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Hollywood Against Jobs' Movie Pricing Plan

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago

423

Alex Romanelli, Variety writes "Hollywood insiders tell Variety why/how Hollywood is in stalemate with Jobs over movie downloads on iTunes. Jobs wants a flat $9.99 per film download, studios are refusing, insisting upon tiered pricing. On the other side there's a different, longer, analytical story looking at how H'wood executives are still unsure if Jobs should be considered a friend or foe."

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typo (1, Informative)

hector_uk (882132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561220)

Jobs is the guys name, it's not "job is"

Re:typo (0, Offtopic)

amaiman (103647) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561229)

Should be "Jobs' Movie Pricing Plan".

Re:typo (1, Insightful)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561266)

Well, I am a Brazilian, English is a second language for me, so I may be wrong, but.... Jobs' Movie Plan = Movie Plan of/from Steven Jobs, right? Where's the typo?

Re:typo (1)

boxless (35756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561268)

Nope. Should be Jobs's.

The whole 'leave the last S off if the last letter in the name is S' is not correct. The extra S should always be there.

Re:typo (1)

hector_uk (882132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561298)

"Nope. Should be Jobs's. The whole 'leave the last S off if the last letter in the name is S' is not correct. The extra S should always be there." whoops yes, should have the extra s as it's possessive.

Perhaps in 1955... (5, Informative)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561326)

But both styles are now generally recognized as correct. Since english doesn't have the equivalent of an Academie Francaise (yes I know, no accents. Well, screw, high school French teachers of the world), thank goodness, it is possible for local variations in common usage to add to to the lexical and syntactic richness and flexibility of the language. For quite a while now, both the xs' and xs's forms have been taught in beginner and college english, and both are in widespread use.

Re:Perhaps in 1955... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561427)

This is so cool. If enough people make the same typo, then it`s not a typo anymore! Wow!!! Only in America.

Re:Perhaps in 1955... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561516)

What a dumbass comment made be someone with no knowledge of how language develops. EVERY language.

Re:Perhaps in 1955... (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561555)

Only in any place that has written language. Take a look at something written in Old English sometime and notice that we don't write that way anymore. Those changes were not things that came about through some group of academics sitting around and deciding to change some official "English language spec" just for the heck of it. Over time people simply started to write things differently.

The same is true of modern times. If enough people decide that something sounds better written in style B, even if A is considered correct and B not, then legitimately B becomes a correct way to write something (and after a transitional phase, A will most likely eventually become incorrect). Language is living and is defined by the people who speak/write it, not a set of rules set in stone.

Re:typo (2, Interesting)

hector_uk (882132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561272)

Fixed, anyway the only way i'd buy films through itunes is if dvd burning was built in like cd burning is and they were £6.99, it's always bugged me that in the UK tracks at 79p ($1.46).

when will jobs learn? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561230)

the mpaa/riaa dont want to play his game.

Screw that. (5, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561234)

I can hit Best Buy and get stuff for $7.00 now.

Of course, it occurs to me that the MPAA is whining because they want to charge MORE than that. Oy vey. The problem with ITunes is that there's no damn tail...A dollar (or ten) is too much for 80% of the stuff that could be sold.

Re:Screw that. (5, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561285)

A dollar (or ten) is too much for 80% of the stuff that could be sold.

Which is why it amazes me that they still question whether or not to look at Jobs as friend or foe. Jobs single handedly creates a system that sells over 1B tracks of music, at least a good percentage of which is of a questionably quality. He single-handedly forces everyone into the digital generation, where the studio contracts actually pay the artists LESS per track, while having almost zero overhead cost for the production of raw goods because there are no raw goods.

Yes... with such success... how DOES one reconcile Jobs as anything BUT the enemy?

Bunch of ass-wads, the **AA.

Re:Screw that. (2, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561315)

He single-handedly forces everyone into the digital generation,

Uh, no. There were a variety of motivators, not the least of which was napster.

It can be argued that his company single handedly made the industry legitimate, but we were well on our way to forcing everyone into the "digital generation", as you call it.

Re:Screw that. (5, Informative)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561363)

Jobs is the enemy because he is removing distribution control from the record labels. They seem to care about this as much as they do about profit. Now he wants to do it to the movie industry. They don't understand that one of the reasons iTMS is so popular is that the pricing scheme is so simple. No needing to worry about what price the thing you want to buy is, just $1 a song. They don't realize that whatever hamstrung service they try to use to sell low quality downloads for the same price as the DVD won't catch on.

Or, I'll put it this way for the MPAA, so they might understand: The alternative for most people is NetFlix and a DVD burner.

Re:Screw that. (2, Insightful)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561543)

i think it's a bit further than that. downloading illegally is primarily a male bastion, whereas music purchasing skews towards girls and women. Females are less likely to download and more likely to buy music and less likely to be tech savvy. Women in general are also paranoid of breaking the law. I have female friends who are horrified at the notion that I might have ever downloaded something, under the notion that it's horribly illegal and wrong. So ITUNES fits a perfect sweet spot for the average consumer.

I'll get flamed to death for this, but only on slashdot do I hear males admit to actually buying music. I don't know any other male who does.

Downloaders know what the perfect price for music is. It's free. The perfect price for film is also free. Money will be made through product placement and advertising. For example, Microsoft is now exec producing and overseeing the Halo film from a script that they commissioned independently from Alex Garland. Corporations will commission film to drive the next generation of their products and will release them in theaters (for those who crave the theatrical experience; one will be paying for the experience, not for exclusivity of product) and a high quality download for $x, and a low quality download for free.

This takes care of everything: hollywood becomes a contractor business, hired by corporations for their expertise in making films. They will charge the corporations a flat 20% fee on top of the production budget. This ensure a profit on EVERY PICTURE for the hollywood firm. The corporation is creating a product comparable in cost to a high end advertising campaign, and they won't worry that the cash is wasted, as you can't TIVO out the product placements etc. Then downloading becomes a good thing, as you more the film gets around, the more people are seeing your product. You can even cut the film in to trailers designed to promote your product further. It eliminates the blockbusters (i.e. something like Titanic has a reduced likelihood of ever happening again) but it makes hollywood cash positive business.

ITUNES is a stop gap measure - because there is NO COMPELLING REASON for anyone ot actually buy music. In film, the best films supposedly give us a sense of inevitability - the guy does the thing he does because he was backed into a corner and can't do anything else - it's be a hero or die. What I think about ITUNES is that it rings of a mediocre film. There is no compelling reason to buy music from them. If I wanted food right now - I can grow some and wait the weeks until something sprouts, but then i'd be dead. I could drive up to a farm (i live in NY) and steal off the farm, but it's not cost effective. I can steal from the store - but the punishment doesn't fit the crime. I swallow it and go to a store and buy my food because it's the best available choice. It's the inevitable choice. I don't feel ITUNES is inevitable. Free Downloads are inevitable, so the industries have to make it work for them. Google is making free work, so it's possible.

Insightful/Interesting? How? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561292)

I can hit Best Buy and get stuff for $7.00 now.

You don't get it, Jobs wants $9.99 FLAT for EVERYTHING, just like iTMS. You can't get "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" for $7 right now, or most any recent release. Just like iTMS, you end up saving a bit for newer stuff, but pay more for older stuff, they're just cost averaging to have a simple (and marketing friendly, just like $.99 music downloads) pricing scheme.

Re:Screw that. (4, Insightful)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561321)

I agree -- Apple and the MPAA/RIAA just want to grab the most money they can. There are bargain bins where you can get 2 movies for 10 bucks... so why should I pay 10 dollars a PIECE for those two movies just because I downloaded them? If I bought them, it would be cheaper, I would get a physical DVD, and I would get a cool DVD case to add to my collection (of 10...). Tiered cost system would help fix that!... but wait... wouldn't they make up for the money they "lost" there by jacking up rates elsewhere?!... probably, yes. Lets say for some movies they raised the price from $10 to $20... this caused half the potential customers to be turned away, so only half as many downloads are made of the movie... well they were sold at twice the price -- do the math, Apple makes just as much money, BUT doesn't have to pay for as much bandwidth (which can rack up if you've got big-big movie files). If Apple didn't stiff people and initiated a tiered system, it would cause people to download more movies than they usually would (i.e. "Who wants to pay 10 bucks for a Pauly Shore movie... oh, what's that? it's only $5? Count me in!").
Tiering would also be a worthwhile venture for iTunes. iTunes has a good idea in that it lets people bypass the $10 cost of a cd (okay okay, $10 is ridiculously cheap... maybe it's on sale or something) just to hear that one song they want. What's my problem with it? Well, I have good taste in music (IMOO) so I don't listen to garbage music where only one song on a cd is worth listening to. If I'm going to buy a whole album off iTunes at a dollar a song, an average of 12 songs would cost me $12 bucks... I pretty much only buy music that's not on the radio, so the cd's I usually look at are between $10-$12... so, for the same price of downloading an album I could have it in physical form (adding the ability to use it in a CD player and to look at pretty album art)... definitely not worth it for me to use iTunes to download all the music I want.
Furthermore, it doesn't help that I don't own and iPod (go Creative Zen, woo!) so iTunes songs are useless to me.

emusic (2, Informative)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561501)

If I'm going to buy a whole album off iTunes at a dollar a song, an average of 12 songs would cost me $12 bucks... I pretty much only buy music that's not on the radio, so the cd's I usually look at are between $10-$12... so, for the same price of downloading an album I could have it in physical form (adding the ability to use it in a CD player and to look at pretty album art)... definitely not worth it for me to use iTunes to download all the music I want.
Furthermore, it doesn't help that I don't own and iPod (go Creative Zen, woo!) so iTunes songs are useless to me.

Given what you said, you really should consider emusic [emusic.com] . $0.22 per track for mp3 (no drm) files, that's $2.64 for a 12-song album. Do yourself a favor, do the free trial, browse the collection, and see how you feel. It sounds like it might be good fit for you...

Re:Screw that. (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561416)

Of course, it occurs to me that the MPAA is whining because they want to charge MORE than that. Oy vey. The problem with ITunes is that there's no damn tail...A dollar (or ten) is too much for 80% of the stuff that could be sold.

Retail CDs stores are at the mercy of the RIAA. They charge what they are told or they die. The RIAA has been convicted numerous times of price fixing. Thus when Apple started the ITMS they included a flat rate in the contracts. This eliminated the possibility of price fixing and, incidentally showed the promise of removing some of the RIAA's leverage over artists. If they can't threaten jack up the prices to make your album tank, then they lose a lot of sway.

It worked and despite the high prices, iTunes offered more granularity and convenience and is a success. Now the RIAA is scared. They see the possibility that the distribution chain will shift significantly to online, thus making them more useless weight than ever.

Enter the recording industry. Looking at this same possibility, they demand tiered pricing so that should the store become successful (which they don't want) then they can still fine tune sales with higher prices and effectively kill it.

Re:Screw that. (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561486)

7 bucks? Where do you see the DVD movies for that much? I see like 15-20 bucks.

Re:Screw that. (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561541)

What it all comes down to is, "if the customer is willing to pay more for it, we want to charge them more for it".

From a strictly business perspective, this makes good sense for maximizing proffit. You find the "price point" where (sales volume x price) is the maximum value. You cannot do this with a flat rate price. Of course this assumes you have correctly calculated your price point, and have factored in all the market effects at work.

The flat rate is (correctly) perceived by the consumer as a value over tiered pricing, and that's what the consumer will like more. Jobs realizes this will attract hoards to his new iTunes Video Store as it has with the ITMS, and he will make up the loss from flat rate in volume. I doubt the MPAA is factoring in the scope of how many people will go with the ITVS if it's flat rate, and what that will do to their price point model.

The MPAA is just despirately afraid of not managing to wring every last possible dime out of the consumer. They're just being money-grubbing scum. You can't expect any more than that from them.

$9.99 Still Too High (4, Insightful)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561237)

Why would anyone pay $10 for a movie that will be available only digitally? I can go to Walmart and get an actual DVD for $5-$15. I think Jobs and the MPAA are nuts.

http://psychicfreaks.com/ [psychicfreaks.com]

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1, Insightful)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561277)

Yeah, but you need to get up from your chair, go to a frigging Wal-Mart, stand in line and then drive back home in order to get that movie. And when you watch that movie, you get FBI warning, RIAA warning and studio-warning that copying the movie is bad.

And I haven't seen new movies available for under 9.99. Older movies yes, but not new.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (3, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561341)

Yeah, but you need to get up from your chair, go to a frigging Wal-Mart, stand in line and then drive back home in order to get that movie. And when you watch that movie, you get FBI warning, RIAA warning and studio-warning that copying the movie is bad.

Don't forget that you have to hope that the local walmart/best buy has it in stock. Even if you already own it, you might have to sort through hundreds of DVD's to find the movie you want to watch, unless you have the skills and discipline of a librarian and actually sort your movies. 1 DVD/week for 10 years leads to 500 DVDs in your library.

And when you watch that movie, you get FBI warning, RIAA warning and studio-warning that copying the movie is bad.

Well, you might still get this. Or have it come up every time the propriatary locked down player required to play the encrypted movies is started.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561433)

it will use the same tech as the ipod and itunes already use for TV which do not have any warnings like that.

You do leave the house sometimes, right? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561345)

Yeah, but you need to get up from your chair, go to a frigging Wal-Mart, stand in line and then drive back home in order to get that movie.

A lot of us still rely on food for sustinance (which requires leaving the house). We drive by WalMart / Best Buy / etc. I can wait a day to get my movie. I can wait a day to save a few bucks and get something of value.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561420)

Or imagine you are me. You live in Plainville, KS (town of 2100 people). I want to buy a new DVD...okay. I have to drive 23 miles south to the closest Walmart or Hastings. So, my ride gets about 24mpg on the highway. So two gallons of gas + cost of movie = $5-15 + nearly $6. Looks like $9.99 just got more attractive...

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (5, Insightful)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561303)

If they let me rip the thing to DVD, then we can talk. Even better would be able to move the file from one machine to another for playing. Of course, iTunes doesn't let you do that easily, but it is possible. I think if they do it right, then I'd consider the $9.99 price because that's what I buy most of my DVD's at now. The only difference is that it's a hard copy that I can kind of illegally without conscience rip when I want to. However, I bet the best they'll let you rip to is HD-DVD or BluRay because the copy protection can be enforced better.

The best online distribution so far is Steam (ducks). I was really impressed when I could install it both on my desktop and my laptop with the same username/password and it just updated both properly. I can install as many copies of HL2 as I want, but I can only play one at once. That's totally fine by me. As long as they know what I own and make it available to me whenever I want, I'm willing to put up with their system. AFAIK, iTunes doesn't give you your music back if you buy the songs and lose the original copy.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

Twanfox (185252) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561481)

AFAIK, iTunes doesn't give you your music back if you buy the songs and lose the original copy.

You are incorrect in this. I have a coworker that wound up having his hard drive go belly-up and trashed his collection of music. After getting that recovered and fixed, he went back to iTunes and (through some process that wasn't explained) managed to regain copies of his music.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561488)

The best online distribution so far is Steam (ducks).

No, the best online distribution so far is BitTorrent. Steam is merely the best legal one (notwithstanding the fact that BitTorrent can be used legally). But that's not saying much, seeing as how Steam sucks hairy goat balls anyway!

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (2, Insightful)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561328)

I live in boston, we dont have walmarts here. Heck, I've never even seen one before. Can you really get new release DVDs for $5? I think there is the added advantage of the following which would make it better than a DVD:
1. you get it instantly
2. you can actually put it on your ipod
3. you can put several on your ipod

while 2 and 3 are sort of nice to have, 1 is a killer app. Imagine being able to download instantly from a huge selection of movies which you can browse by reading descriptions and watching trailers.

Now, if they could make it like netflix (cap it to 2 movies a week and remove the ability to put it on your ipod), they would make even more money.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561371)

I think you need to define instantly. I am pretty sure I can drive to the local store, buy the DVD, get home, and start watching it before a DVD download from iTunes completes. Unless of coarse the quality of said iTunes download is so low that the download isn't a terribly large DVD sized download. In which case I would still rather pay the $15 for full quality hard copy disc, instead of $10 (why do companies insist on this $9.99 crap, marketing gimickry), and have half or less of the quality of a DVD, DRM encumbered nonsense, and no physical disc.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561403)

what if it is 10pm on a Friday and you have chick over. Would you rather borwse movies from the sofa and click download, wait a few minutes then click play or get in a car, find an open store, find your movie, pay for it , drive home, open packaging , insert DVD then finally click play movie?

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

BootNinja (743040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561491)

you can download an entire movie in a few minutes? WOW! Can I come over and borrow your OC3?

On Demand (2, Interesting)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561521)

Would you rather borwse movies from the sofa and click download...

Thank's called "On Demand" with Comcast. It's included with the subscription price. Many, many movies are free. The premium ones cost $3.99. And if you have a DVR, you are able to record the movie to that.

$9.99 is way to high for what you're getting.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561553)

You forgot the part where you wait hours for the download to complete. Then burn the DVD if allowed and place it in your entertainment system to play. Unless you are using a media setup where you are running TV out from your iTunes computer to your TV, but I have yet to see that work out at a comparable clarity to the dvd player itself. And Walmart is 24/7 in most places.

Of coarse...this is slashdot..."what if it is 10pm on a Friday night and you have a chick over." is an entirely hypothetical situation.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561431)

I live in boston, we dont have walmarts here. Heck, I've never even seen one before.
You've never seen a Walmart? Come on, there are Walmarts all over. Either you've lived a really sheltered existence (I'm pretty sure you can see a Walmart driving west on the masspike) or you're lying. Which is it? And there are lots of Walmarts around Boston. Walmarts in the greater Boston area [walmart.com]

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561482)

look at that map again. None of those stores are in boston or even in the greater boston area. none are accessable on the T. So , yes, I have never seen a walmart since there are none in my area at all. Secondly, to drive west on the mass pike one must own a car. Have you tried driving or parking in boston? the traffic sucks and in order to have a guranteed spot you have to pay something like $100 a month. Some places like brookline have no overnight parking on the street.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561506)

"look at that map again. None of those stores are in boston or even in the greater boston area. none are accessable on the T. So , yes, I have never seen a walmart since there are none in my area at all. Secondly, to drive west on the mass pike one must own a car. Have you tried driving or parking in boston? the traffic sucks and in order to have a guranteed spot you have to pay something like $100 a month. Some places like brookline have no overnight parking on the street."
Are you saying that in your entire life you've never left Boston? When was the last time you left the state of Massachusetts?

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

MyNameIsEarl (917015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561508)

You've never seen a Walmart? Come on, there are Walmarts all over. Either you've lived a really sheltered existence (I'm pretty sure you can see a Walmart driving west on the masspike) or you're lying. Which is it? And there are lots of Walmarts around Boston. Walmarts in the greater Boston area


You won't find a Walmart in NYC either, this is a union town and we won't let em set up shop. I have, however, seen a Walmart on out Long Island. So if this poster doesn't leave Boston, us big city folk don't have much reason to leave the city much, then I could see how he/she has never seen a Walmart.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561558)

"So if this poster doesn't leave Boston, us big city folk don't have much reason to leave the city much, then I could see how he/she has never seen a Walmart."
Come on - do you really believe that he's telling the truth about never having seen a Walmart? I live in NYC. I do not believe I have an unusually active travel schedule and I have seen plenty of Walmarts. We aren't living in colonial America - people travel. I think he lied about never having seen a Walmart. I'm just trying to figure out why.

Re:$9.99 Still Too High (1)

shotfeel (235240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561462)

You can't go to Walmart and get new releases for that price.

I'm seeing the start of a new movie selling scheme -start selling the (lower quality) online version, but not the DVD, the day the movie is released to theatres. That adds another level of purchase to those who have to see it in the theatre, buy the DVD as soon as it comes out, buy the Director's Version, then the "Special Edition" followed by the specially packaged "Ultimate Edition". Then cry about having to buy it in HD...

Personally, its too high for me, I'll wait and pay more for a DVD. This isn't like music where I may only want a single track from an album instead of the whole album or a TV series where I missed that one episode.

listen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561238)

From what I last heard the music industry is making more money than evar on these downloads...not the artists maybe. Possibly Hollywood should LISTEN and give it a try? Just maybe?

Re:listen? (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561264)

They could... but I think they would rather slowly die, producing less and less relivant content and charging more and more for it rather than adapt to a new busness model.

Elements of Style (-1, Offtopic)

boxless (35756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561239)

I know, we should never criticize Slashdot about grammar.

But, can you at least proof your headlines?

Just buy the Elements of Style. 100 pages or so. Buy it. Read it. Know it.

Tiered Pricing (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561241)

insisting upon tiered pricing

This is a lie, just like the RIAA saying they want tiered pricing. I'm sure Jobs would agree if the tiers were $2, $4, $6, $8, and $10. But what the industry REALLY means is something more like $10 (just a handful of stuff), $12 (older stuff), $15 (a few years ago), and $20 (anything recent or popular).

Tiered pricing is fine when the tiers are reasonable. THAT is the problem with the industry's proposal.

He forced the RIAA to stick to $1 a song, he has enough clout that if a few small studios would agree he could force the rest of 'em to agree (or lose tons of business).

Re:Tiered Pricing (2, Funny)

Heavyporker (922078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561354)

So you're saying that Uwe Boll's movies would actually earn a profit now?

Re:Tiered Pricing (1)

shotfeel (235240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561512)

Uhgg! Just got around to renting Bloodrayne.

Were those "Special" effects trying to be funny (they weren't), or was he going for the "Let's impress the 8 year olds" look? Not that any sane person would let an 8 year old watch this (or anyone for that matter).

And, is there something about a vampire's fangs that prevents them from drinking out of a cup without dribbling/spilling large quantities of their "drink"? Seems to be a common theme in every vampire movie I've seen in the last few years.

Re:Tiered Pricing (2, Insightful)

J-1000 (869558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561490)

Both parties are correct in making their case. The industry relies on Jobs because he is a major distributor of their goods. Jobs relies on the industry for a good selection of music in his store. If the industry wants to charge more for their material that's actually okay (free market, remember?). But apparently they need Jobs more than he needs them, if the argument over music pricing is any indication.

It's not about greed versus good. Jobs wants your money every bit as much as the other guys do. From a traditional business standpoint, it rarely makes sense to used a fixed price for all merchandise, but in this particular case the flat rates are a big part of Jobs' marketing scheme, and breaking that may eliminate one of Apple's perceived advantages over other music services (people identify iTunes with simplicity). So it's a question of who has the better business plan, not who's out to protect your interests.

$9.99 Works for me (3, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561246)

If i can burn it, play it on my dvd player, move it to any of my computers easily, and is on par with current dvd quality.. I'm down for $9.99.

Re:$9.99 Works for me (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561271)

That just sounds too easy to me. MPAA would have a cow :)

What else you can do for $10 (2, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561334)

For that same $10 you can rent about 4 Netflix DVD's a month, burn them, play them on your DVD player, move them to any of your computers easily, and they are on par with current DVD quality.

Netflix is just sneakernet file sharing.

Steve

Re:What else you can do for $10 (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561377)

But only playing them is legal...

Re:$9.99 Works for me (5, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561397)

If it's something I can burn to disc and watch forever after buying once, I'd be into it as well for $9.99. If nothing else, it's worth it to get rid of the hassle of renaming "X.-Men_-_3_-_.ws.cam.dvdrip.xvid.mp3.divx.vcd.tmd .rsvp.cod.0u812.turk182.subs.dubs.tubs.releazed.by .fr0d0.da.man.[downloaded.form.somefreakingtorrent site.net].(1.of.1).pls.seed.omg.kthx.avi" to "X-Men 3.avi".

Re:$9.99 Works for me (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561525)

You are a customer, so nobody realy cares what you desire.

Re:$9.99 Works for me (1)

shotfeel (235240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561538)

I'm guessing it would be similar to the television shows. You can burn it as a data file to CD or DVD for backup or transfer. But not as a normal video DVD that can be played in a stand-alone player.

$9.99 sounds good... (3, Interesting)

mitchell_pgh (536538) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561255)

...but the real question will be... what is the quality like? If it's not better than DVD quality, I'm not sure how it's going to be accepted. 4 movies ($39.96) will buy a few months of Netflix.

Re:$9.99 sounds good... (2, Interesting)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561356)

Probably the quality will be lower. I have two copies of the Lost episode "Dave." One is the iTunes version, one was gotten through... other means. The iTunes version is of notably inferior quality to the other version.

However, iTunes has an advantage, I didn't have to wait weeks for the download.

My guess? The film companies will only allow you to buy inferior versions of film downloads so you buy the DVD anyway. Currently, the only reason to buy downloads is if you must watch it right now, otherwise DVDs are the superior format. (Weaker DRM, better quality.)

Re:$9.99 sounds good... (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561528)

I didn't have to wait weeks for the download.

Where the hell are you downloading from? Most torrents can be had in under an hour...

Look at the submitter (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561256)

You would think a guy who works as a journalist could at least spell things right and use proper grammar...

Cue Long Tail Argument (4, Interesting)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561258)

I work for a DSP, and we deal with this all the time. The problem is that the idea is actually sound, IF the major labels wanted to implement it properly... and they don't.

Tiered pricing makes sense as a way of dealing with demand and maximizing profit. New singles should cost more, especially if they are popular, for a short time. The problem is that the labels don't want to price things in the back catalog down, which is where this argument is really useful. They only want to go up from the base 99/$9.99 model that Apple has established.

There are songs in catalog that actually have a value approaching zero. You try telling a record exec that fact, and they will spin on one heel and exit the room before you finish your sentence.

I'd like to see a system whereby the price is directly tied to short-term popularity as measured by downloads. So your new Christina Aguilera single comes out at a base price of 99; it shortly becomes very popular and creeps up over the course of a few days to $1.99 (there should be a ceiling, obviously). If you really want that "hot new track" (gag) right now, you pay the premium (or go elsewhere; different story there). Conversely if you really want to buy old Fleetwood Mac tracks from Rumors, which has paid for itself several times over already, you should only need to pony up 19-29 per track to cover bandwidth and processing.

If labels wanted to really invest in the long tail argument they would probably find themselves with a lot of new cash and not only that, from basically no promotion! But they are too stuck in the old sticks and bricks mindset, which is to promote a lucky few lottery-winner bands and maximize profit from those acts, at the expense of literally everything else.

(eMusic gets it, by the way.)

Re:Cue Long Tail Argument (1)

ironwill96 (736883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561320)

But doesn't the higher pricing for short-term demand imply that a digital delivery system is somehow tied to the economics of supply and demand, when it isn't? Supply is unlimited, everyone can have a copy downloaded to their machine in the entire world if they so chose as iTunes would just keep copying it over and over. If a similar system were implemented at say, Wal-Mart when they started selling out of a certain CD, they jack the price up to $20 a CD instead of $13.99, wouldn't the FTC cry foul and consumers issue claims of price gouging? How is doing that in the digital sense any different?

Re:Cue Long Tail Argument (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561364)

But doesn't the higher pricing for short-term demand imply that a digital delivery system is somehow tied to the economics of supply and demand, when it isn't? Supply is unlimited, everyone can have a copy downloaded to their machine in the entire world if they so chose as iTunes would just keep copying it over and over. If a similar system were implemented at say, Wal-Mart when they started selling out of a certain CD, they jack the price up to $20 a CD instead of $13.99, wouldn't the FTC cry foul and consumers issue claims of price gouging? How is doing that in the digital sense any different?

Its not completely unlimited, there are still costs associated with producing, hosting and transferring the data of those songs. Forgetting for a second the actual album production, which has to occur either way, you do need to rip the file, process it, store it, etc. But if its an old album that has made back its costs severalfold, there's no reason to be greedy about it - you charge a nominal fee for bandwidth and the like, and a tiny fraction for your trouble. Lower price = more sales.

There is also an argument to be made for educating consumers (ugh, hate that word) about bandwidth costs, as they will not necessarily understand why a film is so much bigger than a song, bytewise.

Re:Cue Long Tail Argument (3, Interesting)

Lave (958216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561339)

They typically don't do this. In your typical HMV or Virgin all the new singles and albums are much cheaper, as people who've heard it will pick it up on a whim. Then in a few months when it's left the common conscience the price rises.

If someone is looking for a Fleetwood Mac song - they know that by now that isn't an impulse buy - so they can get away with a higher price.

The Record Companies want this so they can price old material much higher in price - not lower. As they know if you want it you will pay. That and there is more music in their vaults than you could ever listen too - and they need to keep you interested in their new acts.

Re:Cue Long Tail Argument (3, Insightful)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561411)

They typically don't do this. In your typical HMV or Virgin all the new singles and albums are much cheaper, as people who've heard it will pick it up on a whim. Then in a few months when it's left the common conscience the price rises.

Sure, but that whole method is tied to the fact that they must physically ship, warehouse, display and merchansise these physical music discs. If they don't sell new stuff, and that new stuff becomes old stuff taking up shelf space, they are potentially in a loss and need to get rid of it just to reclaim the space (ergo the Bargain Bin). There is no Bargain Bin on iTunes because there is no shelf space and therefore the whole argument goes out the window.

Re:Cue Long Tail Argument (1)

Lave (958216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561472)

Whilst I agree with you - they don't. They see world of people rushing from the latest thing to the next latest thing - with niche fans really getting into old stuff. Hence they want to charge those people who want old things (and so must really want them) through the nose. As a Pixies fan they know I would pay through the nose to complete my collection. And they screw me because of it.

Re:Cue Long Tail Argument (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561392)

"course of a few days to $1.99 (there should be a ceiling, obviously)"
Why? There will be a ceiling by nature. When it gets to a certain point people will not buy it. The problem is that in the digital age many of the classic economic models just totally fail. Think about good old supply and demand. In the digital music world there is almost an infinite supply! Okay so you could claim that there is a limited number of new artists. Then you run into the a new problem, that old back catalog. There is a lot of very good old music I don't own. Why would I spend much money on new stuff when I can finally get all of the old, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Rush, Jimmy Hendrix,... file in you favorite or classic artists here. Welcome to the new world, good music doesn't wear out any more than good art does. The music and movie industry is scared to death. If no new movies or music where made for say the next 5 years but you had easy access to all the old material would you run out of movies to watch or music to listen too?
Sure we will all go to see then next big movie for the for see able future. And yes every 15 year old will want the new CD from the hottest new band because they think they speak for them however the Music and Movie industry both know that they are totally expendable and they are right now digging in.

An Interesting Possibility (2, Insightful)

Lave (958216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561259)

Well let's see what we can do it with. I don't care how little it is - or how much Apple think their computers are a media hub - If I can't burn a full DVD quality disk for use in my DVD player stuck under my TV I won't be paying $10 (inevitably £10 in the UK). Especially considering how long it will take to download (and thus hog my use of the web).

I wouldn't be suprised if Sony etc are trying to cripple it as if they give you an iPod version, and a DVD version in one download then we may see this be the "next gen" video player over Blu-Ray or HD-DVD- in the same way that "inferior" mp3's are the next gen over CDA or whatever that high-def stuff was called.

Re:An Interesting Possibility (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561395)

Well let's see what we can do it with. I don't care how little it is - or how much Apple think their computers are a media hub - If I can't burn a full DVD quality disk for use in my DVD player stuck under my TV I won't be paying $10 (inevitably £10 in the UK). Especially considering how long it will take to download (and thus hog my use of the web).

Out of curiosity, what if you can burn the actual episode you bought to DVD just fine, but it has no extras and is only 320x240 (albeit with an admittedly excellent codec)? How much are the 'extras' worth to you?

Defend America": +1, Informative (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561262)


F$ck the The United Gulags of America [whitehouse.org] .

Sincerely,
Kilgore Trout, C.E.O.

I'd have to *GASP* side with the industry... (1)

Pirogoeth (662083) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561265)

I can see a flat fee for new releases, but I can't see myself paying $9.99 for an older movie that I can find in the discount bin at Best Buy for the same price or cheaper. Just like music albums, given the choice of a digital download or a CD for the same price or even a couple of bucks more, I'd much rather have the CD and be able to rip it the way I want.

Ditto with movies; I rather have the DVD, plus all the extras, (*looks around*) and the ability to rip it to a laptop ot iPod appropriately-sized video file.

Re:I'd have to *GASP* side with the industry... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561309)

What on earth makes you think that "tiered pricing" means "cheap"? Good money says that the prices the movie industry would charge would start with 10 bucks for the bargin bin crap and scale up from there.

Also, given the industry's stance on fair use, I don't think they want you to be able to rip a DVD for your own purposes. Their prefered model is making you buy the DVD, then pay extra for the download version. Look at the crap that gets pulled with copy protection schemes.

Re:I'd have to *GASP* side with the industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561337)

Ummm .. the 9.99 is the BASE price .. noting LOWER then 9.99

Re:I'd have to *GASP* side with the industry... (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561342)

It doesn't have to be older material. With music CD's, I am finding that most places like Best Buy or Walmart sells brand new CD's for $9.99 or even less compared to iTunes full albums that seem to be topping $12.99 (because they all seem to include some "free" video version of the CD). I don't find iTunes at all competitive with big box stores, and the same will be true with movies.

I know that the iTMS has been a huge success for Apple, but when are people going to realize that if they get off their butts and go for a walk or take a drive, they can get the same music in a physical form factor for the same price, or even cheaper, and most still come without DRM protection. I bought the recent Tool CD and it comes in a case that features stereoscopic glasses and images and it cost $9.99. You can't get that at the iTMS. Heck, Apple doesn't even offer the ability to send a blank CD and case anymore as they used to do when the store first opened up. I used to remember seeing special edition LOTR blank CD's that you could get with your soundtrack purchase.

Apple and the iTMS is in a bubble, and like most tech bubbles, it will burst. While I am sure they will enjoy success for at least a few more years, people are beginning to wake up and realize that the iTMS isn't all that great, your often getting far less for more money.

When it comes to movies, its the same thing. While new releases are still well over $15 in most cases, I am finding a decent selection of movies at around $9.99, and I usually buy my DVD's used for around the same. I can't see any compelling reason to buy a movie from the iTMS except if your lazy or don't know how to use DVD ripping software (although, technically, DVD ripping is still illegal).

Re:I'd have to *GASP* side with the industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561353)

You don't honestly think the MPAA is upset with the flat fee because they feel that they'd be ripping off consumers by charging $10 for older stuff, do you?

I'm sure they're fine with charging $10 for a download of Howard the Duck; the issue is that they want to charge MORE (my guess is $20) for the more popular stuff.

Re:I'd have to *GASP* side with the industry... (1)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561425)

Funny, I can't see myself paying $0.99 for a track from an old album I could get at the used CD store for $5. Just because Apple releases a product doesn't mean you have to buy it.

DRM? (2, Insightful)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561284)

I hope the MPAA doesn't make Apple put DRM on the movies. Not long after any DVD comes out, it's already on a torrent site being downloaded away. The movie being available from iTunes isn't going to change that. And most people who dowload the movie probably would like to watch it on their TV, not computer, so they'll need to be able to easily burn a dvd. And $10 isn't that much less than a DVD anyways.

It's a start (3, Interesting)

Pliep (880962) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561288)

At least Jobs is trying. I'm happy to pay $10 to own a movie as long as they're new releases and not old crap. Oh, and better than iPod-quality.

The problem though with movie downloads is lack of instant-satisfaction. A movie download of, say 700 MB, will take a while to be finished. If Apple can fix that (play-while-downloading), I'm game.

Re:It's a start (1)

MrP-(at work) (839979) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561296)

stream it? ive used MovieLink and you can start watching the movie you're downloading within like a minute after it starts

Re:It's a start (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561384)

You, my friend, need to take a class in cinema appreciation. New != good, old != bad. Some of the best films ever made were produced > 50 years ago.

The DVD (2, Interesting)

hsmith (818216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561295)

Will they mail you a hard copy at $9 a film? that would be the *only* way i'd consider it, at all. $9.99 for something I have to store on my drive. ha.

Can we get it in something that's NOT Quicktime? (2, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561306)

I don't really care about the DRM angle. I'm ok with that to an extent. What I have a problem with is that I run my current videos off a PIII 450 with 256 MB RAM and a Radeon video card with TV Out. Now I can comfortably run your average quality Divx encoded movie and play a DVD just fine without dropping frames and without the sound skipping on me. Running a worse quality Quicktime file from iTunes will completely bog the system and make playback unwatchable. If they're not going to offer an alternative format, can we at least get a Quicktime that only consumes as much processing power as its peers?

Re:Can we get it in something that's NOT Quicktime (1)

drfishy (634081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561379)

You need QuickTime Alternative. [free-codecs.com] My 3800+ X2 box couldn't playback 1080p mov trailers without chop using Quicktime 7 but using Alternative they play smooth as silk.

Re:Can we get it in something that's NOT Quicktime (3, Informative)

bobdapunk (190639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561385)

The problem is that quicktime uses mpeg4 avc, a much more computationaly intensive codec PLUS quicktime is a resource hog. Use VLC or mplayer (I hope they release a good windows GUI soon) to play those quicktime files, you will have much better luck. My X2 3800 went from 80-90% to like 30% during highdef trailer playback when I switched from quicktime to VLC.

Re:Can we get it in something that's NOT Quicktime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561509)

have you tried mpui?
http://mpui.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Hanging in obsolete business model (2, Insightful)

gutu (450788) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561316)

Movie industry is just desperately hanging in the old "Blockbuster" business model where popular, highly advertised movies bring high revenue for a while before going into DVD and finally to oblivion of bargain bin.

Bargaining Power (4, Interesting)

Patersmith (512340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561317)


It was my understanding that, since the Disney/Pixar deal, Jobs is the largest single shareholder in the Disney corporation. If his influence extends to the other Disney brands such as Miramax, ABC, Buena Vista, Caravan, and Touchstone, I would say he commands a lot of power.

Regardless, we should all be keeping an eye on Jobs. It's only a matter of time before he consolidates his power base into the single largest converged media empire on the planet.

JMHO :)

Matt

Re:Bargaining Power (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561450)

Regardless, we should all be keeping an eye on Jobs. It's only a matter of time before he consolidates his power base into the single largest converged media empire on the planet.
Ted Turner 2010? Rupert Murdoch 2020? I'd welcome Gates to the party, since there is little enough major competition in media currently.

I'd look instead for Gates to get involved in politics -- not in an elected capacity, but instead in an advisory or diplomatic capacity. Hosting dinner with Hu Jintao recently just foresahdows deeper involvement, as I see it.

I don't think Gates is looking towards further empire-building (though I bet he won't be upset if the directors of his various business interests are very successful). I think he's focusing on philanthropy and politics -- a modern-day Morgan, but with a focus on technology instead of banking.

Re:Ignore previous response, please (0, Offtopic)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561463)

And of course, never mind the fact that I totally misread your post -- please ignore my previous response, I dunno why I have Gates on the brain this morning.

Beyond simplicity (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561322)

You also have to consider the cost of bandwidth downloading these monsters.

A 10 year old clunker is going to cost the same in bandwidth as a first-tier release.
The simplicity of average cost goes beyond marketing I suspect.

Yeah Right! (2, Interesting)

dafz1 (604262) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561323)

First of all, when's the last time "the x industry"(x equals music or movies) was right about iTMS pricing? "We think they're going to go to tiered pricing...", WRONG! Apple has the music companies, who also happen to be the movie companies, over a barrel. It's not going to change for movies. The fact that Jobs sits on Disney's board, as well as being the single largest stock holder, helps Apple dictate terms.

Secondly, as a previous poster noted, I can go to Target and buy a DVD for $5.50(just bought Trading Places). I'd rather have the physical media, if the movie is going to be in 320x240. Once it's in 480P, I'll buy from iTMS.

Finally, is a new version of iTunes coming? Is there one coming that will allow you to rip DVDs? It's only a matter of time until the entire HTPC system using Front Row, to rip the DVD in the background while it's playing, is on your Mac. Next up, TV tuner and DVR?

A flat price is bad for small movie makers (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561350)

The problem with the flat pricing mechanism is that a $9.95 flat fee would work well for big movie studios whose products are known and in demand, but will be very bad for small film studios because many people won't pay that much for a movie that might suck "because it's not a big name movie." $4.95 for an independent movie would reduce the "risk" that people take when they buy it, and I think that Jobs knows that but doesn't care.

Another thing that is problematic is that flat rates are good only for movies that are middle of the road on cost to produce and popularity. High cost movies actually need to promote an economy of scale to make up their costs every bit as much as small ones do. What is the studio going to do if it actually realizes that the only way to push a big budget movie like King Kong that flopped at the theatres, is to cut the iTMS cost to say $7.95 for a promotional offer, but Apple won't let them?

Flat prices are great if all content is worth the same, but it isn't.

Apple Reality Check.... (-1, Redundant)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561355)

Apple is a publicly traded company and as such here's what's important to them.....

Making money for their stockholders.

That means sweatshops for iPods and doing things like heading down the dangerous path of closing off the Darwin source for development so that OSS geeks can't find a way to make OS X work on commodity boxes.

That is sad but true, publicly traded companies are there to make money for stockholders. That may come as a surprise to the Cult of Apple but it's true.

Apple is going to do what is best in their corporate interest. Surprised? Don't be. It's business

Too much (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561367)

Looks like I'm a tight bastard :D I wouldn't spend 10 euros (I just know it's not going to cost 8, as it should) for a downloaded version of a movie even if it were DVD quality. Make it burnable with no trouble and ask me FIVE euros. I think that's the threshold for me.
Anyway I see this as kinda broken from the start. Movie downloads are only interesting to people who watch a lot of movies, and these are the ones who won't pony up 10$ every friggin time they feel like watching one. Make it more palatable for the bulk purchaser (bulk price maybe? hmmm that's an idea) and see this take off.

DTS, DD5.1, etc. (4, Interesting)

Agelmar (205181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561394)

A lot of comments have been directed towards video quality and codec, but what about the audio? At least when I buy a DVD of anything filmed recently, I know I'm going to get a DD5.1 track, and hopefully also a DTS track of even higher quality (usually a much higher bitrate). Think about this: I want to download a two hour movie. Take 120 minutes * 60s/min * 1.5Mbit/sec (DTS) * 1 MByte / 8MBits, and you have about 1.35 gigabytes just for the audio track alone. Somehow, I don't see Apple giving me that. I'm much more worried that they will expect me to watch Lord of the Rings with a 128kbit 2-channel audio track, and there's no way in hell I'm doing that.

Industry wants tiered pricing? Since when? (4, Insightful)

myawn (562028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561396)

So, this is the same industry that charges me the same ticket price to see a movie whether it cost $280 million or $40 thousand to produce? Whether the top billed star was paid $20 million or scale?
First-run movies have never had tiered pricing before, why is it suddenly important to the studios?

Tierd Pricing Argument Flaw? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15561440)

From Article: " "We can't be put in a position where we lose the ability to price our most popular content higher than less popular stuff," said a studio exec close to the negotiations. "

Seems to work OK for you that way when you visit a movie theatre, Studio Exec!

I have come to believe that Industry wants (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15561487)

anything that is in expense of the general populace, as long as profitable.

Heck, i guess we might see bills that are offering establisment of 'an aristocracy' based on wealth sometime, when some big corp ceo comes up with the 'bright idea'.
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