Here goes...for what it's worth. Though I can not speak for all
distributors, nor can I presume their motives, I can probably speak for many.
We here at Fanlight Productions are in no way trying to cheat libraries or
other educational institutions out of their money!
In response to some of the comments I have been reading:
Philip Fryer wrote: 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.
Vendors market from experience. Our company has been in this business for
over 12 years now and managed to stay alive despite the recent increase of
vendors going under (I know of three this month). While we have some films
that may have wider market appeal, the majority do not. We try hard to stay
consistant within our own price structure so as to not work against
ourselves. For example while the film "When Billy Broke His Head"
(disability rights) may have a large public appeal, films like "The Drop-In
Group" (AIDS educ. for mentally ill) and "Maternal PKU"(phenylketonuria) do
not. In order for us to make the less popular films available there needs to
be some sort of institutional price structure. Although we wish for large
markets that we could tap into, are experience tells us differently.
Susan Sloan had this to say: ...companies like this one (referring to the one
in Hawaii) won't feel that they can make blanket policies.
These blanket policies are there for a reason, In short, they help substain a
business like ours. It is our right to price videos as we see fit. Words
like public performance, home use, individual and institution are there to
convey meaning about numbers, size, people. Consequently they have been
linked to price. There are no laws that I am aware of that say home use must
be $19.95, $29.95 or even bargin prices.
Dispite this freedom in pricing we do have, it is not in our best interest to
eliminate potential markets by having an exorbitant price structure. Nor is
it in our best interest to sell "Maternal PKU" for $19.95 if only 50 people
are going to buy it. Think about marketing cost to find those 50 people. The
prices are set for what the market can bare. And yes, in many cases to carry
the titles which need to be carried. Fair you say? Probably not. Should we
eliminate obscure topics and small distributors and only have Home Depots to
drive the price down?
On many occassions we have offered special library only prices, worked with
consortiums and always take written letters of price offers. We are
sensitive to organization's smaller and smaller budgets. Elitist and rich we
are not...gouging, I don't think so. Maybe there should be a forum between
the two groups, because I can hear your concerns.