either doesn't care or is too daft to know. And most people in the UK are not too daft..

~Cederic

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (1)

dirty (13560) | more than 13 years ago | (#161372)

Actually from what I understand the DVD region coding might violate some WTO treaties. I haven't seen anything outside of rumors about this, but from my understanding of the WTO it would make a lot of sense. The region codes are definately a barrier to trade. Wouldn't that be a kicker, the WTO doing something good for consumers? If they can get laws banning the sale of non-dolphin safe tuna shot down, why not get the dvd region coding system destroyed.

Re:Um.. (1)

dirty (13560) | more than 13 years ago | (#161373)

Because the region coding system creates trade barriers, something which is illegal under the terms of the WTO treaties. It's crap like this that the WTO should be stepping in on, not stuff such as bans on sale of products that harm the environment.

Of course IANAL so more than likely I'm talking out of my ass. Does anyone know for certain about this?

Re:Here's why: (1)

El Cabri (13930) | more than 13 years ago | (#161374)

That someone must be rewarded of his efforts is obvious, but it is hardly an argument in favor of IP as it exists today, especialy of copyright laws.

first, what do you mean by 'his efforts' do you mean how hard he had to work, the impact on the society (popularity of the work), the positive or negative aspect of that impact, etc ? Here you see that the definition of the 'effort' is not clear.

Which leads to the second loophole : the fact that copyright makes the reward proportional to whatever you call 'effort' or 'merit' is an illusion, an utopian goal of the proponents of IP. Take the example of a movie director : he can ask for a salary, or work for free and ask for a share of the movie's revenue. Depending on the success of the movie and his choice, his income can be vary a lot for the same effort. If you write a unintersting book but your a celebrity, or a relative of a celebrity, you will sell it. If you're an unknown would-be writer, even if your book is good, you'll have a lot of trouble selling one book.

The real argument against copyright is the expression you use yourself : artificial scarcity. You may remember that communists wanted to create artificial abundance of things that were naturaly scarce. You want artificial scarcity out of things that are naturaly abundant. This is doomed to be proven as inefficient.

Re:Perhaps.. (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 13 years ago | (#161376)

According to the Bits [digitalbits.com] , there is going to be a The Five Doctors special edition DVD, cleaned up, remastered, and chock full of bonus material.
--

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (2)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 13 years ago | (#161378)

American DVD prices bad?

You sure could have fooled me [nytimes.com] . I still see VHS movies come out new for $25--and that's not even mentioning the practice of "pricing for rental"--selling VHS tapes at $60-100 or more for the rental market for a couple of months before dropping their price for consumers. DVDs haven't been priced for rental so far, though some of the studios are making noises about it.

It's all in what you're willing to pay, I suppose. For me, $20 for a movie I really like is a worthwhile investment.
--

Um.. (1)

BilldaCat (19181) | more than 13 years ago | (#161387)

I must be missing something, someone tell me why they can't charge whatever the fuck they want for their product.

Re:zone protection exploits customers right (3)

noims (23711) | more than 13 years ago | (#161391)

I actually totally disagree with your second point there. In fact, that's the main point that I can't see a defence for.

I can see an argument that They don't want people seeing movies on DVD before they're released in the cinema. I may not agree with it, but I can see a case. As for worldwide cinema releases, I don't think that's practical, but maybe that's just me.

What I can't see a defence for is releasing the same movie on DVD with different features in different regions. For example, if I get the region 2 version of Crouching Tiger (I'm in Ireland), it has the movie and nothing else (more or less). The region 1 and region 3 versions have extra interviews, commentaries, etc. This means I have a choice between a sub-standard copy, or an 'illegal' copy.

Incidentally, there are dvd players out there that get totally around RCE. They have several region modes: you can set them to a specific region or set them to auto-detect.

disclaimer: maybe I'm wrong about CTHD, but there are plenty of cases like this, so I don't need to be corrected, thanks.

Cheers,
Noims

Re:Here's why: (1)

Gorgonzola (24839) | more than 13 years ago | (#161392)

My post wasn't defending intellectual property, it was just explaining the reasoning behind its existence to someone who had an absolute view on property in general. To get back to your comment, I agree that the current system is flawed, although I don't believe that the abundance of art is so natural that there isn't any artificial scarcity needed to promote its creation. You are probably right in the case of software, but most likely wrong in the case of books.

Re:Here's why: (2)

Gorgonzola (24839) | more than 13 years ago | (#161393)

Your reasoning is based on a concept of intellectual property which leaves out one of the two reasons of its very existence. The first reason for intellectual property is based on John Locke: a man should be rewarded for his efforts (and women too, but they didn't matter that much in Locke's time). The second one is that the exclusionary rights are granted on the premise that artificial scarcity is needed to get people to produce works of art. The freedom to copy anything you like is limited in order to get something which can be copied in the first place. Along this line of thinking copyright is a privilige which should not be abused. Artificially high prices which are way beyond the level that is needed to sustain the productions of new works of art are such an abuse. If you take this into account, which you didn't, the whining about DVD prices sounds a lot less petty than it does according to you.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (3)

sph (35491) | more than 13 years ago | (#161403)

You know, there's more to the world than just the US of A. At current exchange rates full-priced CDs in Europe cost usually around $16-$22. I pay $17-$18 for my new CDs and $6-$10 for used CDs. A couple of years ago when EU hadn't yet crashed the value of the money the price range for CDs was more like $21-$30.

As for DVDs, many people in Europe are aware of region modified players. Basically every PAL player can play NTSC discs by default, and region modifications are easy (but often not very cheap) to get. For many people (like myself) the reason is not the price, it's the number of discs available. About one third of my collection is not available in Europe, though some discs are all-region.

Also, there are often significant differences between the different region versions of the same title. Some European discs have to give up some extras to get space for more audio tracks. Sometimes even the quality of video and audio can vary, though usually PAL video is superior to NTSC despite the slight speed difference.

In Finland most new full-priced DVDs cost around $20-$30, with some bargain titles being even $10 or less. A bit surprisingly, ordering new discs from Australia seems to be the cheapest option ($14-$18 including P&P), even cheaper than getting discs from the US. And many Australian discs are identical to European versions, even having two region codes (R2 and R4, Europe and Australia).

pricing and demand (2)

macpeep (36699) | more than 13 years ago | (#161404)

Umm.. Could it be that they cost 25% more because the people are prepared to pay 25% more? The price is set so that they get maximum profits from the sales. If they put a higher price, they would lose money because people wouldn't buy the DVD's anymore. If they put a lower price, they would lose money because people would buy just the same but for a cheaper price. It's quite simple really and I don't see what there is to whine about it. I own close to 50 DVD's and God knows how many CD's and it would never occur to me to bitch about the prices. If you can't afford it, don't buy it! It's not like we're talking about a basic life necessity here, like food or water or something. Do you also cry about that Ferrari's cost too much?

DVD zoning sucks, of course, since it means you can't really buy DVD's from, let's say Amazon.com if you live in Europe but it's not like they put the zones there just to piss people off. There's a good reason for it and the Slashdot crowd that gets all music for free from Napster / Limewire / Gnutella / whatever and pirates movies with DivX is a good example of why the zones are there. They probably don't work too well since it's very easy to get a zone-free DVD player, but that's besides the point.

This would be good for CD's in the states (5)

cansecofan22 (62618) | more than 13 years ago | (#161422)

I wish that someone (or some group) would check out the prices of CD's in the states (and around the worls for that matter). I know that there are marketing and royalty costs that come with each CD but to pay $15 for a CD is crazy. I think this is why MP3's became so popular. If it was easy to compress and move a movie over the net I am sure we would see a rise in movie sharing.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (2)

big_hairy_mama (79958) | more than 13 years ago | (#161426)

Because those dolphin laws were making it harder for fishermen to make money, and so the WTO went after them. The coding system allows publishers to basically sell movies three times, one for each market. As a Seattleite who whitnessed the stupidity of the WTO first hand (as well as the stupidity of all the protesters, but that's another story), I doubt they would ever put any effort into getting the codes revoked.

The European side of the Atlantic... (1)

Choron (88276) | more than 13 years ago | (#161432)

It's called Europe, funny I didn't know you called it this way on the American side of the Atlantic...

Re:Um.. (2)

Kwikymart (90332) | more than 13 years ago | (#161436)

It's called an abuse of monopolistic powers. They provide probably 97% percent of DVDs to Europe. We do not live in a laissez-faire economy though. One of the factors that that lead to the great depression in the '30s was having no government intervention in the economy. It may feel like a violation of your rights to not be able to sell your product at your own price when you have a monopoly, but there is economic stability to be had. If you charge outrageos prices for something so popular, you can impact many other things in the process.

Re:Um.. (1)

ChunkyGoodness (98518) | more than 13 years ago | (#161439)

They can charge whatever they want, as long as people are allowed to buy them from wherever they (the people) want. Which is what region coding prevents. What they are currently doing is milking one region in order to subsidise another, and then attempting to prevent anyone outside from buying from a cheaper region, ie: the US.

Re:Um.. (2)

OmegaDan (101255) | more than 13 years ago | (#161440)

The problem is now what they charge for them, its that they charge different people different ammounts for them ... thats hard to justify

Just keep the issue out there (3)

chancycat (104884) | more than 13 years ago | (#161443)

Just as long as the story keeps coming around I'm happy.

One of these days enough common folks will know about the region coding that enough lawers and political reps will figure out that their hide will be thicker if they go after it. And until then, region-flexible players sound like the way to go.

2 points (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 13 years ago | (#161444)

At least now the GOVERNMENT is stepping ni to decide our rights. I am not entirely sure this is GOOD, but it's sure nowhere near as BAD letting the corporations run over our rights unchecked.
I just wish voters were less apathetic so they could decide their own rights.

Also, the best way to kill piracy is to lower the price of DVD's below what it would cost to burn the stuff to DVD-RAM/ROM! Jeez. If a DVD costs $10, and the DVD media costs $15 or more, why would you pirate the thing?? Ok there is the Divx compression -> CD-Rom aspect, but now you're missing all the interactive features...
========================
63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,

Zoning isn't all bad (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 13 years ago | (#161446)

While I agree with the complaints about fair use, the zoning system has a lot going for it, if used properly. If airlines had to sell all their seats at the same price, it would hurt the poor and help the rich - but instead, they can charge vacationers less and business people more due to the fact that vacationers book long in advance, while business often books a few days before they fly. In the same way, if DVDs have to be the same price the world over, they will simply be priced out of the range of anyone who doesn't have a first world income.

If they can afford to sell them for $5 (price made up off the top of my head) in India, is it fair that the same thing be sold for $30 in USA? I think such a price differential is fine - the product has a very high setup cost (making the movie) but a very low marginal cost (pressing another disk.) It is just like cheap educational deals for software packages - you recover your costs from the people who can afford to pay full price, and sell cheap to those who can't, because anything you get from them is still a bit of profit.

The alternative to ($30 in US, $5 in India) isn't ($5 in US, $5 in India), it is ($30 in US, $30 in India.)

Come to think of it, there is another alternative - it is $30 the first year after release, $5 5 years after release. If the zoning system fails (as it seems to be) we may well see this model.

Re:Um.. (2)

donglekey (124433) | more than 13 years ago | (#161454)

It is possible to burn DVD movies, just not anything that is encryted. What needs to be done is the dvd must be decrypted, then burned onto the dvd disc. So no, it isn't a direct copy, but it is possible to copy movies.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (2)

donglekey (124433) | more than 13 years ago | (#161455)

Paying $20-$25 for a DVD is just as bad. DVD's don't cost that much to make. Movies pay for themselves in the theare, CD's don't have an analog. DVD's cost more to produce I am sure, but I doubt they cost more than $1. It's rediculous how much of a markup goes on there. Someone is checking up on the European prices? Jesus, as if the American prices weren't bad enough they mark them up even more in Europe? That's horrible. I hope this doesn't make people think that they are getting off light paying $20 for a "Super Special Final Mega Director's Cut"

Re:Um.. (1)

delong (125205) | more than 13 years ago | (#161456)

Umm, no. One of the factors that lead to the great depression in the 30's was having a Federal Reserve Board that screwed up. Derek

Re:Um.. (1)

delong (125205) | more than 13 years ago | (#161457)

AH! An intelligent post! Collusion is a valid reason to be pissed!

Frankly, I resent not being able to get "Once Upon a Time in the West" when it is available, in Italy. Of course I could buy it, but I couldn't use it without messing with my DVD player's regioning. That makes me marginally postal.

Derek

Re:2 points (1)

delong (125205) | more than 13 years ago | (#161458)

Are you postulating a "right" to DVD's?

Derek

Just my my 2 cents. (2)

jchawk (127686) | more than 13 years ago | (#161461)

You know I really don't like the idea of dvd regions, profit setting, higher prices in different markets... but guess what? There is something I can do about it. I will simply not buy dvd hardware. You people do not deserve a DVD player. You are not intitled to one by law. If you don't like what they are doing with them, DON'T BUY THEM. Guess what, if enough people don't buy a product it doesn't stay around, a new approach is taken to pricing and distribution until one that will work, well... works. This model works because all of you complaining still go out and purchase the hardware and the media. YOU are just as much to blame. YOU are part of the problem. If you want people to presure the MPAA, RIAA, Microsoft or whoever the random company or group that is doing something you don't agree with, then get off your ass and start educating. BUT DON'T FUCKING WHINE ABOUT IT ON SLASHDOT! Take five minutes the next time you're in your local electronic store and you see someone looking at a DVD play to explain what exactly the regional id system is all about. If you get the word out, and have a better way, people will eventually begin to listen. And finally as for music and movies going away if some lock down system comes, you are wrong. The system will work if people use, it however won't work if people don't and the big companies will come up with something that eventually will, and perhaps it might be something that would be more "Fair" as many have said.

Re:Make lots of $ - its done. (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 13 years ago | (#161463)

Just head over to www.techtronics.com and buy one then! Many of the smaller DVD manufacturers (ie. not the ones like Sony and Matsushita that own film studios as well) have a habit of making these 'engineer' features only just hidden enough to avoid losing their DVDCCA license, and so Techtronics style chipping isn't even always necessary.

Sony multi-region? never. (2)

iainl (136759) | more than 13 years ago | (#161465)

Sony are holding out on out-of-the-box multi-region, because they own Columbia Pictures. The multi-region thing may help sell your player, but region lockout helps your bottom line more, it would appear.

Re:The Solution! I have the Solution! (4)

iainl (136759) | more than 13 years ago | (#161466)

"The best way to get the price of DVDs down is to stop buying them!!!"

Only partially true. No-one bought DiVX when Circuit City launched it. Result - the format dies a death. Very few people bought laserdiscs. Result - Special Editions costing over $100 and even bare-bones discs at $40.

What you are saying is true to some extent, as I'm sure Paramount would drop their prices closer to some of the cheaper studios if they thought the numbers looked bad at their current price, but you are only getting your cheap discs in Walmart (or any discs in Walmart) because they are selling well.

In any case, the issue here is that discs in the EU are significantly more expensive than US discs. What the EU are probably concerned about is that Region Encoding is locking the average consumer into buying the expensive local disc, rather than importing a cheap US one. Naturally, the clued in just mod chip their players round the problem, but thats not a solution for everyone.

Pirating movies with DivX (2)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 13 years ago | (#161468)

the Slashdot crowd that [...] and pirates movies with DivX

You mean i can do that?

Better get up to date with my pirating skills - i need to feel that "i'm part of the gang" ...

How about other zoning practises? (3)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 13 years ago | (#161469)

It's not just DVDs that are zoned. Many videogame CDs are also zoned and the US versions are considerably cheaper than the European versions. I know the companies will provide "reasonable" arguments for this ("wse don't want to have US gamers suddenly finding their games in Japanese", "we don't want European players fidning the NTSC disk won't work") but surely there is a difference between warning about compatabilities vs. actively preventing the disks playing, even though many people can play US disks on their Europan system, for example. I think this would provide them with a much argument against modchips as there would no longer be a "legal" reason to modify your game console.

Logical Extension (5)

Srin Tuar (147269) | more than 13 years ago | (#161470)

CSS Region coding is a tool used to "extract the customer surplus". You charge a price in a given market which is optimal for profits considering the number of units that will sell and the margin.

It is also the first step down a slippery slope. Its a tenative first step: right now the average person wont notice it, and will probably not even realize that it exists.

But if its accepted then it will fester. Pretty soon the price for a movie or a song will be set based upon which state you live in. Then by which city. Ultimatly they will charge each customer the most they are willing to pay.

We will each end up with "trusted" computers and electronics that use a "secure media path" all the way to the speakers and screen. Each individual will have to get their own copies, digitally signed to their account number and device id's. Of course when you buy a new Movie player youll have to buy your movies all over again- because the old ones will only play on your old player.

It wont be so bad, fairly well automated, all content downloaded online right into your player. $40 wont be too bad for a flick. And you dont really care that the rich guy down the street has to pay $400 for the same exact movie- thats his problem, right?

Is this where we want to end up?

Re:CD's in Finland (1)

juha0 (148119) | more than 13 years ago | (#161473)

Hmmm... we have to pay about $20. Don't you guys complain :)

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (3)

AntiNorm (155641) | more than 13 years ago | (#161477)

I know that there are marketing and royalty costs that come with each CD but to pay $15 for a CD is crazy.

What it all comes down to is this:

Customers treat a business the same way said business treats its customers. IOW, a business that treats its customers with respect will in turn be treated with respect by these same customers. Conversely, a business that treats its customers like crap will tend not to be treated so well by its customers.

This principle can easily be applied to the RIAA. One must not look far to see examples of the RIAA disrespecting its customers. Case in point: $15 CDs. Back when CDs came out, the RIAA promised that the only reason that they were so expensive was because of the new technology involved, and that they would soon become less expensive. Did this happen? No it didn't. So, in response to this and other RIAA actions, many of the RIAA's customers are becoming more and more pissed off with the RIAA. Just look at the proliferation of Napster-type music sharing services. Swapping music isn't all about getting free music; part of it involves compensating oneself for a perceived wrong committed by the recording industry.

And naturally, this principle can be applied to the motion picture industry as well. They say their intentions are good, but with such things as 1) going after anybody who even thinks about cracking CSS, 2) region coding, 3) Macrovision, 4) etc., their actions start to become suspicious at best. And the affected customers take action in response, proliferating DeCSS, swapping DVD rips, etc.

So why then is most of the public not concerned about the recent actions of the RIAA/MPAA? Simple. Because they don't know. Next time you go to the video store, ask the clerk...heck, ask the manager if they know what DeCSS is. Chances are you'll get a "no" in most cases. The public needs to be educated about things like this. Whether they'll care or not is a different story, but it would help a whole lot just to get the word out. The more people know about the actions of the entertainment industry, the better. And, the more people know, the more the entertainment industry will be likely to be willing to change its ways.

---
DOOR!!

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (1)

nycdewd (160297) | more than 13 years ago | (#161480)

yeah, offhand i'd say that US$8.50 would be a reasonable price... studies? gave 'em up years ago. heh.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 13 years ago | (#161483)


If it was easy to compress and move a movie over the net I am sure we would see a rise in movie sharing.

It is it's called DIvX. Takes about 2x running length to rip and compress. You can make the movie pretty much any size, i.e. a DVD ripped to 350mb will be of fairly decent quality (i.e. output to TV, and you can't tell the difference). 350mb takes what? 3 hours to transfer over the net over your capped DSL/Cable connection?
As for a rise - check out some of the sites on hotline under the no2banners.dhs.org tracker, trust me, there's a rise.

The slashdot 2 minute between postings limit:
Pissing off hyper caffeineated /.'ers since Spring 2001.

Re:Zoning isn't all bad (4)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 13 years ago | (#161487)

If airlines had to sell all their seats at the same price, it would hurt the poor and help the rich - but instead, they can charge vacationers less and business people more due to the fact that vacationers book long in advance, while business often books a few days before they fly.

But then, this analogy is flawed.

You see, a specific flight on a given route has a finite amount of space. If there are 300 seats for sale, it is just damn well impossible to stuff 350 people into a plane. (OK, theoretically it's possible, but you won't be in business very long).

This also applies when you combine the capacity of all given carriers. There is so-and-so much capacity for a given route and if there is a lot of (over-)capacity, this potentially drives prices down. That's the reason why you fly cheaper from Los Angeles to New Yourk, then from Hicksville to Muskogee. Even if it's 8 time the distance.

You also conveniently forget the restrictions attached to cheaper flight tickets. If I pay up to 5 times the price for a full fare business class ticket, that gives me the right to board or not board the booked flight at my convenience. I don't even have to call the airline to cancel and I can change my schedule at any time and at no charge.

Now, the more cheapo an airline ticket is, the more strings are attached: Minimum/maximum stay, Sunday stay-over, No refunds, schedules can not be changed, or changes carry a stiff penalty, etc.

What a business person needs is flexibility more then any thing else. Not only the flexibility to book four hours in advance, but also to change her plans at whim.

This is very different with medias. Be it software, music or motion pictures. Once you payed for the production and/or development costs, the cost of a copy is marginal.

Don't get me wrong; huge amounts where invested into those products and the production entities certainly have a right to make a fair profit on their investments.

They definitely don't have the right to exploit customers, based on rules and backed by laws which are convenient only to them.

Unless of course they can obtain the best politicians money can buy...

A letter from the MPAA (3)

gatesh8r (182908) | more than 13 years ago | (#161489)

To: European Union
From: MPAA
Subject: W3 0wnz j00!

Dear European Union:

Now you have pissed us off, we have hired the l33t3st hax0rs in the world. We won't get rid of our regional codes; we have to make a profit and rape your wallets. Moreover, we have an obligation to eliminate -all- our competition from the face of the earth, and we will no matter what it takes. See, our goal is to take over the world, just like what we depict in Hollywood. I'm very sure though that we are the good guys in this one; after all, we are protecting our intelectual property.

Since you did send a letter from your competition department, we now see you as a threat to our existance. You fuckers are probably pirates, too! You and your open source coders like that Torvalds guy. We hate that; we refuse to lose a dime after all. We prefer ignorant americans just like ourselves buying into a system where we can rape wallets and pillage life savings; to protect our intelectual property.

Now you see where we are coming from. Expect that your piddly servers with your pirated content be DoS'ed soon by our scr|p7 k|dd|3s.

Regards,
The More Pathetic Assholes of America (MPAA)

P.S. -- And you thought we were the Motion Picture Association of America.

Subjects... (5)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 13 years ago | (#161491)

> I'm not sure if the BBC 'get it' yet, though:
> they filed this story under "Entertainment:
> Film".

As opposed to "getting it" Slashdot, which
filed it under "Movies". Ummmm...

Chris Mattern

Perhaps.. (2)

MadCamel (193459) | more than 13 years ago | (#161492)

Perhaps Dr Who's revival will evolve in to a feature length movie, and released on DVD. If this happens, I may begin to give a damn. The movie industry has consistantly backed new formats, but only if these formats are under their strict control. Is DVD better? Well duh.. but will I pay an extra $20 for it, give up my freedom to backup, archive, and record(at reasonable prices), or even to watch somthing my friend sent me from austrailia.. The answer to that is of course no. Eventualy DVD will either evolve in to a useable format, or go the way of betamax. Until then, my SVHS VCR works just fine.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (2)

Arthropoid (194003) | more than 13 years ago | (#161493)

They already did. The Justice department found that the major labels were in collusion to keep the price of CDs above $15, and cost consumers around $2 billion. The labels had to pay some insignificant fine and stop their collusion. It worked somewhat ($10 CDs at Best Buy at times), but the price can still come down further.

Intellectual Property Excuse (1)

Garry Anderson (194949) | more than 13 years ago | (#161495)

In my considered and informed opinion:

They use zoning to screw as much profit out of each market place - GREED. We in the UK are specially profitable to them.

Protecting Intellectual Property is the excuse big business use in the courts for this greed. We as individuals have no rights in this area - see what the United Nations organization WIPO are doing, stealing peoples domain names.

Details on my site - WIPO.org.uk [wipo.org.uk] - no connection with, and wishes to be totally disassociated from, the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO.org - part of UN, paid for (owned?) by big business.

Re:Zoning is irrelevant (3)

IngramJames (205147) | more than 13 years ago | (#161502)

Absolutely. I ordered 4 DVDs from Amazon.com.. they got stopped at Customs and I had to pay some import duty. But I got them discounted at Amazon, and even with the import duty they were cheaper than here (just). I also got more features for my money.

BTW, Brits should be aware that the Canadian firm: DVD Box Office [dvdboxoffice.com] don't charge for shipping. So you can order them singly, get 'em quicker and pay less. Nice.
---------------------------

Re:Wonder how EU will take it? (5)

IngramJames (205147) | more than 13 years ago | (#161503)

EU: "In that case, we demand that the region system is abandoned."

Depends who is in charge though...
Germany: We demand equality and freedom for our citizens. Ban region codes.

French: Dirty Hollywood ruins our lovely film industry. Abolish region codes, and while we're at it, let's ban US films period. That should annoy the Americans and the British at the same time.

Netherlands: Whatever the opposite of what Germany wants.

British: America is our friend. They are very nice people. Let's do what they want. Another missile base, Mr Bush? Why of course! Treaties? Oh I'm sure nobody's really bothered about those old things. Plus, it'll really annoy the French. Let's make imports cheaper and compulsary

Italians: There were rules about this?

Eastern Europe (as one voice): There are non-pirated versions?

Spain: Yeah, whatever.

Switzerland: We're not in the EU.

So it really depends on which contries sit on the comittee, really. And am I the only person in the world that is worried about the fact that all Switzerland's neighbouring countries would describe them as "shy, quiet.. keep themselves to themselves.. seem like really nice, polite fellows, wouldn't hurt a fly". It's only a matter of time.
---------------------------

Pricing in Japan... (3)

darekana (205478) | more than 13 years ago | (#161504)

The higher pricing is probably because of the distribution companies inside the local country or the local versions of the parent company. The stand in the middle and rip people off school of business...

In Japan a "Pulp Fiction" DVD with Japanese subtitles is about $50... ow. Compared to the US where you can get them for $17. Hmmm... somehow I doubt the translator demands a 50% royalty. Of course you can get the Chinese version for $2 on the street. *wink* *wink*

Recently Warner Brothers has cut all their DVDs down to about $20 in Japan, about half the price of all the others... pretty crazy. So I am in the interesting situation of only being able to afford or justify purchasing DVDs which are from WB. If I want to watch with Japanese friends etc.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (1)

PinkyAndThaBrain (206650) | more than 13 years ago | (#161506)

The record companies can charge whatever they want, if it was a case of price fixing by retailers there might be something worth investigating... but I doubt thats the case.

The issue here is that the EU wants to pretend it doesnt like its legal protection against parallel imports to be abused to rip off EU citizens, if they rip us off as badly as anyone else in the world they wouldnt really care.

I personally dont see why they are making a fuz though... these companies are just using the law that is present to their best advantage, as they will always do. EU should change the law or shutup. Informal questions to multinationals are useless, these companies are amoral and will do and say whatevers best for the company. To me this just seems like politicians playing nice with consumer groups while keeping everything the same.

Re:Um.. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 13 years ago | (#161507)

A good question.

The reason is that they have a monopoly. Copyright prevents competitoon. If I happen to want to buy a copy of crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, I'm not going to buy Ghostbusters 2 because its cheaper.

Anything else, there will be competitors helping to keep the price down. If I don't like it, I could even set up my own company producing a competing product. But not with films.

CD Prices ridiculous? (2)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 13 years ago | (#161508)

If the prices WERE ridiculous then people wouldn't be buying CD's. Sure, I don't like paying $15 a CD, NO ONE does. But at the same time, If the record labels want to sell CD's at that price, and people buy them (and they do!) then I see no problem with this situation. It's not like the record labels are robbing you of some fundamental right--it's a luxury item people.

Scott

Great depression (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 13 years ago | (#161509)

One of the factors that that lead to the great depression in the '30s was having no government intervention in the economy.

This is completely at odds with history. What about the "easy money" policies of the FED? What about the fact that the depression of the 30's was accompanied by one of the most economically activist governments in US history? Consider the many other recessions that were much shorter: 1837, 1857, 1873, and 1893 and a stock exchange panic in 1907, recessions in 1910 and 1913, and another panic in 1914 preceding World War I where the government did much less. Now consider the great depression with its much more activist government: it lasted more than ten years and took a world war to finally get us out of it. Thats a big arguement against government intervention.

This myth about how government intervention "saved us" from the great depression has to stop. The depression was needlessly prolonged by government intervention.

Re:Um.. (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 13 years ago | (#161510)

"One of the factors that that lead to the great depression in the '30s was having no government intervention in the economy" Wow. The leftists writing the textbooks can be very proud of you.

Here's why: (3)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 13 years ago | (#161514)

"You gots it. I wants it."

Yes, its that simple. You will hear a great deal about social goods or justice or morality or how some price is "unreasonably high". It is nothing but an elaborate (often self) deception. The logic in the end is the same. They want what someone else has created. If they can't get it at the the price they want, this makes the owner evil.

It is very difficult to reason with such people. There is an almost reflexive connection between their wants/feelings and judgements about what is right or wrong. The thinking very much resembles that of the religious zealot or homophobe. For them, the unconfortable feeling they get when they think of such things is enough to provoke a judgement that such things are wrong. There is no reasoning that goes on.

Take the example of "unreasonable price." Just how is anyone supposed to determine logically what a reasonable price is? Is there some formula? No. "unreasonable price" is just a synonym for "I don't like the price" or "I feel the price it too high."

My favorite is when people invoke the idea of a "social good." Again, most of the time, "social good" is just a synonym for "my good." In the end, they really mean "less good for them, more good for me." Really, how could it mean anything else? Values are ultimately subjective. How can anyone be in a position to determine objectively what is a "social good"? People who invoke the term "social good" really have no choice but to use their own values in deciding what is a social good and what isn't. For me, allowing people to charge what they what for what they make on the priciple that they are not slaves to society is a "social good." Others think this is incorrect. How can we decide objectively who is right? We can't. In the end issues of right and wrong come down to subjective judgement and personal value systems. I just wish people would be honest with me and themselves about where their own ideas of right and wrong come from and not hide behind elaborate abstractions like "social good."

We can discuss how it is we can get what we each want. Some will conclude that giving people the right to charge what they wish for what they create, in the end, will provide most of us with what we want. Other's will conclude that outright theft is the easiest way. Others will be somewhere in between. Its starts with people being honest with themselves.

So, the answer to the question is:

People can't charge what they want because other people don't like it. They are even willing to get violent about it (they hide behind the abstrations "illegal" and "law" and get professional thugs called "police" who have guns and batons to do their dirty work).

Make lots of $ (3)

Cardhore (216574) | more than 13 years ago | (#161516)

This sounds like the ripe time to make some money. All you have to do is produce a DVD player with these features:

Front panel region selection

No macrovision

Disc script ignoring

Lock-out ignoring

Decent quality
The script and lock-out things are necessary because some (most?) DVD's have annoying "splash" scenes that play when you pick options. Or the scripts verify regions. Also many movies don't let you fast forward (FCC warnings), pause, rewind, etc.!!

good someone acts (1)

ciryon (218518) | more than 13 years ago | (#161518)

It's really good that someone acts to investigate why we europeans have to pay a lot more for DVD movies. The higher prices in EU is probably why DVD isn't as big here as in the US.

Two faced corporations (2)

graystar (223824) | more than 13 years ago | (#161521)


This is where it shows corporations are two-faced and hypocritical. One one hand they preach the virtues of globalisation, the free movement of resources that become their inputs. The free movement of products that become their revenue stream. However, they dont want consumers to experience the good parts of globalisation. Consumers should not be allowed to be segregated into different markets so these film companies can charge higher prices. This is where the WTO should step in since it is clearly a limit to globalisation, of course the WTO represents who now?

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 13 years ago | (#161523)

Well, some movies pay for themselves. A lot don't. And even with the ones that you would think made vast amounts of profit, like "Titanic", the movie studio claims it 'barely broke even' in U.S. sales.

This of course leads to higher DVD prices as the studios are trying to recoup some of the money that they spent on the stars they needed for the aforementioned mega-flop (how much did Waterworld cost to produce, and how much did it make?) and some movies will be priced higher then other to make up for other movies.

Also, you get those wonderful first run DVDs and then a later "Director's Cut" DVD, yet another "Special Edition" DVD, and so on. Do they need to keep prices high? Doubtful. Do they want to keep prices high? Yes. Like all corps, they want to make money. And as long as the consumer is still shelling out the cash, the prices stay up there.

Now, the region coding is helping them out with this, but as we've already seen, Australia has challenged that. The Euros are next... how long before the U.S. gets behind this? Oh wait, we're probably paying the lowest costs for DVDs... we don't need to... (although it does keep us from buying all those bootlegs in China and running them on our local DVD players....)

And the cost on producing DVDs? Dunno... it does depend on the number being run... but given how many copies of "The Mummy" are out on DVD, less then a $1 production cost is probably dead on.

Kierthos

Re:Zoning isn't all bad (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 13 years ago | (#161524)

Excuse me? I thought the problem was that they were charging _more_ in areas outside the U.S. I mean, the article mentions that DVD prices are higher (25%?) in Europe for the same DVD that is sold in the U.S.

So why wouldn't everyone want to pay the U.S. price if it's lower?

Oh, and odds are, if DVDs are being sold in India (no doubt there's a few there, just not comparable numbers to the U.S.) then prices are higher then the U.S. because of import taxes, supply and demand, and scarcity of customers. And the "need" to make the almight buck. (or rupee or whatever they use in India)

Kierthos

The answer is (1)

FrostedChaos (231468) | more than 13 years ago | (#161526)

2

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (2)

FrostedChaos (231468) | more than 13 years ago | (#161527)

I think you just proved beyond a doubt why distributing music on CDs deserves to go the way of the dinosaur. It's so much easier just to download things.

Anyway, for the sake of argument... the comparison with CPUs is flawed. The manufacturing plants capable of making CPUs run to the hundreds of billions of dollars; CD presses are trivial in comparison. Also, the engineering expertise is incredible, whereas with a CD you follow the cookbook formula.

IBM, Intel, AMD, and others could make money even if all intellectual property ceased existing tomorrow. They own huge industrial complexes in multiple countries, and they make the stuff that people need. In any case, you need a college education just to understand what's going on in computer engineering, which is not cheap.

Recording industry companies would be hard pressed to survive if piracy was legalized. The companies, well aware of this, buy all the legislators they can and hope for the best.

Re:Um.. (2)

jsse (254124) | more than 13 years ago | (#161533)

Dear Cat,

I must be missing something, someone tell me why they can't charge whatever the fuck they want for their product.

Because we can.

Best Rgds,
Chief Bonehead of MPAA

zone protection exploits customers right (5)

jsse (254124) | more than 13 years ago | (#161534)

When they say zone protection is to protect their business, it's bullshit. It's to protect their profit without value-adding in their products. If they really want to prevent water goods, they can:

- Don't price up outragously in some regions
- Make some regional specific stuffs, e.g. european languages version, so that customers would prefer to buy they own regional version

In the past they'd focus on customers' satisfaction, now they find legal ways to restrict customers from making their own purchase preferences - with Government consent. That's sad.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (2)

meeder (264870) | more than 13 years ago | (#161539)

Yeah right... Here in the Netherlands we pay around US$20 for a CD... CD's are way cheaper in the US then overhere... Remco

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (1)

Pogue Mahone (265053) | more than 13 years ago | (#161540)

I think you got your sumz wrong ...

most stores mark up product about 50 percent right, so if a CD sells for $15 in the store, let's say they bought it for $7.50

That's 100% markup. 50% would give a buying price of $10.

let's say the distributor marks up 15-20%, so let's say the label sells it to the distributor for $6.

Even at the higer markup, that puts the distributor's buying price at around $8.33



--

Monopolies (2)

wuschel (302558) | more than 13 years ago | (#161545)

I'm German, sorry if I do not know the correct economic terms in English.

Essentially, the record companies have a monopoly on each of their artists. If there were a working market - in theory - a price will be reached, that gives the greatest total benefit for both the consumer and the enterprises. In a monopoly situation, the price will produce the greatest benefit to the company holding the monopoly.

Even if they are luxury items CDs should be priced so that the total benefit is greatest.

And this means that record companies should be watched closely.

By the way, is anyone examining territorial lockouts for video games?

Re:Make lots of $ - its done. (1)

maubp (303462) | more than 13 years ago | (#161547)

I know Techtronics mods can disable region coding and macrovision - I have a Pioneer 525 which works just fine.

I have yet to test it, but they claim it will cope with RCE disks.

However, discs can still "disable" buttons on the remote. In addition to the obvious not being able to skip the logos, copyright notices, and occasional trailer - some discs will only let you switch sound tracks and subtitle tracks though the menus!

I also want to be able to use computer generated IR to control the player - but this sort of thing really hinders any attempt to say "go to the start of chapter 2, title 3".

Do any of you know of a company whose mod will disable these "features" as well?

If they did... (1)

ShadeARG (306487) | more than 13 years ago | (#161550)

...Then perhaps the movies that pick up on this format will make a killing from all the slashdotters invading the stores like they do servers ;-)

Where are people meant to whine? (1)

YorkshireONE (307613) | more than 13 years ago | (#161551)

Just skip the thread dude.

"Take five minutes the next time you're in your local electronic store and you see someone looking at a DVD play to explain what exactly the regional id system is all about."

And watch the eyes glaze and excuses made.

Regional Players (1)

jdun (310373) | more than 13 years ago | (#161554)

I wonder how much money Sony and other DVD player manufactures are losing because their players are not multi regional. Most DVD players that are sold in Europe are multi regional players and is made in Korea or Taiwan and not Japan. How long will they hold out before these manufactures that plays by the rule start breaking it.

Re:This would be good for CD's in the states (1)

jdun (310373) | more than 13 years ago | (#161555)

You know what? It probably cost less then 50 cent to produce a DVD9 disk.

Re:Pricing in Japan... (1)

jdun (310373) | more than 13 years ago | (#161556)

You know why Japan have high prices? They don't know how to complete in their own market and that's why they are still in a recession. Instead of lowering prices in a recession they raise it.

If This Does Result In Anything... (1)

Regolith (322916) | more than 13 years ago | (#161557)

With the current state of the entertainment industry in the United States (suing anyone/anything that even appears to threaten their stranglehold on the masses) the only thing this is likely to produce is a 25% increase in US DVD prices to a level comparable to that in the EU. The MPAA and thier kind would never lower prices to achieve equity, so this would be the only path that would seem even remotely viable. And if the government gets involved, who knows what the outcome would be.

-----

DVD annoyances (5)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | more than 13 years ago | (#161558)

DVD for movies is great, but the way the
entertainment companies are treating their
customers is sort of annoying. I'm a German
citizen, my wife is Italian and we both talk
English very well. If I go to buy a DVD in Germany
it often happens that the soundtrack is only
German. If we buy DVD in Italy the soundtrack
is usually Italian and sometimes also English.
The most annoying thing so far was "Terminator 2"
which has an English soundtrack, but with
italian subtitles that can't be turned off.

Do the entertainment firms think that the
customer is so stupid that he really needs
subtitles. If I use the original soundtrack,
then I do it for a reason of course and if I
would like to have subtitles in my native
language I would turn them off. But forcing
you to do it in a way you don't want to do
is really annoying. Customers are treated like
kids in the kindergarten.

Well, at least my problem with DVD is not the
price (that is pretty high of course) but the
availability of languages (even when all are
using the same region code).

Re:Logical Extension (3)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 13 years ago | (#161559)

Pretty soon the price for a movie or a song will be set based upon which state you live in. Then by which city. Ultimatly they will charge each customer the most they are willing to pay.

Hey, this could be an OK deal. Let's say the distributor's advanced customer profiling pinpoints the movies I hate so much that they would have to pay me to watch. (Should be easy, since most current movies fall into this category.)

All I need to do is order up a boatload of these, then I can kick back and pull in some serious coinage from these bozos.

Piracy and DVD... (1)

anonymous cupboard (446159) | more than 13 years ago | (#161564)

Of course, the MPAA want to protect their intellectual property from being ripped. And this is, of course, very effective.

This is why I see CD-R based MP4s advertised as being DVD sourced in Russia. Are these licensed?

Bit stream copies of DVDs are also popular and can be detected by the much lower price. What gives the game away is that they still carry the original region encoding, but are limited by the availability of source material.

I also saw some very nice video-cassettes of Pearl Harbor on sale. Good packaging.

All of this, is IP theft, but since a trip to the movies in Russia costs more than a trip to the theatre, you can see why it happens.

Wonder how EU will take it? (1)

blang (450736) | more than 13 years ago | (#161565)

EU commision: "So, DVD export without region codes would hurt European box office numbers for Hollywood movies?"

Hollywood: "Yes".

EU: "In that case, we demand that the region system is abandoned."

Re:Um.. (1)

blang (450736) | more than 13 years ago | (#161566)

I must be missing something, someone tell me why they can't charge whatever the fuck they want for their product.

No problemo. From now on, they'll charge $29 in US, $45 in Europe, while BillDaCat gets a special price of $95.

Re:Um.. (1)

captaincucumber (450913) | more than 13 years ago | (#161568)

If you charge outrageos prices for something so popular, you can impact many other things in the process
Dude, these are DVD's, not food or shelter or clothing. You don't need DVD's.

NEWSFLASH: the best way to get the price of DVDs down is to stop buying them!!!

what do your fuzzy economics say about that?

The Solution! I have the Solution! (1)

captaincucumber (450913) | more than 13 years ago | (#161569)

Okay, I said this in response to someone else's post, but I think it needs to be said loudly:

The best way to get the price of DVDs down is to stop buying them!!!

The movie industry wants to make money and if you let them know with the loudest possible voice - which is not Slashdot, and it's not the court of law, it's $$$ - that this whole regional encoding thing and the whole CSS thing just suck donkey balls, well they'll listen and come up with a solution that works.

But honestly, we know that won't happen, because it's just not annoying enough. If $25 were too much to pay for a DVD, people wouldn't pay it. and if $15 were too much to pay for a CD, people wouldn't pay it. The honest truth is that it's exactly the right amount, it's just more than we want to pay. Think about it for a second, doesn't almost everything cost more than you want to pay? Shoes, cars, stereos, movie tickets, beer? That's the magic of economics, everything costs as much as you're willing to pay, which is always greater than what you want to pay!

My friends, Microsoft is a monopoly, the RIAA and the MPAA are just bunch of assholes - but not monopolists. So take my solution to heart - stop buying CDs and DVDs - and shucks, the price will come down faster than you can say "Radiohead rules".

Re:Zoning isn't all bad (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 13 years ago | (#161576)

I really don't have a problem with their pricing. What i do have a problem with is the region coding.

If I was vacationing in India and I saw a DVD I'd been meaning to get for $5, I'd get it there rather than pay the $30. But that $5 DVD wouldn't do me any good since I wouldn't be able to play it on my player, unless I had a region free DVD player or one where I could switch its regional code.

With airline seats, consumers wouldn't have that problem. You're basically comparing apples to oranges since airlines aren't putting a restraint on your ability to choose and pay less for something.

Re:Zoning is irrelevant (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 13 years ago | (#161577)

Sounds interesting. So what type of DVD player do you have? Who makes it, what's the model, where can I get one?

solution (2)

Bongzilla (458471) | more than 13 years ago | (#161584)

I think an amusing governmental solution
for the eu would be to open up trade in
"modchips" for dvd players. That way the
consumers can pull out macrovision while
they're at it and the studios would really
be at a loss.

So they could just threaten to do that,
really... :o)



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