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Is Piracy In the Consumers' Best Interests?

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the cheap-dates dept.

574

moviemodel writes "Warner Home Video in China are beginning trials of 'simple pack' DVD releases at $1.50. They state they are doing this as a test to see if they can recover a market lost to pirate DVD's at 75c each. They also sell higher priced and more complete DVD sets as 'silver' and 'gold' packs. Maybe this marks the beginning of movie industry realism and long hoped for shift in business models, forced by piracy. Perhaps they can take it on as a better model for movie downloads worldwide, facing the same problem of competition from pirated movies. Is such a model viable in the long term?"

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574 comments

Less risk. (5, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180230)

They have less of my money at $1.50, which is good. When they get what they're currently charging there's a risk they'll make more crap films starring clueless overpaid actors, and that's not a risk I'm prepared to take. I only watch a film once, so why pay more for a DVD than it costs to watch in the theater?

Re:Less risk. (2, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180287)

I only watch a film once, so why pay more for a DVD than it costs to watch in the theater?

Why would you even buy the movie in the first place then? Just go rent it for $3.50 (or whatever) at your video store. You're certainly not the market they're aiming for if you don't collect movies and watch them multiple times... or do you use that excuse to justify pirating them via BitTorrent or Usenet?

Re:Less risk. (4, Insightful)

Ryz0r (849412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180302)

>>I only watch a film once, so why pay more for a DVD than it costs to watch in the theater?

Because of the bonus features, of course!

Who doesnt want to see mind numbingly repetitive out-takes and deleted scenes that no one wants to see? what about the countless hours of commentry by random nobodies.. "oh yeah this is the bit where i was in the back doing nothing important and i dropped my pen, so if you turn up the volume REALLY LOUD you can just about hear it hit the floor!"

Hell, i'd pay twice what you pay in the theatre for that..!

Re:Less risk. (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180329)

Don't forget the mind-numbingly repetitive scences salvaged
from the cutting room recycle bin that find their way into
the "director's cut."

(Perhaps "40-year-old virgin" could be cut to an amusing movie;
I'll never know because I saw the director's cut and I'm certainly
not going to invest *another* couple of hours of my time to see.)

Re:Less risk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180368)

I think the fact that you watched "40-year-old virgin" in the first place says something about you.

Better than nothing (4, Insightful)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180239)

At least they can make some money now selling cheap DVDs instead of nothing selling overpriced ones.

Re:Better than nothing (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180340)

At least they can make some money now selling cheap DVDs

Which just goes to show ya exactly how overpriced DVDs are. CDs as well.

Think about stuff from the catalog too, say Chaplin's City Lights ($22) or Badfinger's No Dice ($17), whose costs were paid off decades ago and so aren't relevant in justifying the cost of the disk. In fact, under the copyright laws that were in effect the first time I ever saw/heard most of the stuff in the catalog they should be in the public domain already. As far as I'm concerned Congress has breached their contract with me when it comes to these.

KFG

If they're serious about it, then it is (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180241)

1.50? You don't even have to go that low. Make them 5 bucks and you already have a deal. 5 bucks, no DRM and, hell, why should anyone DL movies anymore? Wait for a day to DL stuff, only to find out that instead of Ice Age 2 you get a cheap copy of Sally does Houston. AND you find out when li'l Jimmy starts the film.

Why is the IPod so popular? Affordable tracks and ... well, there is DRM, but so far nobody noticed it yet 'cause the IPods didn't break down yet.

But for some reason I expect this to be some PR stunt, showing that in China you can't even get the market back when you go down to 1.50 bucks. One reason COULD be that the average Chinese doesn't have those 1.5 bucks to spend on DVDs. Why do you try it in China, why not in the US? Or Europe? Or some other country where people actually (still) have the money to actually buy content?

Re:If they're serious about it, then it is (3, Interesting)

deep44 (891922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180260)

Try reading the entire article summary next time. It mentions that they are trying to compete with $0.75 pirated copies.

Re:If they're serious about it, then it is (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180288)

Oh so that's what they meant by "a market lost to pirate DVD's at 75c each"; I figured they meant that DVDs only cost 75c to produce and that they were only making a 75c profit on them. Bad verbage I guess.

Re:If they're serious about it, then it is (1)

deep44 (891922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180306)

Hmm, I hadn't considered that.. nice point. Not 100% sure what they mean with that statement.

Re:If they're serious about it, then it is (4, Funny)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180378)

Man, you slashdotters are all the same. First, it was all "read the article, read the article, blah blah blah, rtfm", and now it's "read the summary, rtfs". I bet next you'll be wanting people to read the entire headline before posting! Well, good sir, from now on, I fully intend on just glazing over the keywords of the summary, maybe one or two of the works in the links, and then posting the first thing that comes to my mind!

Re:If they're serious about it, then it is (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180286)

1.50? You don't even have to go that low. Make them 5 bucks and you already have a deal.

Your plan would work in the US. Unfortunately, the article is talking about China. These are two very different markets. And as deep44 mentioned, when you're competing with 75 cent versions, 5 bucks is still too much. $1.50 seems like a very reasonable number for this trial run.

Re:If they're serious about it, then it is (1)

Koheleth (967677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180297)

I don't think that it is a matter of downloading. Someone rips the movie off and then sells the disc for, like the article says, $.75. What is also interesing is that those selling say that there is a surprising demand for the 'pricey box sets'. Seperating those real media people from those that just want to see th movie.

I think it is a good move for the company to see if they can reclaim some sales with the more honest side of the dishonest.

Re:If they're serious about it, then it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180345)

Affordable tracks have made the iPod popular? hahaha!

Yeah, I'm sure everyone with a ipod dropped a couple grand to fill it up legally with 99 cent songs. Right.

Re:If they're serious about it, then it is (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180349)

1.50? You don't even have to go that low.

Yes you do. This is China. You know, the place that made your trainers?

Old argument (0, Flamebait)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180243)

People who steal are very good at talking people into thinking that what they did is OK, or even helpful. Bear that in mind. As UKL would say "Don't listen to the dragon''

Re:Old argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180263)

Copying != Stealing

Re:Old argument (2, Informative)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180315)

stealing isnt rigth term.They just copy the information.Nothing stolen.
I wonder why people look at "piracy" so
prejudiced, it isnt a very good thing helping more people to get their entertainment and information?
At cheaper cost and even free with file sharing (BitTorrent,file hosts,etc).
Piracy is "wrong" because it promoted as such by cartels that hold copyrights.
Free world doesn't need such leeches.
They will get rid of sooner or later.

Re:Old argument (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180355)

People who steal are very good at talking people into thinking that what they did is OK

Ya mean like constantly expanding the range of copyright laws so that nothing ever actually goes into the the public domain, so the free money cow never dries up?

KFG

Re:Old argument (2, Interesting)

Saeul (880805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180493)

Ya mean like constantly expanding the range of copyright laws so that nothing ever actually goes into the the public domain, so the free money cow never dries up?

That position is very short-sighted. It isn't "theft" to extend copyright laws. The rough analog to the copyrighted material devolving from private property to public property is Congress writing a law that causes your house to be turned over to the city after 100 years. While you almost certainly will be dead when it happens, what public good is enhanced by destroying private ownership?

I can see it for shared works of commerce such as open source software where ALL participants agree to pool their interests for the public good. But I don't see it for art. While I'm sure the public good can be shown to be "served" by confiscating physical works of art, it still smells like theft to me. Is the case any less obvious with intellectual property that is essentially entertainment?

Re:Old argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180494)

Or how probably a complete lack of interest or discresionable income is a far more likely to explain why complete crap movies die in the sales bin??

In a true open market (1, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180244)

DVD's should basically be 1.50 every where else in the world too then.

Re:In a true open market (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180293)

"DVD's should basically be 1.50 every where else in the world too then." ... said without even thinking.

Thinking about how 1.50 dollars could be a days wage in some parts of the world, and just 3 minutes in other parts.

Do you think that such a trinket of entertainment should cost a full days work for one, and just 3 minutes of work for the other ? Or do you think that both should spend roughly the same ammount ?

And no, i'm no advocate of region-locking that DVD's are currently subject to. But paying everywhere the same ? Yeah, right.

Re:In a true open market (1)

marx (113442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180457)

Then that should be true of all commodities. Let's say that the average person in the US or Europe makes 20 times as much as the average Chinese. Should a car of the same quality be 20 times more expensive in the US or Europe? And should I then be prevented from buying it in China and selling it in the US/Europe?

Either you accept a free and global market, or else you don't. You can't just support a free market when it benefits you, and then oppose it when it doesn't.

Re:In a true open market (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180303)

Then everyone else in the world should be making $40,000 a year, too.

Re:In a true open market (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180311)

What's sad...

At a 1.50... I would own every movie I watch...

WALLS... WALLS... OF DVD!

Did I mention walls?

Could you imagine the harm to the rental business even at 2.50?

WALLS I SAY!

Re:In a true open market (1)

fontkick (788075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180427)

It could be argued that in a true open market DVDs should be priced as high as people are willing to pay (Star Wars box sets, for example), and lowered if people are unmotivated to buy. The same thing for music. This explains iTunes success, as people are more willing to pay $1.00 for a song than $17.00 for a CD with that song. The problem with piracy is that people care less about living by a moral code than "having lots of stuff" and they don't even want to pay a reasonable price for something they want. $15-20 for a DVD you love is hardly unreasonable in the U.S..

Killing copyrights is in their best interest (2, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180251)

Re:Killing copyrights is in their best interest (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180281)

Copyright has its right to exist. When someone creates something, he puts time and money behind it, develops it and he should have a chance to earn money that way. If you take this possibility away, the looser would be the artist who is already getting ripped by the studios. Studios wouldn't sign contracts with him anymore. They'd wait for him to perform, tape it and distribute the song that way, without giving him a cent. Or they wait for him to spend his own money to press a few CDs, rip those CDs, hype it, and sell it as their own.

And we all know how much they know about marketing and hyping, and how little about art.

In fact, killing copyrights would even put those artists out of business who still create art. They're few, they're well hidden on the 'net and you have to search them, the studios won't throw them at you.

And as a bottom line, we, the ones who enjoy their art, would be the loosers on this one.

Copyright isn't the problem. The problem is that the balance is off. Copyright came into existance to create a balance between those who produce, those who distribute and those who consume content. The balance is way off. But that doesn't mean we have to throw the right out, we just have to put it back into balance.

Re:Killing copyrights is in their best interest (3, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180370)

Copyright has its right to exist. When someone creates something, he puts time and money behind it, develops it and he should have a chance to earn money that way.

What? Copyrights don't have rights, individuals have rights. Anyhow, if someone wants to make money from a creation, try giving a concert - not monopolizing the distribution channel and microregulating how every individual on the planet copys information at their disposal. If you want balance, then let content flow freely and charge for content related services. Content doesn't have a natural limit in supply vs demand, content related services do.

Re:Killing copyrights is in their best interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180402)

Copyrights don't have rights, individuals have rights.
You were probably being sarcastic here, but I'm going ahead anyway.

"Has its rights" is an expression. English is full of expressions, whether they make sense or not.
[/point]

Re:Killing copyrights is in their best interest (1)

castoridae (453809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180478)

That's no good. This puts a very hard cap on what even the top, most "succesful" content creators can earn. When you sell services, you are selling your time. You only have so many hours in a day, and you can only reasonably charge so much for an hour of your time. The musician can't go perform a concert every time someone somewhere in the world wants to hear his song. But why shouldn't he receive some compensation when they do? He created it with his own time, energy, and risk. He had the opportunity cost of plying a different trade, and took a risk to spend his time creating his art. I know this is /. and IP of any sort is bad, but I'll take my chances posting this. ;-)

The intended purpose of copyright (and patents) is to provide incentive to artists and inventors to take risks and create. Your approach would have it that inventors can't profit directly off their inventions, they simply have to use that to make a name for themselves as consultants. Sorry, but where's the incentive to invent? And once you have a name - as the best will - where's the incentive to continnue innovating? I'm doing just fine as a consultant without having invented Linux or any other big open-source innovation. Spending my time inventing something that would "make a name for" myself isn't going to seriously impact my income - and it's definitely not going to pay for the time it took me to invent it.

I'll take my IP, thank you very much.

Re:Killing copyrights is in their best interest (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180496)

The problem is, as stated before, the balance. Please realize that removing the copyright altogether would hurt the artist by far more than the distributor.

As you say, the amount of service you can provide behind some content is limited. You can only make so many appearances, you can only give so many concerts. What would keep a studio from ripping me off?

Let's say I write THE song of the century and go on tour as "The Opportunist". Now, Phony Records puts up some studio gang and has them go on tour as "The REAL Opportunists", puts a load of hype behind it, slanders me and makes sure that everyone believes that I'm the imposter. The only thing I could do is write statements myself, trying to tell the truth (Prior art? Original artist? Doesn't matter without copyrights).

Who's gonna win in that scenario? Me, the artist or Phony, the multinational record company? Who's gonna have a bigger audience in those concerts? Who's gonna make a killing from concert tickets and who's gonna kill himself trying to sell his?

Next scenario: Software. Without copyrights, what would keep MS from taking Linux and running with it? Stuff their marketing and GUI guys behind it, create a flashy and squeaky colorful GUI for it, then "embrace and extend" until it's no longer compatible with ordinary Linux. Oh, it is, but it has "additional features" that people will enjoy and use, thus making sure that it's not really compatible with the old stuff anymore.

Yes, people could "pirate" Windix without a problem. Legally, even. Only problem is that MS could, without a problem, create a "service" that you have to pay for, like, patches, codecs, content, update, etc. only for money, encrypted to match a paid key so it only works with this key, which in turn changes often enough to make it a PITA to keep up with your "copy" of it if you're not willing to pay.

Face it, killing copyright would never hurt the fat cats. It hurts the free artist, the free author and thus, in turn, the customer.

Copyrights are out of balance. Completely. The scale is tipped too far, the rightholder has too many rights on his hands, while the user is getting cornered more and more. That has to change. And copyright has to become the balancing tool between the creator and the consumer again.

But it should definitly not be removed from existance.

Re: Killing copyrights is in their best interest (1)

Vadim Makarov (529622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180379)

Well said. Vote for the Pirate Party [piratpartiet.se] on the upcoming elections (if you are in Sweden)!

Re: Killing copyrights is in their best interest (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180439)

If I could, I most certainly would.

Re:Killing copyrights is in their best interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180406)

Quiet, you. You're interfering with the standard Slashbotter's feeling of entitlement. Piracy is fine, and not even piracy because it's sharing and not stealing, and they never would have bought that movie/music anyway because Hollywood/popular music is nothing but shit and actors/musicians make too much money anyway and if it was real art then they wouldn't be asking for money anyway because real artists/programmers do it for the sake of art/OSS and while we realize that real artists/coders live in a world where food and rent costs money, that's what they get for selling out/moving out of Mom's basement.

Re:Killing copyrights is in their best interest (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180485)

Copyright has its right to exist. When someone creates something, he puts time and money behind it, develops it and he should have a chance to earn money that way.

Why?

If I build a shed in my garden, I put a lot of time and money behind it. Should I have some inherent right to earn money as a result?

Just because something takes time and effort, doesn't necessarily mean you have a right to earn money from doing it, or even a chance to earn money from it.

Art existed before copyright.

Re:Killing copyrights is in their best interest (1)

oirtemed (849229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180509)

That's correct. I'm fine with copyrights, they serve some good. I don't like copyrights that last as long as the do now a days, especially when congress is pretty much legislating perpetual copyrights these days (Eldred v Ashcroft has some opinions attesting to that). A copyright should last for lets say 40/50 years or the life of the author plus maybe 5, maybe 10 years - whichever comes first. I'm sorry, the children and spouses don't really have a right to that creation - that's ridiculous, where does it stop - great great grandkids? The creator should use his profit from when he was living to protect and provide for his family, thats what normal people do. Can you imagine how much more creativity would be fueled if things created 50 years ago were now public domain? I can. Cause lord knows you can't use currently copyrighted materials in your work without paying unbearable fees. There is a real problem when people who shoot documentaries are afraid to accidently film a few second clip of the Simpons. Anyone who tries to tell me the system isn't broken is a fool, it's as plain as day. How to fix it is the real issue...but we won't even get that issue considered as long as Disney and the like keep lobbying to horde their IP pool. And don't try to argue that stuff 40-50 years old still has commercial value. That is irrelevant. It should have some value, and that value should be free for the society as a whole to benefit from. 40-50 years is a long time to be profiting off of one work.

Why not here? (2, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180252)

Apparently it IS possible to sell them for such a price. Why not here? This just proves that they CAN sell for less but do not WANT to.

Re:Why not here? (1)

grogdamighty (884570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180275)

The only reason why they are selling them for so little is because the market is saturated with pirated copies, which the article lists as costing $0.75. The situation is somewhat like the console wars: Hollywood just wants to find a way into the market, even if they have to take a loss.

Re:Why not here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180376)

So is the local markets here (not in china) saturated with downloads. Its just a DIGITAL SHELF not a STORE SHELF.

The key word is "contribution margin" (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180312)

Content is interesting, as a commodity. It has HUGE fixed costs and almost ZERO variable costs. I.e., studios have to pay a LOT to create some song, but the cost per CD to make is very close to zero.

Now, to make a CD costs, say, 10 cents. That's the difference between pressing this single CD and not pressing it. Material cost, if you want. Because the artist played, whether the CD exists or not, the hype runs, the pressing machine is standing there with the master ready to press, the workers are there, all of that independent of whether or not this one CD is being pressed or not.

Now, selling this CD at anything more than 10 cents is better than NOT selling it at all. And in China, the market is saturated with bootlegs. So you usually DON'T sell at all.

Now, you can't sell all your CDs at 20 cents. Yes, sure, you'd cover the cost of the CD. But you would never be able to cover the fixed costs.

Re:Why not here? (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180347)

Apparently it IS possible to sell them for such a price. Why not here? This just proves that they CAN sell for less but do not WANT to.

Ummm, DUH! Of course they could sell DVDs for $1.50 here in the USA, but they can also sell them for $19.95. If people stopped buying $20 DVDs they'd quickly start falling in price to the point where people started buying them. The trouble is, there are enough people out there with enough disposable income that a $20 DVD isn't a big deal to them, thus the market prices DVDs around $20 here in the USA for new releases.

Re:Why not here? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180375)

but they can also sell them for $19.95.

Except that they can't. If they could, they wouldn't be sobbing about piracy and using the government as a club to beat down their customers.

Re:Why not here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180395)

Apparently it IS possible to sell them for such a price. Why not here? This just proves that they CAN sell for less but do not WANT to.

These $.75 DVDs are being sold out of cardboard boxes or back-alley shacks [blogspot.com] , not pricey malls. The workers aren't getting $8/hour, plus management overhead. The lights aren't kept on bright, the a/c isn't kept blazing.

And of course, why would they sell it for $.75, when people are happy buying it for $10? If prices were set by what consumers WANTED to pay, everything would be somewhere between free and a pittance.

Why not here?-Cheap is the new god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180418)

"Apparently it IS possible to sell them for such a price. Why not here? This just proves that they CAN sell for less but do not WANT to."

Don't worry Guruvi. When the US economy resembles China's then you all can get content at "Wal-mart" prices. Hell you will be able to get EVERYTHING at Wal-mart prices. Hope you all enjoy your new economic environment. It's worth it for the LOW, LOW prices.

Re:Why not here? (1)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180518)

Not at all true.

Let's consider a situation where it actually matters: pharmaceuticals. Drugs, if you will.

Say a drug company has invested five billion in a successful bid to find an AIDS vaccine, which they can make for $5/vaccination. Now, if they release it only in the U.S., they figure they can charge $300/vaccination, and quickly recoup their investment. But if they also sell it to Nigeria, they'll find very few people who can afford it.

So, what's the solution here? Obviously, lower the price in Nigeria. They can sell them for $10/each, still make loads of money, while providing something that will save lives. They're already making their money back just on sales to America.

Now enter the secondary effects. Given that there is now an item people can buy in Nigeria for $10 and sell in the States for twenty times that (while still undercutting the market), a booming business emerges, and half the drugs sent to Nigeria end up back in the states. So every vaccination sent to Nigeria actually costs the drug company around $150 in lost sales.

Meanwhile, Senator Rotweiler is grandstanding up on Capitol Hill, complaining about how the drug company is ripping people off by charging hundreds of dollars for a vaccine that costs five bucks to make. His proof? The fact that they can sell it in Nigeria for $10.

My point isn't that drug companies are saints, or that DVDs should be priced where they are (most movies have broken even before they hit the DVD market). The wider economic point is that sometimes by offering different prices to different people, businesses can make more money and serve more people. Demanding that everyone pay exactly the same price for an item, rather than allowing them to pay what they will can destroy market efficiency, leading to fewer people getting access to goods, whether lifesaving medicine or copies of Booty Call 2.

Anyhow, they're just movies. If you're so indignant about the price, fire up BitTorrent. That'll l'arn em.

Gold release still very cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180254)

It states Gold releases go for Rmb35, or 3 times the $1.50 release, so $4.50.

Piracy is what made MS Windows (3, Insightful)

m2bord (781676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180257)

Geeks installing Windows 3.1 and 3.11 on their work computers on top of DOS, is the flagship operating system/GUI made its initial foothold. Wordperfect was originally the dominant tool for word processing and when people started pirating MS Word in the same offices, it gave MS an addition line into each office. Finally...look at the MP3 device industry. There wouldn't be a demand for Ipods and other MP3 players if it weren't for piracy. Piracy helps more than it hurts. But copyright holders issue these exaggerated claims about how much piracy hurts them and how much money it costs them. The truth is those claims are exaggerated because many of the installations of pirated software or music are things that most would never buy anyway. So piracy does have its plusses. It's just that intellectual property rights holders know that if they do not actively protect their intellectual assets, US law will not be on their side.

Re:Piracy is what made MS Windows (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180332)

I think the important thing to note here is that piracy *can* be beneficial in some circumstances. It doesn't mean that it always is.

Re:Piracy is what made MS Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180438)

It doesn't mean that it always is.

Exactly, piracy is what made MS Windows.

DVD prices? (1)

newevilmind (962032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180259)

I thought new DVDs were between $15 and $20. The article says people are paying more than $20??

Re:DVD prices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180528)

they're certainly more than £10 ($20) in the UK

ALL I want (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180261)

Is the movie itself. I do not want ANY options other than to play
the movie. No advertisements, trailers or anything else.
Will they do that?

How about quality? (2, Interesting)

AusIV (950840) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180264)

It's getting to the point where one advantage of pirating a movie instead of paying for it is that you can actually get a better quality product by pirating it. In an era when the high quality movie players downgrade the quality to older sources, and you can only play your DVD in certain parts of the world, a pirated DVD offers more flexibility.

The same goes for music. If you're limited as to where you can play your music for buying at an online music store, it suddenly seems more advantageous to start pirating music, so you can play it on an uncertified MP3 player or an operating system that doesn't have DRM support.

If the movie and music industries want to fight piracy, they're going to have to provide a product that is at least as good as what you can get by pirating.

Re:How about quality? (4, Interesting)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180284)

If I BUY a DVD, I get warnings, ads and stupid menus that I can't bypass on my standard DVD player.

If I download a ripped movie, I get the movie I want without the crap. It starts the moment I put it in the player.

Right now, I prefer downloaded movies over pressed copies because I'm actually getting a superior product.

Re:How about quality? (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180394)

I hate how they lock up my DVD player like that.

In the past I rented 3-5 movies a week, now I barely rent 2 a month. I tend to watch my vhs collection more and more because it is easier to start and stop, I simply push play and stop.

The DVD's you have to put it in and wait, and get a splash screen, then if you miss it you get ads, and warnings and a menu.

Sheesh, I put the DVD in, I hit play, now PLAY the FREAKING MOVIE.

Excuses... (1)

deep44 (891922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180296)

It doesn't matter.. you'll just find some other obscure justification for pirating the movie. Let me ask you this- do you purchase the so-called low quality movie, and then download a better quality "backup" copy? Or is the movie industry just S.O.L. because they didn't bring their A-game with the original DVD distribution?

Re:Excuses... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180362)

It's a balance of values, each person has their own weighing system.
1. Convienence to obtain, how easy is it? Do I have to drive to the store, wait a week for it to come in the mail, etc. Or find it on a file sharing program and mark it for download
2. Price: Free vs. $
3. Quality: MP3's vary in quality, even DVD's to
4. Legitamancy: For many people, legality is a good thing. If nothing else, you don't have to worry about being sued/prosecuted if you keep it legal.
5. Annoyance: As what many people have said, copy 'protection' annoys them, and actually makes the illegal copies easier to use for their intended purposes. For my part, I don't own a CD player, so why would I want to get my music on CD's? If I do, the first stop is the computer to rip it into MP3.

If legitimate companies reduce the price of their product and get rid of the annoyances, they can be very competitive. They're a guarenteed quality source*, after all.

*Excepting the ocasional FUBAR, of course, but it happens less than with file sharing.

Re:Excuses... (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180505)

I'm not a pirate. I haven't illegally downloaded anything in at least 6 years, and at that time the quality of pirated media was lower than what you can get for money. Consequently, everything I pirated in middle school has either been replaced by legitimate copies, or discarded.

As I say, I'm not a pirate. I'm a legitimate consumer whose pissed because I can't legally play DVDs on my Linux box, and the $350 I have invested in content from the iTunes music store keeps me tied to Windows. My family falls into the HD early adopter category, and the HD Television and Projector we purchased don't meet the standards set by HDDVD and BluRay players. I'm not trying to justify piracy. In my mind piracy gave the recording industries the opportunity to screw legitimate consumers like myself. I just wish the recording industry would come to realize that their "anti-piracy" tactics go further to promote piracy than to discourage it. If they ever get that message (which I'm not counting on), maybe everyone will be able to get a fair deal.

Very valid argument (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180325)

Actually, with HDDVD/BluRay this could get worse. If a pirated HDDVD offers HD, whether or not all your equipment is "safe" from you, you could even see those pirate DVDs being sold more expensively than the originals. :)

Re:How about quality? (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180405)

The DVDs you buy on the street in Shanghai for $1.25 (9 Yuan) are exact copies of the commercial ones, so the fidelity is the same. The packaging is crappy and you have to waste a bit of your time insisting the vendor show it to you before buying. Perhaps that's why I never saw one for $0.75 -- I only bought from people who were prepared to give me a demo.

But seriously a $1.25 street price in Shanghai would probably map to $5.00 in New York and maybe $0.75 in less travelled parts of China.

And in both places there's an upscale and/or convenience market. People think nothing of paying double or triple the floor price for
exactly the same candy, food, beer, etc. depending on the situation.
But ten or twenty times is a bit of a reach in any marketplace.

Damn right! (1)

Anonimouse (934959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180271)

It's about time the big cooperations woke up to the correct way of combating the problem. In Hong Kong the pirate CD market essentially forced the software companies to sell their software for more realistic prices. The same goes for the films. It is now almost as cheap to purchase a legal copy (of certain films and software) as it is to get hold of a pirate copy. So most people's reasoning is why not buy the legit version if it is the same price? They have piracy to thank for this. To all those that say this is stealing etc. etc., don't you know that you are getting shafted big time with those prices? By just accepting those prices you are just reinforcing the companies perception that the public will take whatever is handed to them.

DVD Rentals / Direct to DVD (2, Insightful)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180276)

There is NO way they will lower the prices in the rest of the world. If they did then all video rental stores would go out of business - or start moving a lot more merchandise. Likewise, direct-to-DVD releases cannot be priced very low; DVD sales are their only form of revenue.

As much as I would like to see movies for $1.50. It will never happen.

Re:DVD Rentals / Direct to DVD (1)

simonjp (970013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180455)

Even so, surely it is possible to assume that a lower price will help people think twice about downloading movies. I just bought some DVDs the other day (7 movies in fact!) and they were semi-old and thus cheap; I've seen some of them before, but I felt that as i could get the DVD at that price, it'd be good to get a copy. Contrast this with new DVDs: the UK price isn't particularly consumer friendly (although I guess people still pay for them) - a new DVD could cost you anywhere from about £20+. Cut that by even 33% and I'm sure a lot more would go through, without bankrupting either the video stores or the companies (not like that would happen). Even now, we're seeing struggling high street stores facing competition from online retailer costs (cf SilverScreen), dropping the prices would be better for all.

Of Course (2, Funny)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180279)

Free stuff is always in the consumer interest.

Re:Of Course (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180331)

...so said my dealer... First sample's free...

Of course (4, Interesting)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180280)

s such a model viable in the long term?
Of course is viable. You just profit less. And even that perhaps is not true. I've been in China, where you can get absolutely anything in DVD for about 1 dollar each. In fact, it would be difficult for you to try and get a properly licensed film in China. I know I didn't found any. And there was another difference. I had friends there that had more that two thousand DVDs at home, many of which they hadn't had time to see. They simply bought on impulse, because spending 1 dollar is not something you think a lot about. Of course my friends had higher than average (for China) earnings, but in time more and more chinese families will approach that income level.

My bet is that if you had DVDs priced at 1.5$, film copyright infringement would end as we know it, and the amount of dollars spent in DVDs by the average family would grow. I cannot guess if that increase would be enough to compensate for the much-reduced margin on each DVD, but I would bet it would be better bussiness in the long term.

Add to that the release of DVDs on the same day of first screening (sell the things as people exits the cinema), and you have the film distribution model of the future. Big-screen film watching is a fundamentally different experience than DVD watching, and there is but little market cannibalising between the two of them. Film distributors should start to know that.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180463)

Of course is viable. You just profit less. And even that perhaps is not true

Actually, if you look at it you don't profit less if you set your price point correctly; you make up in volume what you lack in single sales profit. Consider MP3s for example, if you sell a MP3 for $1 only the people who really like the song (or artist) are willing to download the song (and there is only a small chance that they will download the entire album without hearing it first), on the other hand if you sell the same MP3 for $0.25 anyone who is vaguely interested in the artist will probably download the entire album (potentially 4 times as many users spending $2-$4 each rather than $1).

Re:Of course (5, Funny)

Zordak (123132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180520)

>> if you set your price point correctly; you make up in volume what you lack in single sales profit.

Yes, it's almost as if you could draw two intersecting lines. One line would represent the number of units people would demand as the price increases. The other would represent the number that manufacturers would be willing to supply as the price decreases. I wonder what it would mean when those two lines intersected.

Re:Of course (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180530)

Poignant, I believe strongly that movies and tv shows need to come down to rental costs and the studios will make more money over the long haul. I mean when I was a kid I thought about having a huge SAN (Storeage Area Network) recording all the television all the time, before DVRs and we still have not got there, we will.

But what does average Chinese person make? (2, Insightful)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180299)

This may not be such a deal for the average Chinese person.

This article http://www.business-in-asia.com/china_wages.html [business-in-asia.com] states: "To give an example of the spread in salaries in a foreign firm in China, a professional employee could earn an annual salary of approximately 100,000 RMB (approx. US$12,000) while a factory worker or an ordinary employee could expect about 36,000 RMB (approx US$4,340).

So, one "cheap" DVD costs 12RMB, or 1/362nd of their yearly salary. In our terms, say with a salary of $30,000, that would be $82.95.

Average Chinese wages... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180417)

I'd have to say that you'd also have to figure in that the expenses for the workers are much less as well. Most of them don't own a motor vehicle. I pay 14% of my net for my car alone, and I don't have anywhere near the car that many do.

If they have a TV & DVD player, I can also see them doing what I did in my youth: Trade. We'd trade our computer & video games around, effectivly increasing our entertainment on the dollar.

Re:But what does average Chinese person make? (5, Informative)

balloonhead (589759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180423)

12 of 36 000 is 1/3000 = so your math is out by a factor of around 10.

$8 for a DVD isn't so bad (assuming the rest of your calcs are correct - I didn't check)

Nice math (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180435)

But take it one step further. If pirated DVD's indeed sell at $0.75 then that still would be a whopping 40 bucks in the west.

What is probably the case here that china has a large spread in incomes and that the new middle class does have more money to spend then a factory worker. In a country of a billion plus the middle class even if it is just emerging must be a gigantic market.

Still yeah, your math shows the real problem. In western terms the difference between $0.75 and $1.50 doesn't seem much but translate it to percentage of income and it is huge.

Just wonder what the prices were like before. A dvd costing a weeks salary or more? And they wonder why there is piracy.

No more customs anxiety (2, Interesting)

coffeechica (948145) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180313)

Great, so the next time I travel to China I can stock up on DVDs cheaply and actually get a receipt for them so I won't have to worry about being searched at customs. A few dozens of DVDs are always a bit tricky to explain in those situations.

Can't see how this will make a difference for the Chinese consumers, though, unless there is a massive anti-piracy campaign sometime in the near future.

Re:No more customs anxiety (1)

simonjp (970013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180503)

How many DVDs can you import legally anyhow? I mean won't people will just take empty suitcases over there to come back with DVDs to sell under UK market prices on the street - except this time the copies you buy will be legal and not copies! Will such a divide in price cause problems for the international DVD market? Think eBay sales too - you could buy one at $1.50 in China, send to the UK (if anyone believes you! ha) and then reinvest the profits (which you will ultimately make) and repeat... instant profit! If this was a stock market, the world would have just crashed completely...! China can move into the worlds largest REAL DVD exporter too! :D

Re:No more customs anxiety (1)

coffeechica (948145) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180526)

I went through a customs inspection two years ago, on the way back from Beijing to Vienna, and I chatted a bit with the customs official while we waited for an estimate from one of their experts on some stuff I was importing. As far as the EU goes, you can import products worth up to 175 Euro without paying customs tax on it. Anything above that has to be taxed, anything that is obviously pirated gets you into legal trouble. There is a tolerance level, though - they're not going after anyone who has ten DVDs in his luggage. A hundred is another story already if you can't prove that you bought them legally.

If they really sell DVDs at these prices, it might just be worth it to fly to China, fill up your suitcase and then sell the stuff. Or distribute from China directly - postage for that kind of weight is minimal, and if you have receipts for the stuff it won't get you into trouble.

Piracy provides market balance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180320)

Since the media industry is a monopoly because only one vendor can provide a specific product, there is not price balance. The particular vendor is free to charge whatever they like. Piracy now is providing that price balance because the vender can now only make they product price at a point that the consumer will not want to deal with downloading it.

The best example of this process at work is the .99 ITunes. The industry would never have agreed to this price if piracy was not a factor.

In short, piracy will provide price balance as long as it is kept in check...

Piracy-The new business model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180323)

"Warner Home Video in China are beginning trials of 'simple pack' DVD releases at $1.50. They state they are doing this as a test to see if they can recover a market lost to pirate DVD's at 75c each."

Well first of all the rest of the world isn't China.

"They also sell higher priced and more complete DVD sets as 'silver' and 'gold' packs. Maybe this marks the beginning of movie industry realism and long hoped for shift in business models, forced by piracy."

Shame humanity has to enact change through illegal acts. Next up we change the US government via sniper rifle.

"Perhaps they can take it on as a better model for movie downloads worldwide, facing the same problem of competition from pirated movies. Is such a model viable in the long term?"

Piracy essentially is the content producer competing with themselves.

Re:Piracy-The new business model. (4, Insightful)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180353)

Shame humanity has to enact change through illegal acts. Next up we change the US government via sniper rifle.


Aren't pretty much all changes enacted through 'illegal' acts? civil disobedience, revolutions, founding of the United States of America..

Illegal /= Immoral.. Yet, if something is illegal long enough, people seem to think it is immoral.

Re:Piracy-The new business model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180514)

"Aren't pretty much all changes enacted through 'illegal' acts"

And this statement rated at +3:insightful? Have they stopped teaching history in school? The answer is that while there is some change that has been enacted via "illegal" means. There is a much larger body of works that haven't. Second I seriously doubt any of you are willing to die or go to prison* for cheaper content so bringing up revolution or civil disobediance is a red herring. There's nothing noble about piracy (and in the China case it's very capitalistic) and it's the lazy way to solve a problem.

*The fact that the majority hide behind encrypted, geo-hiding P2P says otherwise.

Ebay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180326)

Does this mean, that the 99% of people selling dvd's on EBay, which are always from China, will now be selling legitmate product? Does this mean I no longer have to worry that the DVD's I buy which are supposedly legit come on dvd-r's and have chinese subtitles?

It depends on quality of disc (4, Insightful)

Vadim Makarov (529622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180330)

Okay, I am not in China, but...

If they sell discs where the main feature (i.e. the movie itself) is crippled, for example by lower bitrate than on premium edition, by having no English language track, or by having forced subtitles to go with, this won't beat pirates.

If they sell discs with high-bitrate main feature (DVD-9 filled to the brink please), original-language soundtrack available and no UOP gimmicks, they win. Hell, if they do it consistently, they could sell such discs for a whopping $4.30 in Russia and I would gladly buy them over pirated ones [vad1.com] . Besides I throw the box away, anyway, and pack the discs into a wallet to save space right away. Just give me the properly mastered stuff, no frills.

To bad I suspect the cheap licensed edition would be crippled. Then pirates, who care about customers more, get my business.

Only if they realize what's *REALLY* going on... (4, Interesting)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180336)

What's really going on is the effect of the public community.

OpenSource, GPL, Musicians and Bands offering their music for free MP3 download, Linux - free OS, Blender, Gimp, OpenOffice...all free software that are comparable to commercial versions are a part of a HUGE new revolution that have literally SNEAKED upon the commercial industry, and because of their own onslaught on people...threatening legal users with DRM, SpyWare and restrictions....haunting people down for just being "people" - have brought fire to this revolution.

Because of this revolution, more and more people will witch to free alternatives, and the "biggies" didnt even see it coming for all their own greed and hysteria.

The way we exchange services - will change forever.

monopoly vs piracy (4, Insightful)

pintomp3 (882811) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180350)

when you abuse your monopoly position by price gauging, piracy becomes your competition.

Piracy = price balancing. (2, Insightful)

arthurh3535 (447288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180363)

And face it, the software and entertainment industry have been gouging the public for so long, they think that the situation is normal.

Does anyone else remember $85 movies on VHS? In 1985!

All piracy is doing is forcing the software and entertainment industry to price their products into the affordable range.

$200+ dollars for an operating system? Why? There is something seriously wrong when a peice of easily replicated digital information (ie. ludicrously cheap) costs as much or more than full system hardware.

I've been seeing these $1 DVDs at 7-11 here in Utah. I've actually bought a couple (for my parents, as most of the stuff is old classics that they would probably like to see again.)

Everything above $1 better have a very serious justification for why it is so expensive.

Other than "to make the studios/developers really rich."
 

Lower prices and equal greater profits (2, Funny)

thunderpaws (199100) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180403)

All they need to do now is package advertising for cheap drugs / medications, low interst mortgages, genitalia enhancement, etc. Good for the consumer, eh?

it the economics (4, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180411)

It seems to me that the price of a DVD is not set by the intrinsic value of the product, but the economics of the markets. I mean it used to be a movie cost $50 or more retail. It was not that the movie was worth that much. After all, a movie is a stale product. My the time it is released to home video it has been in the theater, pay TV, free TV, and god knows where else. The vlaue to the consumer is merely wanting a good copy of it to watch when one wants.

I think video rental changed that by showing that alot of people would buy a video if it were sold at a lower price, and the studios would reap the profit instead of the people who rented the video. In many ways the video rentals places were stealing money from the studios in the same want online piracy is, and video became priced to compete with that grey area of acquisition.

Now, when we got DVDs the studios got greedy. They jacked the price, but that was somewhat defesible becuase of the added value. What they did do is put unskippable ads, warning, etc that made the DVD less valuable. In most cases, one cannot just put a DVD in and have it play. In addition, if one just wants a movie, it can't be had. The consumer is forced to pay for the extra content. And if the consumer wants to keep the original for backup and watch a compressed version in a more convinent format, for instant putting an entire series of one DVD, that cannot be easily done.

So the economics is this. People who want the DVD product tend to pay for it. People who merely want to watch the film once tend to rent it. People who do not want the DVD product, but want the film, are just out of luck. There is simply no legal way to aquire the film without the baggage.

And so we back to the dawn of video rental. There is no legal way to acquire the product, but there are many grey areas in which the product can be aquired. So the studios are either going to ignore this demand and perhpas not maximize profit, or find a way to tap at least some of the sales. There are limits. DVD DRM is not going away, so person who do not want to deal with 10 DVD for a season are still going to download, but a $1-5 basic edition goes a long way to satisifying the basic market.

This is to cut their piracy losses (5, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180413)

Every time you pirate a movie, the studios lose the cost of that movie. If the movie costs $20 then they lose $20, and if it costs $30, then they lose $30. They know they can't possibly compete with free, so they're doing the best they possibly can to reduce their losses. By only charging $1.50 for each copy, this will cut their piracy losses considerably even if they don't sell any.

Re:This is to cut their piracy losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15180480)

Very nice logic indeed. I would mod you up to 5 if had some points now.

Re:This is to cut their piracy losses (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180512)

that is how they rationalize it you shill!

they don't lose $20 or $30 because who's to say a person was going to actually buy it in the first place?
think of it in real terms: they only lose when someone buys a pirated copy for $0.75 which is why they'll compete at twice that price!

Imports? (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180429)

I bet that, at $1.50, there will be a large market for gray-/black-market imported copies to the U.S. Even if you factor in buying a DVD player with a Chinese region code, compare $1.50 to $20 and the DVD player has paid for itself within a few movies.

Otherwise, this sounds like a great idea.

Stealing or not? (4, Insightful)

gameforge (965493) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180456)

I've seen several people refer to pirating as "stealing". Keep in mind, it's only stealing when you would have gone out to purchase it in the first place! At least that's how most justify it.

If I clone something (like a nice stereo, for instance - impossible, but for the sake of our conversation), it's not really stealing it. If I make it available to other people (i.e. like sharing my stuff on P2P), that's almost worse than stealing... but if I clone something that I wouldn't have purchased to begin with, that's incredibly easy to justify, because there's no money lost. Again, I wouldn't have gone out to purchase a $25 DVD, whether it could be had for free or not, just like I wouldn't have gone out and purchased a $1200 stereo when my $150 Aiwa that I already bought works great. There's no physical product missing somewhere... I cloned it. Now if I could only clone a Viper...

The ultimate question in my mind is, what is the actual cost of manufacturing and distributing? It's like a $0.03 piece of plastic, the disc that is. Generic packaging like they talk of here can't cost very much. If it gets 15x the people to start buying movies again IN ADDITION to the people who currently pirate them, well... for $3 or $4 per release like some have suggested, I bet they stand to make their money back.

Certainly the music industry won't be far behind in this little "experiment".

Hypocrites! (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180464)

This smacks of hypocrisy to me. If online piracy is also such a massive problem in the US and Europe, why aren't they drastically slashing prices on DVDs here to help people come into compliance with the law?

A US$ 1.50 can be a heck of a lot of money in CN. (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180468)

not only if you're a peasant farmer from somewhere smack in the middle of China but also for people who live in "selected Chinese cities" such as Shenzhen etc. The average factory worker earns US$ 60 a month (450 CYN) for work which they would get at the very _least_ 20 times as much in the US (and still be in abject poverty).

Therefore the real cost of this special discount offer is: 20 x 1.50 = just if YOU had to pay $30 dollars for it.

At that cost they wont be selling much of these, but that is probably what they want in the first place so they can once more point at all those heathen pirates.

Until they start selling "Hollywood Premium Content (tm)" at $1.50 at Walmart in the US this is not news.

Model to follow (1)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180473)

They state they are doing this as a test to see if they can recover a market lost to pirate DVD's at 75c each


So other markets should pirate DVD's as much as China to get a better price?

Sounds like the rest f the world has some catching up to do.

It worked in Poland (4, Informative)

poszi (698272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180487)

A few years ago Polish magazines started to include DVD movies. I'm not sure how the deal with the distributors worked but essentially you could buy a magazine without a movie for $1-$2 or with a movie for $3-$4. With some less popular movies you could even get 2 or 3 movies in one magazine so one movie could cost you $1 (I got 3 excellent Almodovar's movies this way). The magazines were doing it for the promotion and probably didn't earn anything extra (but got more circulation). The movies were indeed basic, in a paper envelope, without extras, without other language versions but they were just fine. The movies were not new but you could buy good movies that were a few years old or sometimes last year's movies. I don't know how the deal worked for the distributors but I bought several movies that I would never purchased for a full price so they got a profit from me. The only drawback was that the selection was limited (essentially with several magazines on sale at a time you could choose among several titles). But you also got the magazine (ussually a stupid one, though) free. The movies are still sold this way so it seems it is profitable.

Starting, in China? Try Poland for years... (2, Interesting)

Gadzinka (256729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15180529)

That's funny... They claim, that they will start doing this in China, but in Poland, for years now, you can buy legal DVDs with papers and magazines for $2-$3, and normal commercial releases of not-so-fresh movies for $5-$6. When you factor in costs and risks associated, many people see no incentive in pirating dvds.

Meanwhile CDs with latest crappy pop music start far beyond the $20 point and -- SURPRISE!!! -- no one is buying them ;)

Robert
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