RE: [Videolib] Video costs

Jonathan Miller (jmiller@frif.com)
Fri, 10 Feb 2006 15:38:57 -0500

Dear Ciara,

I think John's point is that if he (or we) thought that we could sell 2000
units of every title we release to the academic market (which is where most
of our titles do most of their business) then we could charge home video
prices for each unit.

Secondly, unlike textbooks or journals, I don't think that the cost of
videos for nontheatrical markets have gone up (or are going up). I know that
my company, which probably has (intentionally) among the highest prices in
the field (I guess except for Fire Prevention films!), has not raised our
prices, ever.

I think where we, and other companies, consider it fair to charge extra is
when an institution wants to be able to use the media they buy from us in
more ways, more flexibly, possibly with more copies (virtual or otherwise)
to serve more people more often (and with potentially greater risk to us,
particularly in this transition period): and you are, I think, suggesting we
shouldn't charge more for that.

If you product (the films we distribute) have value for you and your
constituents, your job is to figure how much value they have compared to
what we think they are worth (cost us) or we think the market will bare
(bear?).

Since our sales (and I believe Bullfrog's) are going up with our prices
going down - some of you out there - and more than in the past - must think
they are, in fact, worth it.

And we think so too.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Miller

-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu
[mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of Ciara Healy
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 2:37 PM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: [Videolib] Video costs

In reply to John from Bullfrog's post:

Do you mean by: "my point of comparison is always with textbooks... if
professors assigned videos the way they assign textbooks, then the price
of course would drop dramatically" that professors should make unique
copies of videos mandatory purchases for students? Do you mean "require"
instead of assign? I have just purchased a video entitled "Fire
Extinguishers - First Responder" which is a 12 minute film that costs
$325.00. (I can't speak to the production quality - yet.) If the
instructor made it mandatory that each student purchase that video, the
result would not be a dramatic drop in the price of the video. The
result, most likely, would be that there would be a dramatic drop in
enrollment.

The high price of textbooks is a major complaint of students across the
country, what with new editions coming out and the resale value of used
textbooks about %10 percent of the original cost. Many of the students
believe that professors should put copies of the current textbook on
reserve - or that libraries should buy them every semester - so that
students without the money can still be prepared for class. You are not
doing yourself a service by hitching your wagon to textbooks to
textbooks (or journals) - with regard to publishing costs or much else.
You also don't go into scholarly publishing, or education really, to
make money.

The harder argument to make is to defend the exorbitant price of
educational videos. But to suggest that the price go up in relation to
demand ("So my conclusion is that if higher ed is going to rely more
heavily on the use of media, then the price should probably go up.")
under cuts your first point about textbooks, which I thought was that if
more copies were purchased (demanded) then price would go down
dramatically.

So my conclusion is that either way - if demand goes up or down, that
video prices will skyrocket. And so will textbook prices.

Ciara Healy
Media Services Librarian

Bruce I. Howell Library
Wake Technical Community College
9101 Fayetteville Road
Raleigh, NC 27603

(919) 773-4724
cmhealy@waketech.edu

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