Re: [Videolib] Streaming Videos from the Collection

Mark Richie (
Mon, 25 Jun 2007 16:49:37 -0500

Geeez Catherine - I don't know where to begin. Let's start with this
from June 21,07
> SNIP> Libraries are buying FILES instead of a DVD or VHS? What format do you need? > 6/21/07
Yea, there's a news flash. Some video libraries have been buying video
files (and the associated license) instead of VHS or DVD and converting
them since at least 1999 . . . .

Then about this one:


Multiple copies bought? Are you kidding me? Universities are buying 1 copy
at the home video price (between $20 and $30) and that is it for--your
numbers--240 to 300 students. Go ahead and point the finger at the bad
distributor that wants so much money as much as you can, but if you do not
have the digital rights and do not want to pay a license fee, do not stream
at all and let the distributors figure out how to deliver that format to
your students legally.

Catherine "

No, I'm not kidding. Universities buy at $20 to $30 because a distributor agreed to sell it at that price. "My numbers" ?? Great, let's remember that you started with 10,000 students as part of the justification for digital rights pricing. Good argument strategy - turn the realistic numbers around against the other guy . . .

And the best part: "point the finger at the bad distributor that wants so much money . . ." OK, I will. And I and others should continue to point fingers (and not buy from) the distributors who have a flawed business model that charges for the same content two and three times, set rates that would make a loan shark blush and hold their customers hostage with outrageous renewal requirements.

Finally, and let me check this . . . nope, I never said I didn't want to pay license fees.
Never said that.

I also never advocated streaming without paying for a license. In fact I pointed out why it would be WORTH the extra cost for digital rights e.g.: "not having to stock two or three hard
copies that are subject to damage and loss, yea - that's worth a premium . . ."

I will argue that when a classroom video/DVD is sold for $30 to a university library there is never a question of how many potential viewers there will be, what the student population is, or a requirement to report the number of annual circs. Again, why is video on demand so different that these counts became an issue? No reasonable librarian is advocating an open stack video server that anyone on the web can access 24/7. There are passwords, secure servers, proprietary download clients and registered user lists to preserve the integrity of the collection.

The economics of providing digital files to university and other academic libraries does not warrant $500 plus pricing for 3-5 years.

And the argument that without higher pricing there will be no new product or filmmakers won't bother making films for so little return is nonsense also. Go tell it to the educational film producers that started up after 1985 when educational pricing went from $200 for a 12 minute 16mm film to $69 for the same thing on video. Filmmakers want to make films. Like actors want to act. Content will still get made and distributed - both pedantic educational content and evocative, passionate documentaries. Check out the NMM web site > < for 55 distributors offering content to universities and K-12 centers. Five years ago they had 38 exhibitors.

Business is about relationships. And for at least seven years this issue of digital rights pricing has been one of the most divisive in the industry. Libraries are trying to stay relevant and distributors are trying to stay in business. The physical academic/k-12 video library will become irrelevant unless it can make digital delivery cost effective. Without the video library, the market place is diminished to the loss of all.

Mark Richie

VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.