Re: [Videolib] re: VHS pricing

Randy Pitman (
Wed, 3 Sep 2003 15:35:14 -0700

Hi Holly,

Lower VHS prices are somewhat "trend" oriented but even more a matter of
studio preference. Starting with "Swordfish" (the John Travolta terrorist
bomb), released at the end of October, 2001, Warner (and New Line) began
pricing VHS titles for sell-through, regardless of whether or not they were
blockbusters (the traditional factor for deciding which titles debuted at
sell-through). The other studios have pretty much maintained the $100-plus
release price for most VHS (Paramount, Fox, the Disney family--Hollywood,
Touchstone, Miramax, Dimension--etc.), with MGM closer to the $50 mark, and
smaller studios coming in at prices from $50-$79.95 (all of this very
generalized, of course).

Interestingly, MGM has a weird re-pricing system that they neither advertise
nor announce (we cover the titles in our "Video Movies Re-Priced" section in
"Video Librarian"): namely, when most non-blockbuster titles go to
sell-through, they're available for $5 retail from most distributors (most
recent examples: the Oscar-winning "No Man's Land," the Oscar-nominated "Y
Tu Mama Tambien," "24 Hour Party People," "Our Song," and "Happy
Accidents"--a great little indie film that slipped through the cracks).

One of the more interesting "handwriting on the wall" developments, to me,
is Miramax's decision to release the final film in the Godfrey Reggio/Philip
Glass collaborative trilogy, "Naqoyqatsi," in DVD only (Oct. 14). There have
been other "new" titles released on DVD only (New Line's "Human Nature" last
year, for example), but this is the highest profile new theatrical release
to come out on DVD only as far as I know.



Randy Pitman
Video Librarian
8705 Honeycomb Ct. NW
Seabeck, WA 98380
Tel: (800) 692-2270; Fax: (360) 830-9346
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Boedicker" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 10:42 AM
Subject: [Videolib] re: VHS pricing

> Holly,
> I've noticed that more brand-new feature films are now sell-through priced
> ($15-$20). Used to be only Disney stuff was sell-through. But the
> of new VHS features are still priced for rental & so I buy them "30 day
> used" from Midwest Tape for $39.99. But anymore it seems ridiculous to
> a used tape for 40 bucks when I can get 2 DVDs -- on release date -- for
> same price. I wonder if DVD will ever use the "priced for rental" model.
> Supposedly DVDs now account for more rentals than VHS, and yet DVDs are
> still very reasonably priced. Hope it stays that way...
> Mike Boedicker
> Audiovisual Director & Webmaster
> Danville Public Library
> 319 N. Vermilion, Danville, IL 61832
> (217) 477-5223 ext. 123 / Fax: (217) 477-5230
> Library homepage:
> Personal homepage:
> "There are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth.
> And no one is lying."
> -- Robert Evans
> -----------
> Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 09:57:30 -0400 (EDT)
> From: "Holly Sammons" <>
> To: <>
> Subject: [Videolib] VHS pricing
> Message-ID:
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> This may be related to the dvd/vhs question posed earlier. I'm wondering
> if others are noticing that the prices on many vhs feature films have
> become extremely cheap?! My library orders primarily from Baker and
> Taylor, and in the past month or so I've noticed many titles are dirt
> cheap, ie. under $10 retail. Many of these are newer releases, like
> Barbershop, While Oleander, From Hell (okay so they're not blockbusters
> but they are high demand items at MY library at least!) On my last order
> of 75 titles, 23 of them were under $10.
> Is something afoot? Are we looking at the inevitable demise of the
> videocassette?
> Collection development has gotten murky here, while many of our patrons
> have dvd players the demand for vhs is still high. How does a library
> determine the number of copies for any given title by format? How many
> copies of a $30 dvd do I buy, when I can get the same title in vhs format
> for $10 minus a fairly substantial discount?
> --
> Holly Sammons, Librarian
> Onondaga County Public Library
> 447 So Salina St
> Syracuse NY 13202
> 315-435-1894
> _________________________________________________________________
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