In an unusual announcement made public this morning through Reuters, Sony Pictures - the parent company of Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems Pictures, MGM, and United Artists - stated it has worked out a premium tier pricing scheme for its premiere release of Blu-ray Disc-based movie titles. The new pricing scheme should enable US retail "first window" movie prices averaging $35. Here's the story on TG Daily.
Now, here's what I want to know: Is $35 an adequate price for you to spend for a high-definition movie? What features should such a disc deliver for you to accept $35 as the price tag - especially if it's at least 20% over and above the price of the same movie on traditional DVD?
There are two camps that watch DVDs - Those that watch the movie, and those that watch the movie and all the other 'goodies'. I'd venture that the second camp is miniscule....
I won't pay a 20% premium to watch a 720p/1080i movie with cool effects. I want the movie and refuse to pay for special add-on crap. I'll spend that 20% premium on HD satellite/cable. When VHS tapes were priced at $100+ each, there weren't many families with collections of VHS tapes. When the pries came down, and WalMart started selling, even the $15,000 a year family had a collection of video tapes.
Sell these discs in the $30-$40 dollar range? Suckers are born every minute, but this is one dog that won't hunt that crap!
You bring up a very good point, YGBSM: The "early adopters" of high-def technology are more likely to be collectors of movies and other programs. So if you're marketing Blu-ray movie discs, you have to think like a mathematician, and consider that your retail price is a coefficient of the core customer's purchase. You're saying it's unlikely that this customer will want to pay $35 times however many discs constitute a collection.
Which may very well be true; but then, how do Sony and Fox and the other content providers solve this problem? Because for the foreseeable future, they still have to sell DVDs. If they mark down the price of high-def discs, they have to mark down DVD prices as well; and already, retailers aren't seeing the bulk of the profit from DVD sales. Can retailers - especially the boutiques - afford to stay in business if DVD prices go much lower?
3(Scott Fulton) ^ 3 + 2(Scott Fulton) + Scott Fulton
That should come down: I doubt that will last. I think the last study I read stated that only 8% of american households have HD capable sets. Who knows how many out of those are even 1080i capable.
I'm not going to jump the gun quite yet: there are still some players out there who aren't buying into the sony push of blu-ray. Not to say it's not going to happen, but there's a good possibility blu-ray will be obsolete in less than 3 years. Sony's had great success, but also has seen it's share of failure. Let's not forget the Mini-Disc.
Sony's the Microsoft of Japan: they like to force people to play in thier field through the creation of controlled technology. They're still pushing the Sony memory stick *edit*, despite the wide adoption of SD.
At any rate, I'll leave you to make your own educated decision. While most are drooling over the 50GB capacity of blu-ray, I'd like to attract your attention to Holographic media, expected to go main-stream by Q1 2007: