Re: [Videolib] A meditation on indie vdeo pricing in an age of fiscalapocalypse

From: Sarah E. McCleskey <Sarah.E.McCleskey@hofstra.edu>
Date: Wed Nov 11 2009 - 14:17:29 PST

I love the idea of the student paying $2.99 for a semester of streamed access. It leaves our collection budgets for, well, collecting, and provides a revenue stream for NewDay, Icarus, Bullfrog, Newsreel, etc., etc., etc. I think students would rather pay $2.99 than have to come to the library to watch a movie. Every time I say this someone shoots it down, but I really wish more distributors would go with a pay-per-stream model, where we can pass that cost along to the student and use our money for content (rather than access).

Sarah @ Hofstra

-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu [mailto:videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of Jonathan Miller
Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 4:57 PM
To: videolib@lists.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] A meditation on indie vdeo pricing in an age of fiscalapocalypse

Dear video-ists

1) If amongst say the top 1000 higher=ed media buyers price per se was not
the obstacle to buying important (say the top 25% of released titles?)
documentaries at prices between say $200 and $400,

And now, with reduced budgets there is less ability to continue buying them
- overall.

Then, if distributors who formerly sold at $200-$400 were to cut prices to
say $100

Why should we expect any more of those 1000 top buyers to buy 2 > 4 x as
many (at least) units? I don't get it. If I sold 200 units at $300 = $
60,000 / now I am going to release the same films for say $150 - will now
400 colleges buy that same title? And even if they do, I am still behind
(higher costs, more work).

2) How many of you are using or getting your profs/students to use services
such as

A) Amazon VOD
B) New Day VOD

Could we get say 30,000 students to pay $2 each for say our recent release
on the mortgage crisis WE ALL FALL DOWN? (if we stream it ourselves and keep
all the money, less the 3% credit card fee!) or 70,000 students (!) if it is
done thru a 3rd party service like Amazon?

3) Is Alexander Street's model a good substitute for you? Would you like to
move in that direction?

Perhaps, Gary et al, you can give us some specific commentary on which
companies / policies that you see starting to emerge do you think might
work? What are some companies doing right (Strategically) as you see it?
What companies are moving in the wrong direction, and why.

Otherwise, apart from closing up shop, I am not sure what you are suggesting
we (distributors/ producers) do.

Is that too harsh?

JM

Jonathan Miller
President
Icarus Films
32 Court Street, 21st Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA

tel 1.718.488.8900
fax 1.718.488.8642
www.IcarusFilms.com
jmiller@IcarusFilms.com

-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu
[mailto:videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 6:35 PM
To: videolib@lists.berkeley.edu
Subject: [Videolib] A meditation on indie vdeo pricing in an age of
fiscalapocalypse

Hi all

I've been mulling over the spate of recent posts re tiered pricing, etc.
Mulling and stewing (sorta sounds like holiday dinner, don't it?) In any
case, I had a long and rambling post all ready to go yesterday, then pulled
my punches, went home, had a drink, slept on it, and now I think I'm ready
to put this out again for discussion.

Over the course of the 25 years or so I've been doing this job, I've
consistently stood firmly and vocally behind the pricing structures
(including tiered pricing) of our friends in indie filmmaking and film
distribution--the $200 to $400 sticker prices that have become common for
the purchase of their wares by higher ed institutions. Like my colleagues
in other libraries, I've paid these prices because, well, to quote Woody
Allen, "We need the eggs." In other words, my colleagues and I have coughed
up because: a) we understand the fiscal travails and the slim profits of
indie film distribution b) we esteem the films being sold in this market
and realize that diverse collections depend on the vitality of the makers
and distributors of this stuff c) we've had budgets which, to a greater or
lesser extent, have afforded us the luxury of buying non-mass marketed
titles.

Fast forward to 2009...Not to beat an already hemorrhaging horse, but, for
those of us in higher ed, the woods are burning, and (to mix metaphors
shamelessly) the center can no longer hold (things, in other words, are
falling apart). My budget this year took a 25% cut; I no longer have a
supplies and equipment budget of any kind (not to mention the fact that I've
been furloughed for 21 days). We've been promised that next year will be
even worse. Now, California is an extreme case (as always), but not totally
unique, by any means. I think that most of my colleagues in academic
libraries are in roughly the same position in terms of dwindling collection
budgets...

In this fiscal climate, it seems to me that survival on both the buyer and
seller ends of things is going to require some serious rethinking of the
pricing and marketing models that have been in place since the inception of
home video technologies. The "all-the-particular-market-will-bear"
strategy may very well be a coffin nail for indie distributors in the
future.

I have most definitely had to think twice about buying the kinds of stuff
that I wouldn't have blinked about buying in the past...and, as much as it
pains me to the quick to have to bargain shop, home video is looking more
and more attractive. Again...I think we're definitely not in business as
usual territory any longer, Toto. As stewards of strapped collection
budgets, I think we're all forced to be more hard-nosed and realistic about
the relative short- and long-term value of what we're buying for these
collections.

It occurs to me that a number of distributors I know out there have, in
fact, recranked prices, sought out home video markets, tried other pricing
structures. It's obvious to me, in any case, that historical models just
don't cut it in a lot of ways. Is it justifiable to charge $300 for a title
that's been in a distributor's catalog for 10 years...I personally think
not. In this climate, am I justified in buying $300-a-pop materials "just
in case" they may be used by teachers and scholars sometime down the
road...I'm no longer sure. Can I continue to simply grin and bear the
fact that public libraries are charged a third of what I pay, particularly
when this pricing is built almost exclusively on the perception that I have
the dough and they don't...well, no, I can't.

I find it really odious to have to bring this stuff up. I am an enormous
fan of the distributors that I deal with daily and want to see them live
long and prosper... On the other hand...

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley

510-643-8566
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"I have always preferred the reflection of life to life itself."
--Francois Truffaut

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.

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.

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 14:18:03 2009

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