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

From: <ghandman@library.berkeley.edu>
Date: Fri Nov 13 2009 - 11:58:04 PST

Those documents penned by scribes; those typed manuscripts; those Old
School newspapers...they've all been collected, preserved, assiduously
catalog in libraries, Jo Ann... Sometimes the only reason they're still
around is libraries.

Digital Media? There are currently no preservation or access standards,
and, if you rely on the distributors to provide access, there are no
guarantees that the content will be around once it runs its effective
market life. These are issues that aren't unique to digital video, by any
means; they're concerns that libraries and librarians need to be
addressing carefully, regardless of medium.

BTW: I haven't heard anyone on this list who's balking about the future
or change (or who lacks motivation to ponder them). There ARE some of us
who feel strongly about the potential hazards of buying into disposable
and ephemeral culture, transient technologies, and the media fix du
jour...who are trying diligently to figure out how to balance budgets,
user needs, and long term preservation requirements.

When libraries begin buying heavily into the pay-per-drink, predominantly
just-in-time, use-and-lose mentality, we might as well all pack it in or
hand it over to iTunes and Netflix.

Gary

> I find it truly unfortunate for the future of print and media libraries
> that so many of my colleagues in print and media cannot be sufficiently
> motivated to contemplate, not just their competition, but their own
> obsolescence. Scribes gave way to the printing press, we don't have
> stenographers or typists anymore, and most physicians don't use leaches.
> Heck, even the military is experimenting with drones. Disciplines and
> fields evolve and change. Streams and eprint may appear ephemeral now
> but it is very easy to envision them becoming the norm. You won't have
> to worry about finding vhs and dvd players in a few more years, you'll
> just need the latest software to play someone's proprietary stream
> format. But, even if I am way off base and dead wrong, we still should
> be able to discuss this topic meaningfully and intelligently and offer
> potential scenarios of a future without physical media as the norm,
> instead of clinging to what libraries 'were' chartered to do. What if
> your mission has to change because external circumstances are forcing
> your hand? Are we going to cling to the way things were or should be?
> Or, are we going to find ways to be libraries of the future. Talk to the
> newspaper industry about the way "news" should be. We should be making
> our own future, not reacting to it.
>
> And again, to get your creative juices flowing I recommend you read Clay
> Shirky's book, Here Comes Everybody.
>
> Or visit his blog, http://www.shirky.com/
>
> Please share your favorite forward thinking librarians on twitter or
> blogs with the group.
>
> Jo Ann
>
>
> Jo Ann Reynolds
> Reserve Services Coordinator
> University of Connecticut
> Homer Babbidge Library
> Storrs, CT
> 860-486-1406
> jo_ann.reynolds@uconn.edu
>
> Question Reality
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu
> [mailto:videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of
> ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
> Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 1:22 PM
> To: videolib@lists.berkeley.edu
> Subject: Re: [Videolib] A meditation on indie vdeo pricing in an age of
> fiscalapocalypse
>
> I dunno...seems like we're totally losing track of what libraries are
> supposed to be and what they're chartered to do. There seems to be
> confusion between short-term/specific need and long-term mission. I
> realize that different libraries have different collection development
> and
> service missions (depending on the nature, size, history of the
> institution). That doesn't obviate the fact that spending money on
> ephemeral, short-term access for the benefit of specific courses is a
> real
> slippery slope.
>
> As for vendors offering the option of individual download and/or
> stream...sure why not. Do it for well under twenty bucks a semester and
> it'll fly. Do it for more and they're stay away in droves or rip you
> off
> blind.
>
> gary
>
>
>> Gary, they are going to call YOU or me or some other institution that
>> spent money collecting CONTENT instead of spending money for streaming
>> rights when that cost could be spread out among students easily. We
> talk
>> about convenience of access all the time (especially in regard to the
>> vendors who will happily convert your collection for you and stream it
> to
>> dorm rooms, because hey, that's a learning environment similar to a
>> classroom so it must be face-to-face, right??).
>>
>> If the vendors can give the OPTION for students to pay for streaming
> for a
>> semester, then we don't have to worry about streaming rights, hosting
> the
>> digital content, etc. We can concentrate our budgets on actually
> buying
>> stuff that we will have around for a long time (we hope).
>>
>> Sarah
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu
>> [mailto:videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of
>> ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
>> Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 8:52 PM
>> To: videolib@lists.berkeley.edu
>> Subject: Re: [Videolib] A meditation on indie vdeo pricing in an age
> of
>> fiscalapocalypse
>>
>> 10 years from now, when a scholar wants to access that Icarus
> title...who
>> they gonna call?
>>
>> gary
>>
>>
>>> 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.
>>>
>>
>>
>> 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.
>>
>
>
> 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.
>

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.
Received on Fri Nov 13 11:59:16 2009

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