Re: Query: Average cost of academic videos?

Randy Pitman (
Thu, 17 Dec 1998 12:23:26 -0800 (PST)

Dear Frank,

I absolutely agree with you that titles from United Learning, et al (which
are, of course, *not* in the $300 and up range) are exceptionally
well-suited to curriculum use. I'm not sure I quite agree about the quality
of the "made for tv" stuff. "Africans in America" is "made for tv." A fair
amount of the material that educational vendors are selling is "made for
tv." Ambrose, for example, will sell a Discovery Channel program for about
$100. BMG Video, a home video co., will sell a Discovery Channel program for
about $20. I don't mean to pick on Ambrose--this is a very widespread
feature of the video distribution landscape. I have to agree with Kris on
the main focus of this thread, however, that there is no real "average" cost
of academic videos, which are a little different from K-12 titles. Many fine
academic videos literally range in cost from $19.95 to $395 and where's the
average in that?


Randy Pitman
Video Librarian
8705 Honeycomb Ct. NW
Seabeck, WA 98380
Tel: (800) 692-2270

-----Original Message-----
From: Frank Landrum <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Date: Thursday, December 17, 1998 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: Query: Average cost of academic videos?

>With all due respect to the Video Librarian, which is without doubt a high
>quality publication, I cannot agree with your thoughts. Having worked in
>regional agencies for over 25 years as both a reviewer and in coordinating
>reviewing teams, there is a definite difference in overall quality of media
>produced for the education market. Of course there are "dogs", but
>generally speaking, we purchase 80-90% of media that comes from educational
>vendors and little of the "made for tv" stuff. It usually does not include
>a teacher guide, is often 58 minutes (with lots of filler) and has little
>or no curriculum relevance.
>I do not think Mike was saying that videos are the same as textbooks. I
>read his statement as making an analogy of trade to text.
>Yes there are lots of videos out there that do a decent job at a cheap
>price. But education, like any other field or business, needs to seek out
>the best quality that it can find. I would rather have 10 high quality
>videos than 50 mediocre quality ones. We still buy the Schesslinger and
>others, but we buy mostly from the United Learning, AGC, and Benchmarks of
>the world. For one thing, true professional vendors allow us to preview
>before purchase. The cheapo mail order houses often will not. They
>provide many services beyond filling a purchase order.
>Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts.
>Best wishes to those on this wonderful listerv.
>Frank Landrum
>Lane ESD
>Eugene, Or.
> wrote:
>>Dear Mike,
>>I would have to disagree on several counts: I'm not sure, first of all,
>>there are very many videos out there which are the "equivalent" of
>>textbooks, either by happpenstance or design. For the academic market, in
>>particular, how many independent filmmakers make a documentary thinking
>>are creating "core curriculum" material? I'm also not convinced that
>>educational materials are--ipso facto--priced higher. Schlessinger Media
>>produces excellent curriculum materials for $29.95-$39.95 per half-hour.
>>Many Sunburst Communications titles--all curriculum based--are priced at
>>$49.95. Chip Taylor Communications has recently lowered prices from
>>$19.95-$39.95 on home video titles (which, of course, can be used in a
>>face-to-face classroom teaching situation.) Too, I think we tend to use
>>word "curriculum" as some kind of talisman--I've seen plenty of so-called
>>curricular videos that stink on ice, regardless of whether they meet
>>curricular objectives. In 15 years or reviewing, I've come to the
>>that price and quality are absolutely unrelated.
>>Randy Pitman
>>Video Librarian
>>8705 Honeycomb Ct. NW
>>Seabeck, WA 98380
>>Tel: (800) 692-2270
>>>Dear Barbara,
>>>Generally speaking, there is an enormous difference among videos sold as
>>>...educatonal videos that are core curricular, the primary and sole
>>for >which are schools and colleges -the equivalent of textbooks - are on
>>the high side >- up to $395. Again, as in the book analogy, a trade book
>>sells for some $20 >odd, while the texbook for $80 odd.
>>>Mike Solin, President
>>>Benchmark Media (a producer of curricular videos)