[Videolib] Digital bundle thought experiment

From: Shoaf,Judith P <jshoaf@ufl.edu>
Date: Sun Nov 15 2009 - 08:20:48 PST

Note that what I suggested is not a one-stop shopping website with a cart, but bundled digital access (for viewing on campus only) to an entire catalogue of documentary films (or consortium of catalogues), for research libraries & universities. No tiered pricing, though. The bundles could vary in price based on the needs of the institution--limitless access to everything for the big ones, and bundles addressing a special interest (classic anthropology films, race in America, women's studies films, agriculture in the 2000s, arts and music, etc) for smaller schools with strong programs in particular fields. I gather JSTOR offers bundles like this.

These would be specifically NOT films that would have much commercial appeal. In this way, on the one hand, the catalogues would have a regular income (with libraries possibly spending more than they did before, because they are getting more, and because digitized material is more likely to be in the budget) and the stronger films would help carry the weaker ones, so to speak, so that they would be available to many more people than those whose institutions purchase a copy. The film that only 3 people in 10 years want to view would be available for them. Documentaries that might not have been worth peddling before can reach their audiences as part of a bundle.

My thought runs like this: let's say there are 1000 professors in the US who might be really interested in the Bolivian lesbian basketweaving commune Jessica has posited.Only 500 of them even know that a documentary on the subject exists. Only 100 of them have talked their institutions into buying copies of the documentary on this topic, and an additional 100 have seen it using interlibrary loan. (No idea what the numbers are actually like). The company that offers it considers dropping it from its catalogue.
Now this documentary is offered as part of bundles on Latin American commerce, women's and gender studies, and the arts, or as part of a comprehensive bundle. The institutions of 800 of the 1000 professors buy into one of these bundles, and the librarians point the film out to the professors who might be interested. It starts being used in their classes and cited in their articles, so all 1000 professors plus a lot of students become aware of it. The other 200 universities obtain either hard copies or access via the streaming service.
The person who made the documentary uses this interest to win a grant to make a sequel ("Bolivian lesbian basketweaving ten years later"), is invited to lecture at some of the universities and at plenary sections of conferences, and eventually is hired in a women's studies department to teach feminist documentary film-making.

Amazon would not be suitable for this. I think the place to look might in fact be JSTOR or some entrepreneur who understands both video streaming and university needs and budgets. Because of the nature of the material, it might even be possible to get a grant to set up the servers.

I will be glad to accept any commission offered...


From: videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu [videolib-bounces@lists.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of Lawrence Daressa [LD@newsreel.org]
Dear Judy,

You should get a commission for suggesting so many sensible models which
could make speciality film and video available digitally in forms
students, libraries, distributors and producers could all accept. Your
post illustrates what's possible when people think about new media not
simply as replicating legacy technology but as offering expanded
options. The server space is out there (and is incredibly cheap.) Many
small distributors are currently working on locate or build-out the
software to deliver password protected digital rentals and passkey
protected courseware. The small, speciality distributors have been
talking about setting up a single, shared fulfillment house and shopping
cart (one stop shopping) for decades; let's hope digital will make this
a reality. (Unhappily, Amazon isn't the answer; they extort 50% of each
digital rental and sale and insist on setting our prices.) Thanks for
taking the time to think about this problem so creatively.

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 Sun Nov 15 08:22:11 2009

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