Re: [Videolib] A Meditation of Video Pricing

From: Lawrence Daressa <LD@newsreel.org>
Date: Wed Nov 11 2009 - 11:55:17 PST

 
As someone living in California I can sympathize with Gary's dismay at
the Draconian budget cuts we are enduring (the result of a massive
failure of political leadership.) A 25% budget cut is devastating.
California high schools have been told to purchase no instructional
materials - all such materials must be open source, that is, free.

I think I speak for many distributors in saying that if we had to do
away with tiered pricing, we would have to eliminate the less expensive
tiers. At Newsreel 80% of our revenue come from post-secondary
education. The public library and home video markets are neglegible
revenue streams for this type of content. And, as mentioned, at least in
California, the high school market is currently non-existent. So,
reducing tiered pricing would only result in excluding users with even
fewer resources than colleges and universities.

I think we need to look at monetization models which can bring use into
closer alignment with price; this would result in a decrease in the cost
of some items and an increase in the cost of others. Digital delivery
could make possible a range of more flexible and equitable pricing
models.
Here are just a few examples of new models for monetizing content:

A. individual student digital rental at prevailing commercial rates
B. departmental or universiy purchase of a number of vouchers (password
protected, pre-paid digital rentals) for a title or a distributor's
whole collection, at commerial rates with bulk discounts
C. annual subscription to a title, a bundle of titles or a distributor's
whole collection at some fraction of current DVD purchase cost, prices
varying based on utility and age
D. purchase of a digital file for each title for the life of the file
at some multiple of the current DVD purchase rates, again with variable
pricing
E. purchase of a DVD "reference" copy accessible to individual students
and faculty in the library only at the price of comparable print
reference materials

While passing costs on to faculty and students is regrettable, a $2.99
digital rental is neglegible in comparison with the increases in student
admission fees or the faculty furloughs which universities appear to
have no scruples about imposing. Despite difficult economic times, we
know that many students still pay $2.99 to rent Hollywood films from
i-Tunes or $10.50 to see them at theatres. Do universities really
believe that it is unreasonable to ask students to pay for educational
media (only) because they might not as a result be able to afford
entertainment?

What should be recognized is that the films most educational
distributors are selling are, in general, not "home videos" which just
happen to have a use in universities. They should be respected and
valued as the equivalent of any other educational resource. I can think
of no print resource which can be used by hundreds of students
simultaneously, in classes term after term, for five or even ten years,
which costs $20. At the same time it is equally unreasonable to charge
$400 for a film which will be seen by perhaps 50 students over a ten
year period. A compensation model will be neither viable or equitable
until it reflects the actual use of moving image content. I hope that
the options suggested above, at least encourage readers of this list to
start thinking about more flexible models for purchasing and pricing
moving image content.

Larry Daressa

-----Original Message-----
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Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 9:10 AM
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Subject: videolib Digest, Vol 24, Issue 58

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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: AMIA conference in St. Louis (Stanton, Kim)
   2. 16mm Italian Films (Rhonda Pancoe)
   3. Re: 16mm Italian Films (Jessica Rosner)
   4. Re: A meditation on indie vdeo pricing in an age offiscal
      apocalypse (GODIN, CHRISTINE)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 10:16:31 -0600
From: "Stanton, Kim" <Kim.Stanton@unt.edu>
Subject: Re: [Videolib] AMIA conference in St. Louis
To: "videolib@lists.berkeley.edu" <videolib@lists.berkeley.edu>
Message-ID:
        <7457EC64D1A3654D860133E5A1D221303A22A4BF03@GABMB03.ad.unt.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

The AMIA conference was great. There was a really healthy dialog all
week between those with the means and the gall to shoot for a new online
Library of Alexandria (i.e. Internet Archive, etc) and others with less
financial/staff support and a stricter interpretations of how access can
be provided . And lots of helpful technical information of AV formats,
transfer services, open source access and management system, techniques
for promoting your collections, etc.

I recently become responsible for figuring out how to digitize and best
provide access to a donated 16mm collection - the conference and the
AMIA listserv have been so helpful. I can now clean film by hand without
totally destroying it and have intimate working knowledge of an Elmo
(!).

If you're digitizing any of your older formats or just trying to figure
out how to care for materials without tossing them out - go go go!

Kim Stanton
Digital Media Librarian
Media Library
University of North Texas
Kim.stanton@unt.edu
P: (940) 565-4832
F: (940) 369-7396

From: videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu
[mailto:videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of Dennis Doros
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 9:04 PM
To: Video Library questions
Subject: [Videolib] AMIA conference in St. Louis

Since I wrote a depressing email, I thought I should send an optimistic
one as well. The Association of Moving Image Archivists held their
annual meeting in St. Louis last week and there are an incredible number
of smart, talented and enthusiastic students and young archivists out
there. I am always amazed at how the profession has changed for the
better over the years and how the field is attracting the best and the
brightest. Better yet, most of the talk is about more and better access
and even among the studios there is positive thoughts about this. Warner
Brother's DVD-R system is just the start of what could be a better
future. And there's a lot of new ideas in the preservation and
restoration of audio-visual material.

Another positive, AMIA's Advocacy Committee will be writing on issues
that will impact the future -- such as the quality of DVDRs and the
industry's promise of "forever." As AMIA's new publicist (I
volunteered), I'll be posting these on Videolib for people to consider.

And I was so happy to see a videolib representative in Kim Stanton! Kim,
I'd love to hear what you thought of the conference and how it pertains
to your job.

--
Best,
Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video/Milliarium Zero
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: 201-767-3117
Fax: 201-767-3035
email: milefilms@gmail.com<mailto:milefilms@gmail.com>
www.milestonefilms.com<http://www.milestonefilms.com>
www.arayafilm.com<http://www.arayafilm.com>
www.exilesfilm.com<http://www.exilesfilm.com>
www.wordisoutmovie.com<http://www.wordisoutmovie.com>
www.killerofsheep.com<http://www.killerofsheep.com>
AMIA Philadelphia 2010: www.amianet.org<http://www.amianet.org>
Join "Milestone Film" on Facebook!
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Message: 2
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 11:31:35 -0500
From: Rhonda Pancoe <rpancoe@colgate.edu>
Subject: [Videolib] 16mm Italian Films
To: videolib@lists.berkeley.edu
Message-ID:
	<7771b7010911110831n37ce4b6fjfebb9ac2f37a4884@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
I have a professor who wants me to find the following Italian films on
16mm.  Does anybody know who might distribute them if at all?
Viaggio in Italia, Roberto Rossellini, 1954 Indagine su un cittadino al
di sopra di ogni sospetto aka: Investigation of a Citizen Above
Suspicion or Investigation of a Private Citizen, Elio Petri, 1970
L'imbalsamatore aka: The Embalmer, Matteo Garrone, 2002
All of them should be in Italian with English subtitles.
Rhonda Pancoe
Media Acquisitions Coordinator
Colgate University
13 Oak Drive
Hamilton, NY  13346
315-228-7858 Phone
315-228-6227 Fax
RPancoe@Colgate.Edu
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Message: 3
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 11:37:35 -0500
From: Jessica Rosner <maddux2014@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Videolib] 16mm Italian Films
To: videolib@lists.berkeley.edu
Message-ID:
	<55e0d0090911110837m163a33beu7dafef138d2e0dc0@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
There used to be a lot of prinst of Voyage around but unless Bob Harris
at Biograph is still around I can't imagine a company that rents one.
Ironically Investigation is owned by Swank but I sincerely doubt they
have a print.
Good luck
On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 11:31 AM, Rhonda Pancoe <rpancoe@colgate.edu>
wrote:
> I have a professor who wants me to find the following Italian films on
> 16mm.  Does anybody know who might distribute them if at all?
>
> Viaggio in Italia, Roberto Rossellini, 1954 Indagine su un cittadino 
> al di sopra di ogni sospetto aka: Investigation of a Citizen Above 
> Suspicion or Investigation of a Private Citizen, Elio Petri, 1970 
> L'imbalsamatore aka: The Embalmer, Matteo Garrone, 2002
>
> All of them should be in Italian with English subtitles.
> Rhonda Pancoe
> Media Acquisitions Coordinator
> Colgate University
> 13 Oak Drive
> Hamilton, NY  13346
> 315-228-7858 Phone
> 315-228-6227 Fax
> RPancoe@Colgate.Edu
>
> 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.
>
>
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Message: 4
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 11:09:47 -0600
From: "GODIN, CHRISTINE" <cgodin@alamo.edu>
Subject: Re: [Videolib] A meditation on indie vdeo pricing in an age
	offiscal apocalypse
To: <videolib@lists.berkeley.edu>
Message-ID:
	<54F356CBA0FA334BB7A14D7BE31602120190E287@ACCDMAIL0.ad.root>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
I am buying the Wiseman film for $400. I have to admit that if they had
not advertised a home video price of $29.95, I probably would not have
balked so much. Isn't there any middle ground? I checked WorldCat to see
who and how many libraries own this particular film (Wiseman's
Hospital). It is less than a dozen. May I suggest that we are
potentially a good market but there would be more library sales if the
DVD cost $100-$150. I don't expect to pay just a nominal amount for a
documentary. I understand that they are costly to produce and have
limited audiences. But the filmmakers surely want to get the most
coverage and biggest audience they can, right? 
 
We buy many titles in the $250-$300 range from places like Bullfrog,
Media Education Foundation, etc because of their quality and the fact
that our faculty want and use them. I even have ponied up for the
ultra-expensive corporate training videos (now there's a whole 'nother
story!) because our workforce development department can use them for
revenue generation or professional development right here on campus.
When a title is desired but rather esoteric and will be shown once or
twice a year to a classroom of 24 students, I cringe a little at the
multi-hundred $$ price. 
 
Christine Crowley Godin
Dean of Learning Resources
Adjunct Faculty, Theatre
Northwest Vista College
3535 N. Ellison Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78251
210.486.4572 voice
210.486.4504 fax
cgodin@alamo.edu  (new email as of Aug. 1, 2009)
 
From: videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu
[mailto:videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of Jessica Rosner
Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 10:04 AM
To: videolib@lists.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] A meditation on indie vdeo pricing in an age
offiscal apocalypse
 
Hmm I wonder who that could have been Philip ?
However I think the pricing of "entertainment" films is a whole other
issue. Frankly I remain very pessimistic on what we often call
"educational"
or "institutional " films. I understand and agree with the frustration
re unneeded public performance rights and multi tiered pricing but at
the end of the day small documentaries and the people who make and
distribute them are not going to sell enough copies at $30 to survive.
If you are
Wiseman or PBS you might be able to sell thousands of copies to cover
the cost but beyond that not likely. In my fantasy public libraries
would buy  a significant number of small documentaries just like they
buy Disney and Universities would buy them on a regular collections and
not just by special request. I am not holding my breath. If you an
figure out a scenario where a 60 minute film on public health clinics in
Houston or a
90 minute film on women's rights in Indonesia will sell a 1000 copies at
$30 as oppossed to 100 at $300 I am sure both fillmmakers and
distributors  ( and folks who might like to see the stuff) would be
thrilled but that does not seem likely. It is ironic that is this age of
increasing
media access many independent filmmakers and distributors are losing
their livelyhood and libraries have fewer choices about what they can
make available.
 
On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 10:36 AM, Hallman, Philip <phallman@umich.edu>
wrote:
Hello,
Thanks Gary for articulating so well what we must all be feeling.  I'd
like to chime in, if I may, on a similar note.  Yesterday one of the
sales reps from the one of the few remaining film rental companies
called to see why I had not been renting film prints for our film
studies classes.  During the conversation, I checked on the price of a
public performance license for TOPKAPI which I thought I might suggest
we show as part of a museum theme semester series that one of our
colleges wants to do.  The price is $325.00!  That's why I have not been
ordering prints.  This is a 1964 film! Yes, it's a lot of fun and yes,
it won an Academy Award for Peter Ustinov, but let's face it, it's not
part of the film studies canon and it is a completely unknown film to
the undergrad population.  We'll be lucky to get 30 people to actually
come and watch it.  From a programmer's perspective it would be a great
addition to the series and would be a good contrast to the documentaries
with public performance rights that we already own and will most likely
show.  But by using a 1980's standard for pricing rentals, this company
won't and shouldn't make a sale.  I understand that the few remaining
rental companies are struggling with all their might to survive, but not
everything increases in value as it ages.  This kind of pricing is
ruining film exhibition on college campuses. I know we'll never return
to the days when I was in college running a film society where we had
five or six competing film groups showing 6-10 films a night and each
one getting 300 and 400 people for a movie.  But these rates don't even
allow anyone to get into the game.  It's really a shame but part of me
wants this kind of greed to fail.  It doesn't surprise me that people
want to circumvent the legal system and try and show things without
obtaining the proper licenses.
And don't get me started on some of the companies that sell dvds with
public performance rights who then want you to pay an additional amount
if you plan to show it to more than 50 people....
Philip Hallman
Field Librarian
University of Michigan
Dept of Screen Arts & Cultures/Hatcher Graduate Library
-----
 
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End of videolib Digest, Vol 24, Issue 58
****************************************
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.
Received on Wed Nov 11 12:07:35 2009

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