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A Workable Downloadable Movies Business Model?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the money-for-nothing dept.

Movies 365

sane? writes "Following on from the music industry attempting to push up the cost of iTunes music downloads comes word that Sony is looking take robust control of the pricing for legal movie downloads - to the tune of $8 a movie. What is the maximum acceptable price that slashdot readers would give to different types of downloadable product, taking into account their perception of its true value to them? How can sensible pricing and workable business models be reconciled?"

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365 comments

iTunes (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949647)

Well, if Sony is going to be trying to install rootkits onto my computer, they could not pay me to download their movies. Screw-em.

However, barring malware distribution by major corporations, I believe that Apple has showed the industry exactly the business model to follow for media distribution, so, provided a fair and reasonable DRM policy like that of iTunes, I would be more than happy to pay $5/movie, but not more than that. Come on now, the industry has the opportunity here to make far more money off of not just recently released movies, but following a long-tail model [thelongtail.com], they could make obscene amounts of money off of older movies/content that is no longer available or being distributed. Think about all the old classic Sci-Fi movies or classic movies that are only available on TCM on occasion? What if you really could watch them "on demand" rather than waiting for them to rotate through. How about old TV shows?

Being able to watch movies at home on your computer or on your laptop on the plane is not just a convenience that they should be charging premium costs for. It is a mass market scheme to drive insanely high revenues if the price point is made attractive. If they were smart, these movies would be made available more cheaply and the "premium" experience could still be had at the theatre.

So, for an industry that already is sitting on media that is no longer generating significant income, they have the opportunity to create potential huge revenue streams for media already bought and paid for, so why gouge the customer? It is a surefire recipe for slower adoption, delayed revenue streams and potentially failure.

Re:iTunes (2, Insightful)

ThunderDan (788062) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949694)

Think of it in terms of how much entertainment you get out of one song compared to one movie. If we were buying the song from iTunes, would the worth of the movie be only five times that of one song? The length of the movie alone should warrant more than a five-times increase.

Re:iTunes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949720)

yeah but you will listen to that song many times, and the movie you may only watch once.

Re:iTunes (2, Insightful)

Narcissus (310552) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949727)

I think that that's only a valid argument if you watch the movie once, and listen to the song only once, too.

I know that I'll watch a movie a few times, then not again for years. Listening to songs on the other hand...

Re:iTunes (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949791)

Don't try your mind tricks on me young man. :-) Seriously though, the amount I will pay is what I believe it is worth to me, and that is up to $5.00. I go to matinees specifically because the average Hollywood fare is simply not worth the $7-14 that theaters charge for prime time showings and it is not because money is tight for me. Quite the contrary, I am more than happy to pay extra for quality products, but in this case, movies are entertainment that while entertaining are usually are quite dispensable and having to deal with an increasingly rude population who does not have any concept of proper theatre etiquette simply drives me away from theaters. There are rare cinematic exceptions however.

Regarding rude people at theatres. (0, Offtopic)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949899)

If there's a truly serious problem going on, go and inform the manager. Now, if two people are talking a bit loud before the movie starts, suck it up. But if there are punks and beatniks throwing popcorn, the manager will usually kick such people out. After all, he already has their money. He doesn't necessarily want them to come back in the future, either.

Germany had very serious problems at cinemas in the late 1970s and early 1980s. With the punk movement raging there, it was often the case that feces and urine were thrown at other viewers. Eventually the viewers formed coalitions, and they went to the managers each time troublemakers were active. Soon enough the theatres kicked out the punks, and stopped admitting them in the future. The cinematic experience ended up improving for many people, and in the end the cinema managers gained from extra legitimate traffic.

Re:iTunes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949749)

Man, I can't see sites like The Pirate Bay, and friends, going away any time soon then.. People might possibly pay for things like this, if it's perceived as 'cheap', or 'a good deal', but more than eight bucks? for a heavily compressed, DRM'd, piece of shit, that incidentally, installs a fucking rootkit? no fucking way.

of course, if iTunes starts selling videos, it may be a godsend for low budget indie films..

Re:iTunes (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949788)

Yeah, as much as I'm not a fan of Apple I think iTMS selling movies (if it's easy enough for indie film makers to get their stuff sold through the system) will probably be a good way for them to get exposure, and maybe a little cash. I mean, Mac users like to spend too much money on stuff and obviously have more of it than they need or are at all equipped to deal with.

I know I'm planning to sell my shit to all those morons. Selling to Apple fanbois is like having a license to print cash!

Re:iTunes (0)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949768)

Think about all the old classic Sci-Fi movies or classic movies that are only available on TCM on occasion? What if you really could watch them "on demand" rather than waiting for them to rotate through.

I dunno -- I tend to watch that stuff mostly as "Poker, poker, Suze Orman, poker, Law & Order, Everybody Loves Raymond, poker -- ooh, Fred Astaire!" I don't know how many people are sitting around waiting for the chance to pay $4 to see Follow The Fleet.

Re:iTunes (5, Interesting)

Michalson (638911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13950003)

believe that Apple has showed the industry exactly the business model to follow for media distribution, so, provided a fair and reasonable DRM policy like that of iTunes

Could you explain that point further? If you want everyone to follow Apple's "Fairplay(TM)" DRM model, what is it specifically about that model that makes it more attractive then the others? What where your logical reasons for choosing that as the best DRM solution?

It can't be the robustness of the data - if the latest iTunes update (or OS X update) kills your harddrive (again), or the computer simply dies as they sometimes do, it's Apple's policy to charge you for the music all over again, even though they have the records showing you legally own it. Apple DRM certainly isn't making digital music as long lasting as the physical disk technology. Even Apple's closest competitor offers a partial though far from perfect solution - the proof of ownership can be backed up seperate from the music (meaning you can make as many copies as you want), and then can be used to obtain the music without being charged again if you suffer a harddrive crash.

It can't be the number of copies you're allowed - most other DRM schemes also allow 3 copies (again, Apple's closest competitor allows any number of copies to be specified, and can even allow the ability to create "lending" copies - you can give a time limited copy to a someone to try out, and you don't have to worry about them returning the licence to you)

It can't be the ability to burn to CD - again, Apple's competitors support this too.

It can't be the future proofness of the format - "Fairplay" is currently glued to Apple, you can't play Apple DRM music on anything that doesn't have an Apple logo. One of the best arguments for open source is that closed source software leads to documents that can no longer be opened because the application required only exists for an obsolete platform. With "Fairplay", all the eggs are with one company - if Apple, just one company, disappeared, your music would left stuck in a format dieing of player entropy. This is what we call "vender lockin", and it's a bad thing. Some of Apple's competitors avoid this through partially open standards, other avoid this by spreading the format to as many companies as possible - if one dies, the others can fill the gap.

So please help us understand what specific, technological or contract, parts of Apple DRM we should be trying to make more widespread. Why is "Fairplay(TM)" so superior, other then the fact that it lives within the safe confines of the Apple reality distortion field, guarded by a phalanx of Apple fanbois?

Not $8 for Consumers (5, Interesting)

duerra (684053) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949652)

FTFA, $8 is the price that Sony is expected to be charging the content distributors. This is not the price that we would be paying as end consumers, which would look more like it would be to the tune of $10, or something along those lines.

Of course, this would probably all be highly compressed, DRMed to hell video files, too. Given that I can go to a local Wal-Mart or Target and get a lot of these old titles for $6 at full quality, and make my backups using something like CloneDVD, I'm not likely to be purchasing a $10 movie download anytime soon.

Re:Not $8 for Consumers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949711)

I'd pay $10, no problem.

One of my main issues with going to the movies, outside of the stupidly high food prices, listening to ads before the movie starts, being asked to not pirate (When I just bought a ticket), is that my wife hates movies.

So I resort to downloading them off of the internet if I can't get a friend to go with me. I have been wanting to watch movies in theatre at home for a long time. I haven't been able to understand how we have Tivo, and I'm sure decent hardware encryption capabilities on my satellite or cable box, but I can't securely get movies in theatres.

Good news all around..

Agreed! (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949964)

I'd be willing to pay double or even triple the ticket price to download and watch from the comfort of my home theater setup.

My list of multiplex gripes:
  • You have to wait in line
  • You have to put up with obnoxious teens
  • Cell phones
  • In the winter you are bogged down with a coat
  • In the summer the disgusting smell of feet and BO permeates the theater
  • The seats are disgusting
  • There is no alchohol
  • The food is expensive and lousy
  • There is no pause if you have to go to the bathroom
  • There is always the risk of having your car dinged in the tight parking lots
  • Frequently sold out on opening night

Re:Not $8 for Consumers (2, Insightful)

TGK (262438) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949767)

Put very simply, if Sony wants to charge $10 then they're going to have to bend over backwards on this.

A new release DVD cost, lets assume, $20.

$20 New DVD
$02 But I don't get packaging. Minus $2.
$01 I don't get fixed media. I have to store this myself. Minus $1
$05 DRMed to hell! I can't make backups! Minus $5.
$05 I have to download it and pay for the bandwidth. Minus $5.
----
$8

Well there's the $8. Now if they don't screw up ANYTHING else that's fine and I'd probably buy it... but only for a new DVD. No way would I shell out $8 for a DRM copy of 2001 or something. God help them if they install rootkits.

On a related note - I assume everyone saw the rather clever exploit for WoW using the Sony rootkit? If not, security focus [securityfocus.com] has it.

Re:Not $8 for Consumers (1)

sp3tt (856121) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949842)

"God help them if they install rootkits."

I don't think that idiom means what you think it means.

Re:Not $8 for Consumers (2, Informative)

theJML (911853) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949784)

Ever hear of 2 for $20? Best Buy runs that deal all the time, so I could OWN a movie WITH the DVD and case and all for 10 bucks. Heck, even newer more popular movies run $15 bucks tops (unless it's imported/anime and then you just have to look for sales)...
 
So lets see here. I pay 8-10 bucks to be able to download it. Then I have to also pay for the bandwidth used to download it (sure I pay monthly for cable, but if you only download movies and it costs $20-40 a month, you have to factor it in), then I have to buy some DVD-R/+R media, and if I want to make it fancy a case and atleast a new sharpie everyonce in a while... Not to mention the time spent... looks like a pretty crappy deal to me. I'll just drop 15 bucks and buy the movie and watch it whenever I feel, on which ever DVD player I feel like sticking it in.

Atleast that's My $0.02.

Re:Not $8 for Consumers (2, Interesting)

Taladar (717494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949952)

Downloading movies isn't for people like you that value the flashy physical media and packaging. Downloading movies is for people like me who hate going to a store, search through all the movies just to find something that isn't THAT important to me and who would copy the data to the harddisk first thing at home anyways.

rental cost (5, Interesting)

SamSeaborn (724276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949656)

Unlike songs, I don't want to *own* movies. Just watch them once.

For me, the cost would have to be the same or less than a movie rental for me to buy in. $8 is too much. I'd say $2.99 is about right -- and I don't care if the $2.99 movie expires after a certain period of time or anything. Like I said, 99% of the time I just watch a movie once.

Sam

Re:rental cost (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949698)

You might only want to watch something once, but the very nature of digital information is that they can't take it back once they've given you (although that hasn't stopped them from trying.) Movie makers actually have a good buisness model for the the watch-something-once market i.e. Blockbuster.

This is aimed at the I-don't-want-a-disc market, which the media companies have been wholly unable to figure out.

Re:rental cost (2, Insightful)

SamSeaborn (724276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949731)

Movie makers actually have a good buisness model for the the watch-something-once market i.e. Blockbuster.

Well, they think they do. When I rent a movie from Blockbuster, rip it to my PC with DVDShrink [dvdshrink.org] and then I have a copy I can watch whenever I want (even though 99% of the time I only watch it once). What's the difference between that and letting me download the binary version for $2.99? If it saves me the trip to the store and back, I'll use the online service.

Sam

Re:rental cost (2, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949844)

2 words market segmentation

Theres a legitimate watch-it-once market, and a legitimate I-want-the-box market. The question is whether the I'm-cool-with-a-digital-copy market is something that is acutally worth getting into.

If everyone in the digital-copy market is a subset of one of the other two markets the answer is a resounding no. However, if there are new people who don't rent movies because watching it once isn't enough, and also don't buy the movie for whatever reason then it may be a market worth persuing. If the movie company takes a larger hit from people defecting from the I-want-the-box catagory than they gain by tapping the new digital-copy market it's not worth persuing no matter how cool it is.

Re:rental cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949817)

I'd be willing to pay $.25. I know this will seem silly to some, but a movie isn't worth more than that to me. Reading about how SONY installed rootkits on people's computers is more interesting to me than most movies are.

Re:rental cost (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949897)

Try Movielink [movielink.com]. The only downside is that you'll need Windows and IE. (Well, that and the fact that their good selection is transitory.) :-(

Re:rental cost (2, Interesting)

isotpist (857411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949933)

Rental may be $3.50 or pushing $4 in some places (for new releases). For many people in suburbs or rural areas, or even in cold weather it may be more convienent to download, so maybe $5, but I'm not going to pay $10 to download what is basically a video rental to me.
On the other hand I own zero movies, and a lot of other people own many, so maybe they will pay $20 to own it on their computers. It still seems to me that people who would pay $20 and like to have a video library would prefer to have the disk, the case, and everything.

Maybe the downloads will not have all the "DVD Extras" that the DVSs have.

Re:rental cost (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949947)

I'd pay $3.99, IF

I could keep it as long as I want (backup to removable media is not required, but I should be able to retain it on a hard disk as long as I can spare the storage)

I have full DVD-like control of play

It is high-definition.

First post (1, Troll)

xintegerx (557455) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949657)

There is not an easy answer. I would pay $5, to answer your question. But I would also want the ability to 1) redownload it again for free 2) watch it anywhere like cell phone using streaming video as well and 3) own the full viewing rights to that movie, so when new formats or display devices come out (such as toasters and refrigerators and cell phones), I get it in a better and newer format. If you are upset you didn't get first post, simply wait until tomorrow when this story will be posted again.

Re:First post (4, Insightful)

SamSeaborn (724276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949697)

watch it anywhere like cell phone using streaming video as well

I don't get this phenomenon of wanting to watch movies on your cell phone or iPod or even sitting at your desk in from of your computer.

To me, movies are a *big* experience; I want a nice big screen, a great sound system, dim the lights, a big bowl of popcorn and a giant soda.

Watching movies on "cell phone" is contrary to everything I hold dear about the cinematic experience.

Sam

Re:First post (1)

AcheronHades (837485) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949819)

Big wig movie types are afraid that people like you, looking for the big screen and the popcorn and the 'theater' experience are getting fewer and further between. I am with you, I like the big screen and the surround sound and all that, but I have actually read some articles predicting in 30 years we wont even have movie theaters, all gone the way of the drive-in.

I certainly hope this doesnt happen... but I think products like the Video iPod are preparing themselves for that new type of market.

Re:First post (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949861)

Well, then, they should stop making the movie theater cost MORE than the movie itself! $10 ticket, $5 popcorn, $5 drink. Revenge of the Sith DVD cost $15 on the first day of release.

Re:First post (1)

Kodachi1980 (922116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949924)

I love going to see movies in theaters. A video iPod wouldn't replace this experience for me, any more than my iPod replaced my stereo, but I would love to kill time on a plane or bus watching movies on something more easily portable than my laptop or my portable DVD player.

Re:First post (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949922)

I guess you don't "get" it because you have the extra money lieing around to blow on these huge screens and nice sound systems. For that matter, are people in planes, trains and automobiles supposed to rollout huge projector screens to watch a movie?

Movies are movies. You shouldn't require a cinematic experience to watch them. They are not one-in-the-same.

Re:First post (1)

Darth Maul (19860) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949949)

"Movies are movies. You shouldn't require a cinematic experience to watch them. They are not one-in-the-same."

Oh man, does this statement sum up all that is wrong with today's theaters. It's a shame you feel this way, but I guess that's what most people think, too. That's why nobody cares. They just want more explosions and sex in their movies.

Re:First post (2, Funny)

Darth Maul (19860) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949926)

"Watching movies on "cell phone" is contrary to everything I hold dear about the cinematic experience."

But more inline with *today's* cinema experience, now the annoying teens can talk on their cell phone and watch the movie. Now that's convergence.

Re:First post (1)

ffrinch (586802) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949927)

e.g.: If you're commuting an hour and a half each way on the train or bus every day, you get bored fast. At peak times it's too cramped to work, assuming you'd want to, and not everyone wants to read.

It's not like the "cinematic experience" is important to, say, the latest crappy comedy.

Hard Copy (5, Insightful)

NETHED (258016) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949668)

If I can burn it to a DVD, watch it on ANY DVD player, and treat it as if it were mine (IE, let my friend borrow the disc), then yes, I'll pay 8 dollars/movie. Otherwise, I'll keep my netflix subscription thank you very much.

Re:Hard Copy (2, Interesting)

afabbro (33948) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949742)

Exactly. I want something I can store on a hard drive as a file, because 20 years from now when I want to watch -Murder on the Orient Express- again, I won't have to worry that they're not making DVD players or iPods or whatever anymore. Or if I want to watch it on a different format, a different kind of player, etc.

I replaced a lot of my music collection when I went from vinyl to CD.
I replaced a lot of my video collection when I went from VHS to DVD.
I'm not paying for the same bitstreams again!

Right now, DVDs are "rent once, rip once, play anywhere" because I can play DivX on my computer, burn to an optical, or whatever. Downloading something in a proprietary format that only works with certain software or hardware - blech. That's why I don't own an iPod.

Re:Hard Copy (2)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949829)

That's why I don't own an iPod.

Because mp3s are proprietary?

Re:Hard Copy (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949954)

No, because there's no reason to play the Apple fashion premium if you're not going to use the iTunes service. I have an mp3 player...but I couldn't care less about an iTunes player.

Re:Hard Copy (1)

swb (14022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13950010)

That's just it. What makes iTunes work is that the DRM isn't so grossly inflexible you can't work with it.

I'd consider downloading movies for $8-10 a pop, but only if the movies were provided in a ISO-type format that provided content identical to the store-bought copy (extras, menus, digital sound, etc). This also means dual-layer sized movies, which I know might be a download limitation. No heavy-handed DRM. I should be able to burn the movie to a DVD and watch it in any DVD player or on another computer. No special media requirements, no expiring files.

Since a DVD-9 sized download might be unrealistic, it might be a reasonable compromise to put the movie into an MPEG-4 format and have an iTunes-type application that would interface to DRM and allow burning of a DVD.

I'm afraid what we'll actually be offered, though, is a downloadable "rental" which only plays on computers, is deeply compromised in terms of PQ, and can't be burned to DVD or kept long-term.

Too expensive (4, Interesting)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949677)

It's hard to say where the limit would be, but 8 bucks simply is too much - I can go to a video rental place and get pretty much every movie I want for considerably less than that (the local one in the town where I live charges up to 4,50 per movie, depending on how recent it is; not sure what the big chains take).

Sure, it requires me to walk there first (I don't have to drive, considering that it's pretty much just across the street), and they might not have what I'm looking for; but on the upside, I get the movie within minutes instead of having to wait for a big download first.

So for me at least, an online place would have to be considerably cheaper than a real store in order to be attractive. And considering that a lot of the costs associated with having an actual walk-in store with real DVDs and real employees don't exist here, I'd say that they could still make a comparable amount of money even if they charged less than the offline stores do, too.

That's Easy (2, Funny)

Groo Wanderer (180806) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949683)

How much is a bittorrent client again?

                  -Charlie

P.S. If you think the current rootkitting DRM schemes are bad, wait till you see the next gen ones, like the ones for HD movies. Yikes.

Easy for us (1)

bugbeak (711163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949876)

At least with paid media, customers know what they're getting, and it's guaranteed to be what they're getting. With BT, it's totally up to the person who's creating the .torrent file to give it a name (I know, I'm taking this to the extreme), so, in one word, simplicity.

Nothing left to say (2, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949684)

Everyone above me got it right. This idea fails pretty hard. Now, Sony's going to dump more money into a project that -- if anything -- will only take business away from actual DVD sales. Most people that are willing to buy a lesser product because it's finally legal won't be getting the physical disc too, which means less money for Sony. "How do I shot web?" indeed...

Re:Nothing left to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949943)

No, Sony is after the money in the rental market.

No hard copy (2, Interesting)

Deathbane27 (884594) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949688)

If I don't get a seperated backup copy (an actual, physical DVD), I will pay no more than 20% of the DVD price.

This isn't like music where one usually only wants 1-3 tracks from the album. Buying 1-3 tracks from a CD, you're paying... 20%!

I'd want the same discount on a downloaded movie, 20% for what I want, even though that's (usually) the entire thing.

Re:No hard copy (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949744)

Out of curiosity, what if they don't give you the disc but let you burn one?

Re:No hard copy (1)

Deathbane27 (884594) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949905)

Out of curiosity, what if they don't give you the disc but let you burn one?

Assuming I always get "close enough" video quality and a good burn... well, I guess $10 compared to $15-25 for the DVD would be about right, but there's still two issues.

-Burned CDs/DVDs have life expectancy issues.
-I, personally, only buy the Collecters' Edition movies with all the extras. Otherwise, I rent.

Niche market-- movie segments = $$$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949780)

Maybe there is some small market for segments of movies...

The topless scene in "Swordfish" comes to mind. There is really only one reason to watch this movie (well, actually two short scenes).

Niche market for certain, but super hot actors nekkid will make a buck per "hot scene" download millions of times over, I am certain of it. Britney Spears could dispense with the formality of making "music" and we would all be better off with her sticking to what she does best, like making perfume commercials or something.

Re:No hard copy (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949868)

This isn't like music where one usually only wants 1-3 tracks from the album.

Huh? Why would you only want 2 or 3 tracks from an album? I could understand if we were talking Fela Kuti [freedb.org] here. Generally the album is the logical unit of musical expression, and it wouldn't make any more sense to just listen to 2 or 3 tracks then it would to just read 2 or 3 chapters from a book. Besides, if someone is talented they don't have any problem filling an album with worthwhile material.

Movies... (4, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949692)

If we are talking new "On at the cinema" movies, I would pay just under what the local cinema charges me; primarily because you get surround sound at the cinema.

If we are talking "Out on DVD" movies, I would pay up to 50% of the cost of the DVD version... I mean with a internet version you get "nothing"; with the DVD version you get higher quality, a box, a disk and perhaps bonus features.

I am from the UK -- And purchased a couple of lost episodes even though the DVD versions of series 2 will be cheaper; but those episodes aren't on in the UK yet, and thus the extra cost was well worth it.

I would also be willing to pay a smaller fee to "rent" an internet movie (one that stops playing after n time limit)... So like $3.50 and you get to watch a new movie for a week wouldn't be all too crazy...

Re:Movies... (1)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949834)

I am from the UK -- And purchased a couple of lost episodes even though the DVD versions of series 2
How did you do that? Aren't those iTunes movies only available in the USA?
I don't see them in the belgian store.

Re:Movies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13950017)

i'm sure you could've had better quality versions of those lost episodes from bit torrent though, what posessed you to waste money on them?

$8!!! (4, Funny)

alecks (473298) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949699)

For 8 bucks they better include at least 20 min of previews before the movie

Re:$8!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949765)

Well....I, for one, would have to say that this all depends on how many close up shots of the porn there is in the movie and how hot the women are. :) hehe...

$8 is too damn high given the 3% raises everyone is getting these days and the rising costs of gasoline...

My 2 coins...

Wide selection (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949705)

If they don't have a wide selection (not just Sony movies), people will get dissuaded and it will fail ..in my opinion.

1) Wide selection
2) Convenience (that includes not instaling a rootkit on my PC, thanks)
3) Price

Of course I havent created a multi billion dollar corporation, so what do I know? I've watched some corps fail though.

Different Prices for Ages of Films (1)

lorenbake (708269) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949707)

Older movies which I can rent for $1 or $2 a pop should be listed for about $5 each. Films new to DVD, I would pay about $10 for a new film, if I could transfer it onto a Sony Memory Stick to watch on the home theatre. Saves gas, postage, plus a trip to Target or the Dollar General. They'd have to pay me $8 to download a Mickey Rourke film. And porno clips should be around $15~20. And none of this iTunes 15 minute short films crap.

At most.. (2, Insightful)

ltwally (313043) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949726)

At most, I'd be willing to pay half of what it costs to buy the DVD at Wal-Mart. This assumes that the download is of comparable quality and includes any extras that are usually reserved for DVD.

I see little reason to pay more than half, considering how much cheaper it is for the studios to put it out on the internet rather than produce, package and ship DVD's. In fact, even if the internet downloaded movie costs half as much as the store bought DVD, the studio will still make more money from the transaction.

Of course, this is all a pipe-dream. Looking at the track record of greed and abuse by the movie studios and their lackeys, you can be sure that internet downloaded movies will have artificially high prices. They'll intro the service at $8 for all movies, and then after a year or so they'll start demanding $15 for new releases. And, to top it off: you know there is no way in hell that these downloads will be legally transferable. If I buy a DVD, and decide it blows, I can at least take it down to the pawn shop or give it to someone else. Can the same thing be said with these DRM laden downloads? I seriously doubt it.

Depends (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949728)

It all depends on the quality of the video and how restrictive the DRM is. For a full length, DVD quality movie that can be burned to a DVD or compressed for a PVP, I think people would be willing to pay as much as $10. For something like Apple's current model (low res, high DRM), people aren't going to pay very much.

Of course the model changes when looking at other video content, such as television shows. With a TV show people are usually looking for something more disposeable. They're not likely to watch it more than once or twice so they probably won't pay as much. $2 is probably the ceiling here, but the quality probably doesn't need to be as high either.
This is a moot point right now. Until the content providers will allow these things to be burned to standard DVD's, people simply aren't going to buy them in large enough quantities to support the business model.

£3.50 (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949757)

That is the usual price of a pay-as-you-go movie {though you will need a picture stabiliser if you want to record it -- they stick Macrovision in the signal because if you chose when you wanted to watch it then you don't need to be able to record it, do you?}; and that is by some bizarre coincidence the same amount as I would pay to download one legally: Three pounds fifty.

Pay per view pricing (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949761)

There is already a model for what people will pay - Pay Per View.

The quality had better be as good as or better than DVD, however (choosable by the user). Unfortunately, the typical internet media is actually lower quality than what it replaces.

LivePhish.com did a great job of offering a choice of either mp3 (lossy) or flac (exact CD quality). flac cost a few bucks extra.

$5 (1)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949763)

I think that $5 would be reasonable, considering that you ARE spending the time to download the movie... most people don't want to do that, so you've gotta set the price kind of low....sure, that's 1/3 of what you're paying at the stores, but they aren't having to waste money on packaging and a DVD.

The problem of cost (1)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949764)

The real issue of cost is probably going to be closely tied to bandwidth. Movies (at least of any sort of decent qualtiy), tend to run about 500mb an hour for decent quality. Now, surely $5 will more than cover the cost of the transfer, but still, it's a lot of bandwidth compared with a song which is just a few megs.

If they could manage some sort of P2P style service while retaining their DRM, this could probably help lower the prices a bit.

The thing to keep in mind is that this is almost all, cash in the bank for them, particularly if they go with a P2P model. There's no packaging, no hard media, nothing, except bits. The price should reflect that. I wouldn't pay $5 for a movie unless it's new and high demand. Otherwise I'll wait for it to show up in the bargain bin and get the DVD with all the DVD extras.

As with anything in economics, the trick is to find the sweet spot, which I'm sure they'll research plenty. But the price is probably going to need to be done on a per movie basis. I mean, if you can buy the disc out of the bargain bin at Wal Mart for $5, it's a pretty sure bet that not that many people will pay $5 for it online. On the other hand, if it's $30 for the disc, then $5 for the online version may be more reasonable.

Re:The problem of cost (1)

Phluxed (737458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949804)

Login based torrents could work as a thought. However then you approach the issue of individuals bandwidth. I have restrictions on how much I can upload and download monthly. If I set a movie to download, and it is uploading at the same time, I'm not going to be pleased if I enter the overhead of my bandwidth and movies cost me more than the $8 a movie in bandwidth. There'd certainly need to be a lot of thought by someone more qualified than myself on the subject.

Re:The problem of cost (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949847)

The cost of the bandwidth probably isn't as great as you think it is - at least not when you are buying massive amounts of bandwidth.

most likely too expensive (1)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949773)

iTunes has latest releases pretty much instantly.

99% surely this 8$/movie means, at best, 'just out on DVD' movies. As DRM-crippled, crap resolution, no extras...

Nope, won't fly.

Now if it's 8$/movie for full DVD image (2 images, if needed with all extras etc), burnable to completely normal DVD+R disc for later viewing. Maybe with slight compromise in quality to fit 4.7GB. Basically what bittorrent is offering right now, I think I might bite.

Will never happen tho. It would make them too much money. They want to offer you 320x200 crap with DRM out of the wazoo.

Only reason iTunes flies is because it's basically a legal option vs. torrents. You get the same thing in the end (good quality, no DRM if you recycle it via CD). No *way* sony would ever put out anything that would actually seem FAIR to the paying customer. So they are doomed to fail. Miserably. Nobody will pay money for a lesser version when the free version is better quality, no DRM crap.

unreadable summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949775)

The submitter's grammer is unacceptable. I usually don't complain, but this summary is nearly unreadable.

A minority voice (1)

TVmisGuided (151197) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949782)

For those of us who live on the outskirts of Far South BFE, such an offering means very little. I have exactly two options for 'Net connectivity: satellite (cost-prohibitive at this point, and unreliable in winter) [broadbandbuyer.com], and dialup (too slow to be workable; I typically get data rates of *gasp* 26.4k on the copper). BPL is an available option for some, but limited deployment and reportedly poor performance, not to mention the uproar from the amateur radio sector, restricts that option as well. So marketing such things to us is a waste of advertising dollars.

In short...I'd pay exactly zero, since that's how much use I would get out of such an offering. YMMV.

Movie rental cost (1)

server1 (702972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949790)

Since i would be using my resources to _download_ a movie I wouldn't any more than $2.50 USD per movie. ...and in general I wouldn't pay for crappy movies or actors.

Little Steep (1)

AcheronHades (837485) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949793)

I personally would not pay more than $5, and this seems a little steep to me. The whole attraction to the download a movie thing is that it's spur of the moment, it's an impulse buy. I am not gonna spend $10+ on a movie unless I really like it. And if I really like it, I might as well drive to Target and buy the DVD (or HD-DVD?) with the box and all too for an extra couple bucks.

If they were asking for a couple dollars for a movie though, I am more likely to grab Friday the 13th on Halloween and It's a Wonderfdul Life on Christmas, purely on impulse.

My price scheme (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949807)

If I were interested in buying such movies, I'd probably pay no more than 4 or 5 € each. And that is, if I can get high-quality downloads with no restrictions what-so-ever. Otherwise it's just more convenient to stick to pirated DivXs (sp?).
But I'd actually be much more interested in a kind of monthly fee. Much like Netflix but with downloads instead of boxed DVDs. I'd pay 15-20 for unlimited downloads. However I understand that this kind of setup only works when a certain scarcity of DVDs exists - which is obviously a moot point in the case of digital media.

Depends on what you get (1)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949810)

If we are talking about a limited time, DRM'ed download, I would pay just slightly less than renting(which is $1.50 canadian for old releases or $3.00 for new where I rent) But that is only IF it does not touch my system, or make me use some trusted computing platform that takes away my control. If it was a ISO that could be burnt to a DVD, the answer is still the same. A little less than purchase price at the store. The case and silkscreening on the DVD are works of art that I cannot duplicate. If it is a DRM'ed movie, that I have problems moving around, backing up, etc? It is not worth my time and worry. I will not even let it on my system.

Vary the price according to demand (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949812)

Why don't they vary the price according to demand? i.e., the movies most in demand would be more expensive. They could then drop the price as demand tails over time. There are mathematic models they could use to maximise revenues this way.

A big benefit of this type of pricing is that it maxmimises revenues, whilst at the same time feels fair to the consumer.
 

Re:Vary the price according to demand (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949971)

Very true. They would most likely vary price by movie. For instance, some of the crap that was in theaters this summer they couldn't pay me to watch, and when someone considered bringing it to our theater on second release, we basically laughed them out of the meeting. However, there are a fair few good movies available. I would pay to see Serenity at home. I would pay to have a copy of Batman Begins. But I'd only download it if was cheaper than DVD. And when you figure on tying up 1.25 GB of bandwidth, and considering that's gonna be at only like 3 MB a minute where I am, and probably about 7 hours of my downloading (so basically an overnight job), it's almost easier to find the DVD for cheap somewhere.

Convenience (1)

rve (4436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949831)

They can charge about as much as DVD rental, if they manage to make it as convenient as P2P (or more convenient), people would pay for it.

People don't use file sharing software for the thrill of breaking the law, but because it is so much more convenient than going to the video store, browsing the many rows of plastic objects by hand, picking out the ones you like, then paying and taking them home, and then returning them to the video store after watching them.

Another reason to use P2P is to obtain TV shows that are not available where you live. It would be nice to be able to buy South Park when it airs, rather than a few years later when the current events they make fun of are not so current anymore.

Release Day? (1)

p0z3r (626621) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949836)

If their availability was to coincide with the day that a movie gets released to the cinema (opening day), then I'd be willing to pay the price of two movie tickets. Somewhere around 15 - 20 bucks. After opening weeekend, that would have to drop though. My reasoning is b/c it is still equal to or less than the current outing with the significant other on opening night and there aren't any 15 year old girls hopping seats or theatre rooms talking on their cellphones the entire time.

8 dollar is too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949838)

Assuming it is like the rules that gouvern iTunes Music Store maybe it would work. If it is play once then pay again it won't work, at least not for me. I personally visit cinemas a lot, the ticket prices here are 4.5 to 9 euros. In the cinema you get superior projection and sound so 8 dollars is too much for movies that you can play only once on a PC. If you could buy hard to find movies (there's quite a few movies that I cannot find on DVD) then maybe I would use it (though I propably would not because I think iTunes is already too restrictive, I just buy regular audio CDs and rip them to iTunes).

Given that Sony is already installing rootkits I don't think I'm going to like their solution.

Buy Second Hand (1)

Tryfen (216209) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949840)

There's a used DVD shop near me. Most new movies cost around £5 (~USD$9). I think the most I ever paid was was £7.50 (~USD$14) for the Extended Special Edition of Fellowship of the Rings.

And, I can sell back any of the discs I no longer want. New releases are usually there a few days after they're released.

Screw putting money into the movie studios' paws - give it to local businesses instead!

Take a look at Netflix (1, Insightful)

old_skul (566766) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949841)

Sony has it all wrong. I don't want to pay a per-download fee. I want to pay a monthly fee, like I do for my satellite, internet, and Netflix subscription.

With my Netflix sub, I pay a flat fee, and I can basically have any movie I'd like to watch practically the day after tomorrow. This flattens the revenue stream for the company, which I'm sure pleases them immensely. I can get my copy of LOTR from Netflix, invite my friends over, watch it on my projector, and have a ball - there's no "per use" fee, no extra money because I had friends over, no "oversize image" charge.

It continually blows me away how clueless and out of touch Big Media is. Look, here's what we want: movies, on demand, on a subscription basis. The revenue potential is immense. We want to watch our first run movies in the theatre, with the option of watching them at home a week or two later. We want them at full DVD quality or better, and we want to be able to save them to our hard drives for convenient watching at a later date.

What? Good Lord! (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949846)

to the tune of $8 a movie.

That's how much a lot of films go for at the local Best Buy. Now they want to use my media and my bandwidth and not give me a price break? Please. No one would agree to this in the business world, why should I agree to it as a consumer?

I don't even know if I'd pay for something online that I really wanted to own, the packaging and pressed disc makes it worth a few bucks more to me. I guess if it was more of a spur of the moment type of thing I'd say 3 USD or maybe 4 USD for a newer film. In all honesty, I probably wouldn't watch a film I download more than 2 or 3 times.

Use an existing model (4, Insightful)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949856)

I use an existing model - Netflix - to determine reasonable pricing. It's about $1 per DVD (including any extras). For that dollar, Netflix is able to pay round-trip postage (i.e., network transport) and give the movie industry their cut.

Movie downloads should cost no more that $1.

Music downloads, compared to other media downloads (movies, above), should cost no more than 10 cents per track or $1 per album.

After all, I can go to my local library and get the DVDs/CDs for zero dollars.

Rented or owned? (0, Flamebait)

jar240 (760653) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949872)

I personally don't understand why anyone buys movies for $17 when you can rent them for $3. Do movie buyers actually watch them more than once? I wouldn't pay $8 for a movie download; the maximum I'd pay is the cost of a rental, but I'd want it when I want it.

Chris

Depends on what they are offering.... (1)

Zphbeeblbrox (816582) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949877)

Depending on the quality and delivery mechanism I might be persuaded to pay out 6 dollars per movie. There are a number of caveats in that though. I'd have to be able to watch the movie anywhere I wanted anyway, I wanted. It would have to have a fast delivery mechanism, and It would have to be a new release. Older releases I wouldn't pay that much for. For your standard movie that's not a new release I'd pay about 4 dollars for maybe 5. The cost of distribution if they do it right(ie bittorrent or similar) will be minimal so that shouldn't enter into it. And the demand will be high so I can't see them having a volume problem. I don't believe that 8 dollars a movie is an accurate reflection of their costs vs market demand to pay. They need to keep in mind that they are competing with the illegal download market. It's not a market vacuum.

Does the movie come with a RootKit also? (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949889)

Sony can kiss my ass and pay me!

I will never buy another Sony product after their DRM bullshit.

Maybe 4.99 (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949892)

I very rarley watch a movie more than once. I listen to music a lot more. I can not watch a movie when I am on my mountian bike, driving my car, are programing. I can listen to music.
What I would really like to see is old TV and radio shows available for free download! How? really simple leave in the old commercials or of the company doesn't exist anymore try to find a commercial from that time for an existing company. I would love to see the Jack Benny Show or any number of old tv shows from the 40s, 50s, 60s, or 70s.
To me the logical progression for TV is a DVR with a built in Bit torrent like system. The cost of distributing the content would plumet and the profits from the commercials could actually increase. To start a network would cost next to nothing. Realtime events like news and sports would have to be streamed or left to regular TV. Now if Google or Apple could just by TCM and TBS to get those movie and television show archives.

A TV advertising-based pricing calculation (1)

DoctorBit (891714) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949901)

TV networks charge advertisers about $15,000 to show a 30-second ad one time while one million viewers watch. (actually alot of the viewers are probably changing the channel or off in the kitchen getting a snack.)

A typical hour of TV has 17 minutes of ads or about 34 30-second ad spots.

So a one-million-viewer TV-hour brings in about $500,000 in advertising revenue.

Thus TV ads bring in about $0.50 per viewer per hour for broadcasters. (I'm amazed they are paying so much. If I channel surf for four hours without watching any ads, I've kindof ripped off the advertisers $2!)

Since a typical movie lasts two hours, advertisers in total are paying about one dollar per viewer.

Network overhead eats alot of that dollar, so it seems sensible to me that movie downloads should cost less than a dollar.

Right Livlihood (1)

cannuck (859025) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949903)

There are several ways to price anything. One approach comes from a notion of Right Livihood. How much would you charge your best friend for the product/service?

Depends... (1)

ShoobieRat (829304) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949914)

If I'm going to actually own the movie after download, then I'd accept paying close to what I pay off the shelf for. (About $12-15) If it's for rent, like netflix, where you don't actually own the film and eventually have to give it back, then something along the lines of current rentals would be fine ($2-5).

To be honest, $5-10 for a movie, is perfectly fine. It's a movie, not just a 3 minute song. Complaining about $10 is pathetic. If the industry decides to go forward with this, and they charge $10 a movie, I'll be happy. The only thing I can see them doing wrong is charging more than the physical store copy.

Does it come with Root Kit Source Code (2, Funny)

randyflood (183756) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949940)


I'd be willing to pay more for the movie if it came with the source code to the root kit that they wanted to intall on my machine to enforce DRM in order for me to watch it...

Gosh, let me think (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949936)

to the tune of $8 a movie.

No.

I can rent it for 3 dollars or wait until it hits the bargain bin at the Wal-Marte' for the same price.

Sony used to be a great company, now they're just a greedy, pathetic corporate troll. The Gollum of the entertainment industry. They wants to copy me preccccioussssssses. Nasty, stinky customers!

Charge per minute (1)

Stevarino (607540) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949962)

With all of the crappy movies out there, I'd rather pay per-minute so I can save face after 30 minutes of watching a piece of crap movie and turn it off. That said, I wouldn't pay more than $3.99 for a movie, and I'd hope it's in Quicktime HD fullscreen format (check out the new King Kong trailer). If someone starts a service like this and it's in .rm Realplayer format I'll be laughing my way over to bittorrent.com.

Price point too high compared to rental, PPV, DVD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13949965)

Why would anyone pay more for this than they pay for PPV now?

Oddly enough, although PPV has a broadband pipe and "eliminates the need to go to the store", it has yet to eliminate video rental stores, much less video purchase.

silly (1)

justplainpostal (928456) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949974)

I'd accept .0c / min / DL of advertising heavy, DRM filled, recordable once and scheduled by me on demand data, with a subscription service of say around $5 / month. On the other hand, I would accept a DL purchasable system that can have DRM, would be advertising free and allow me to copy, own and schedule for myself on demand to be used in any device I want for the following at no subscription. Book: Approximately .1c per 10 pages. Music: About .5c / min Video: About .25c / 2 hours

$8 too much for most things (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949987)

I say $8 is too much because for most things I don't need or want to keep it after watching. For $1 I can rent it for an evening from a Red Box. There are a few that I've bought the DVD before watching and been quite disappointed, but I was dumb enough to buy instead of rent. Or if what I want isn't at a Red Box, I can go to Blockbuster and still pay less than $8 to watch it.

Now, if I want to keep something, $8 might be a fair price, assuming the quality compares well with a DVD. They can leave out the special features and commentary from this $8 download, I rarely watch those things anyway.

But in the end it might still not be worth it, if it's too heavily DRMed then my MythTV box connected to my TV won't play it back, and if so then it's worth exactly zero to me.

Comparing to DVDs? (1)

blue_fireball_eater (926755) | more than 8 years ago | (#13949995)

I have a hard time comparing a movie download to a DVD....how about comparing it to the UMDs of the PSP instead? This, of course, is because they still charge a premium price for the movie and skip out on the presentation completely. Downloadable movies would have no interactive menus, deleted scenes, interviews, etc - just like UMD movies. I just love Sony's marketing schemes...
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