Great, spirited discussion, guys! On the matter of vendor

Philip Fryer (
Thu, 04 Apr 1996 09:50:58 -0400

prices and our interminable negotiations,

Great, spirited discussion, guys! On the matter of vendor prices and our interminable negotiations, I have a piece
coming in a recent issue of _VRT News_ (if the editors see fit!) which may keep the topic alive -

I have been trying to sell the concept of appropriate pricing; meaning pricing for the rights you actually require. In
our case we wish often wish to procure closed-circuit cable distribution rights, not public performance rights. I
personally like PBS Video's approach (check-out p.4 of the new catalog).

I could counter-argue the vendor's point of view on the topic of pricing, but I won't here. I will say that if our use of
the video extends beyond the face-to-face teaching exception, or the in-house library use, it does not seem
inappropriate, or unfair, to pay for those additional rights.

I don't think the book price analogy works; the mediums are used differently, and the markets are dissimilar. If we
looked at small press publishers we might get a better sense of scale for distribution purposes, but the production
costs would be still out of whack. I personally chastise many vendors for their marketing short-comings,
particularly if they have a great title that ends up only being viewed by a privileged few, often in an academic
setting. If they could manage to expand their markets the price per item sold would surely drop. There is,
unfortunately, an elitist strain with some film/video vendors, often ironic due to the political content of their
products, which even suggest socialist solutions to endemic world problems. In other words; the film-makers and
their distributors often disagree about pricing. Most film-makers want the largest audience possible. I sometimes
wonder if distributors get the message. I have, on occasion, gone around distributors directly to the film-maker (if
they have not signed a sole distributor agreement) for the sale. And it has worked. Plus it is really cool to talk to
the film-maker :-)

Philip Fryer
AV/Systems Librarian
Loyola/Notre Dame Library