Re: Pricing by Type or Size of institution?

Mark Richie (
Thu, 24 May 2001 14:23:09 -0700 (PDT)

Ditto to Gary's irritation with producers making institutional sales and
public performance rights interchangeable. All of our circulation is
also under fair use and/or section 110(1) Title 17.

This has been going on for the 18 years I've been doing this and it
stinks. PBS is a major offender - compounded by the fact that is a not
for profit, quazi governmental organization. This list has discussed
pricing differences for BAseball and Jazz between the "Home" market and
institutional market. It also extends to everything in their catalog.
Home copy: 29.95 - Institutional copy: 99.95, or more. The excuse that
it has to do with the contracts they make with producers is lame.

Other media producers over the years routinely charge different prices
if sold to a school vs. a regional media center. Librarians in my
service area send me the catalogs sent only to schools with the low
prices and the companies reject my PO because I am a regional center (43
districts - 158 schools). Then they run volume pricing discount sales
to the regional centers in the state. It works like this:
List Price to Regional Center: $199
Special Price: $99 IF you buy over $5,000.
Advertised Savings: 49%
Price to schools in same area: $79
Actual Loss to Regional Center: 20 percent over payment!

Buyer beware. Some of these companies didn't get a lot of regional
center business until the pricing was changed. Competition works both
ways - there are other vendors out there.

Frankly, I don't think we would be having this conversation if we were
buying books for the library.

I don't know any book jobber who jacks up the cost of a library book
because it is being purchased by a large university, but that is
precisely what a video vendor does. I've heard all the arguments as to
why, none of them wash.
The only justification is that we live in a "free market" economy.
Sellers will get whatever they can only if the buyer is willing to put
up with it. Plymouth PT Cruisers were selling for 20% over list price
with a 60 waiting period this time a year ago . . . .as long as video
buyers think that they are some how living in a different economic world
and tollerate this, it will continue.

Digital Rights: We are buying Internet Transmission Rights in the same
pattern that cablecast or duplication rights are purchased. First thing
producers wanted was a renewal of the rights after three years - but the
same company sold us life of tape duplication rights with no renewal
rights. We don't believe in buying the same thing twice. "Greed is

And, BTW if useable digital video resolution is full screen, NTSC 30
FPS (29.97 fps for you hair splitters), then IN FACT, networked video is
not a myth.

" . . . .this topic when, in fact, full-length,
useable-resolution networked video is a myth at the moment. When it
happens, I think there will be a number of models upon which to draw:
per view; institutional per capita; per annum...etc."

E-mail me off list and I will give you a password for our digtial video
server. You will get access to our demo catalog and a number of video
titles that can be downloaded to your server or desktop over the common
internet - and they will play back at 30 fps and full screen ( in color

But why should video over IP be subjected to the same possible payment
models already objected to for physical media and data bases? - None of
my vendors asks me how many times we circulated a video tape and then
charges us, none of them charge me by student per capita, none charge me
by number of showings (average 3.2 showings per circ). Don't entertain
this as acceptable for non-physical delivery just because it is

Volume! (yea, I know, there are always special titles and single
title purchases to make a certain department head happy, so take the
cost out of the public relations budget), but if we want a better price
for circulating educational media, then we have to buy in volume. Drive
pricing down until we hit discount levels, demand the same or better
deal than some other institution or university got, see what the local
regional k12 center gets, or public library. Form a state wide buying
coop. Agree on dollar volume price breaks, but stop letting vendors
bully us into higher prices because they think we have a bigger budget
or more students. Doesn't work for periodicals, medical models, maps,
globes, dictionaries or library books.

Just a thought, I could be wrong.

Mark Richie

Gary Handman wrote:
> Here're my two cents, Jonathan:
> From my standpoint, differential pricing based on institution type or
> client size is probably a fact of life we should all accept. I think the
> thing that has rankled me over the years is the confusion (sometimes
> deliberately promulgated by sellers) between pricing based on institution
> type/size and pricing based on type of use. The tendency of video vendors
> to interchangeably talk about "performance rights" and "institutional use"
> is what continues to drive me nuts. The bottom line: charging higher
> prices to institutions across the board (say, academic institutions) based
> on the seller's assessment of market values, market shares, etc. seems
> reasonable (although we buyers DO grumble about this); implying or
> explicitly indicating that higher prices are tied up with performance
> rights or other use rights is more often than not bull.... In my case ALL
> uses of materials in my collection are fair use: either on site viewing or
> use in face-to-face teaching. It pisses me off mightily being told I need
> performance rights; I don't.
> As for digital rights/licensing...Show me the digital and content and we
> can begin to talk pricing structure. It's hard to get lathered up about
> this topic when, in fact, full-length, useable-resolution networked
> video is a myth at the moment. When it happens, I think there will be a
> number of models upon which to draw: per view; institutional per capita;
> per annum...etc.
> In any case, digital video licensing when it comes along is bound to be
> substantially different than ejournal/etext licensing (such as Project
> MUSE, which you cite in your note). Libraries have experience in dealing
> with and budgeting for annual subscription, they have substantially less
> experience in dealing with "per use" situations...
> Kris B--you want to weigh in here?
> Gary
> Gary Handman
> Director
> Media Resources Center
> Moffitt Library
> UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
> 510-643-8566