The Future of Home Video

Discuss North American DVDs and Blu-rays or other DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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hearthesilence
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Re: Criterion OOP

#101 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:25 am

A suggestion - if you can't keep books like this physically in print, how about making a version accessible via Blu-Ray's features? Either to read as you go along with the film or to display on screen? Not ideal, but at least consumers would still get that material.

Also, I really think BD-Live features should be pushed, that's something that hasn't been explored yet. Not the way studios use it just to promote new releases in general, but the way, say, Neil Young's Archives will keep that set up to date. In other words, if you have the Blu-Ray of a certain title, and somewhere down the line, Criterion or the BFI starts accumulating new material related to that title, people can access it on-line through their Blu-Ray disc. This could be, say, a Q&A with the filmmaker held at a screening two years down the road, or maybe an interview or a trove of uncovered archival footage found months later.

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tenia
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Re: Criterion OOP

#102 Post by tenia » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:11 am

If I don't have the physical, I'd love having at least a pdf file instead, that I could chose to read somehow either on my phone, computer or in a printed version. While obviously, having a printed book is very nice as an editorial effort, at some point, I care more about the added content than how it's presented.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#103 Post by swo17 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:35 am

If you want the book as a collector's item that badly, it was officially available for years and can still be had that way on the second-hand market. What would be a real shame is if Criterion stopped producing even first-run editions that were this lavish.

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tenia
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Re: Criterion OOP

#104 Post by tenia » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:06 pm

swo17 wrote:If you want the book as a collector's item that badly, it was officially available for years and can still be had that way on the second-hand market. What would be a real shame is if Criterion stopped producing even first-run editions that were this lavish.
I agree, but I do believe that things that this could be a sale-stopper, with many people being willing to pay premium to get the lavish edition, but not a lot being willing a pay even a lower price for a stripped-down one.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#105 Post by danieltiger » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:24 pm

MichaelB wrote:This is going to happen more and more often as the physical media market contracts.

Quite a few distributors in this area are now producing lavish "first editions" and stripped-down follow-ups (in the BFI's case, DVD-only ones), which seems to be the most rational response to the potentially fatal combo of an inexorably shrinking market and consumers unwilling to pay realistic prices (i.e. which actually reflect production costs instead of what competitors are charging for barebones knock-offs).

And additional physical media such as books is a hefty additional production expense
swo17 wrote:If you want the book as a collector's item that badly, it was officially available for years and can still be had that way on the second-hand market. What would be a real shame is if Criterion stopped producing even first-run editions that were this lavish.
This makes a ton of sense to me, given that I understand and acknowledge the difficult economics these companies are facing. I guess my frustration is that Criterion doesn't seem to even be able to afford an initial lavish edition much of the time anymore, what with the rise of the cheaper feeling leaflets we've all been bothered by. The move to dual format seemed like it fixed a lot of these problems, at least temporarily, and abandoning it seems to have put us in a weird place where corners are being cut for the first time.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Criterion OOP

#106 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:38 pm

Just out of curiosity, is this actually the script for Vampyr? I imagine they changed the formatting, but I'm wondering if they kept the words intact (or rather, use the same exact translation).

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Re: Criterion OOP

#107 Post by Drucker » Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:35 pm

danieltiger wrote:
MichaelB wrote:This is going to happen more and more often as the physical media market contracts.

Quite a few distributors in this area are now producing lavish "first editions" and stripped-down follow-ups (in the BFI's case, DVD-only ones), which seems to be the most rational response to the potentially fatal combo of an inexorably shrinking market and consumers unwilling to pay realistic prices (i.e. which actually reflect production costs instead of what competitors are charging for barebones knock-offs).

And additional physical media such as books is a hefty additional production expense
swo17 wrote:If you want the book as a collector's item that badly, it was officially available for years and can still be had that way on the second-hand market. What would be a real shame is if Criterion stopped producing even first-run editions that were this lavish.
This makes a ton of sense to me, given that I understand and acknowledge the difficult economics these companies are facing. I guess my frustration is that Criterion doesn't seem to even be able to afford an initial lavish edition much of the time anymore, what with the rise of the cheaper feeling leaflets we've all been bothered by. The move to dual format seemed like it fixed a lot of these problems, at least temporarily, and abandoning it seems to have put us in a weird place where corners are being cut for the first time.
Of course, dual-formats were killed by idiotic complaining. So rather than saving money with dual-formats, we get leaflets. Seriously, if you're the kind of person posting on this board, and you're taking your sweet time picking up a limited edition in this day and age, you are being a fool. What tea leafs could you be reading that indicate that quantity-wise we're going to enter a golden age of physical media akin to what majors and independents were releasing in the mid-2000s?

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Re: Criterion OOP

#108 Post by danieltiger » Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:00 pm

Drucker wrote:
danieltiger wrote:
MichaelB wrote:This is going to happen more and more often as the physical media market contracts.

Quite a few distributors in this area are now producing lavish "first editions" and stripped-down follow-ups (in the BFI's case, DVD-only ones), which seems to be the most rational response to the potentially fatal combo of an inexorably shrinking market and consumers unwilling to pay realistic prices (i.e. which actually reflect production costs instead of what competitors are charging for barebones knock-offs).

And additional physical media such as books is a hefty additional production expense
swo17 wrote:If you want the book as a collector's item that badly, it was officially available for years and can still be had that way on the second-hand market. What would be a real shame is if Criterion stopped producing even first-run editions that were this lavish.
This makes a ton of sense to me, given that I understand and acknowledge the difficult economics these companies are facing. I guess my frustration is that Criterion doesn't seem to even be able to afford an initial lavish edition much of the time anymore, what with the rise of the cheaper feeling leaflets we've all been bothered by. The move to dual format seemed like it fixed a lot of these problems, at least temporarily, and abandoning it seems to have put us in a weird place where corners are being cut for the first time.
Of course, dual-formats were killed by idiotic complaining. So rather than saving money with dual-formats, we get leaflets. Seriously, if you're the kind of person posting on this board, and you're taking your sweet time picking up a limited edition in this day and age, you are being a fool. What tea leafs could you be reading that indicate that quantity-wise we're going to enter a golden age of physical media akin to what majors and independents were releasing in the mid-2000s?
Yep, and that fact is so infuriating to me. I hope those people are happy with what they accomplished. I think the best thing we can hope for is that for a few years before this whole thing collapses Criterion will have access to titles they would previously have never been allowed near. I think we might see some really shocking releases come out.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#109 Post by movielocke » Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:01 pm

I actually decided against buying vampyr in the last sale because when I picked it up it was just too big, I'll probably pick it up in july, now. I sold world cinema foundation and picnic at hanging rock because they were too big even though I would have preferred to keep both after watching them.

I doubt they killed dual format because of complaints like mine. Rather df probably negatively impacted sales as DVD only consumers and libraries just stopped buying titles entirely.

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tenia
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Re: Criterion OOP

#110 Post by tenia » Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:06 pm

The death of DF is most likely purely financial. Ask MoC...

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Re: Criterion OOP

#111 Post by MichaelB » Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm

tenia wrote:The death of DF is most likely purely financial. Ask MoC...
Arrow's still sticking with dual-format releases. But I'm not involved with the economics behind that decision: they just tell me upfront whether they're expecting me to deliver just a BD or a BD and DVD.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#112 Post by Drucker » Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:24 pm

Criterion's explanation of why Dual Format was killed.

Last November, when we announced that we would start releasing dual-format editions, we hoped that we had found an alternative that would address our concerns about packaging costs across two formats, while guaranteeing that both DVD and Blu-ray customers would still have access to an identical product. While we did solve that problem, no one seemed particularly happy with the solution. Blu-ray customers didn’t like making room for DVDs they didn’t want, and DVD customers didn’t like paying more to get a Blu-ray they couldn’t play. We soon found that we had to start releasing stand-alone DVD editions alongside the dual-format ones because a fairly large proportion of our audience has not made the leap to Blu-ray yet. And once we had separate DVD editions, what was the point of putting DVDs in with the Blu-rays? A good question.

With that in mind, when we announce our September titles at the beginning of next week, we'll be going back to releasing separate DVD and Blu-ray editions. In most cases, the contents of the releases will be the same in both formats. This may come as welcome news to many of you and perhaps as a disappointment to some, but please know that we’ll keep thinking and listening, experimenting and exploring, so do let us know your thoughts and preferences.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#113 Post by swo17 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:10 pm

tenia wrote:The death of DF is most likely purely financial. Ask MoC...
MoC is releasing plenty of dual formats these days.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#114 Post by DeprongMori » Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:15 pm

Sadly, they seem to have botched it on their previous pricing model before moving to the dual format model. They made the mistake of underpricing their DVDs and overpricing their bare-bones Blus.

They could have eliminated the problem by pricing their DVDs at the same level as the Blus, with the less feature-rich sets at $29.95 across both formats, and the two-disc DVDs at $39.95 across formats. If they had done this a year before the transition to DF, they would have staved off most of the complaints.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#115 Post by danieltiger » Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:26 pm

Drucker wrote:Criterion's explanation of why Dual Format was killed.

Last November, when we announced that we would start releasing dual-format editions, we hoped that we had found an alternative that would address our concerns about packaging costs across two formats, while guaranteeing that both DVD and Blu-ray customers would still have access to an identical product. While we did solve that problem, no one seemed particularly happy with the solution. Blu-ray customers didn’t like making room for DVDs they didn’t want, and DVD customers didn’t like paying more to get a Blu-ray they couldn’t play. We soon found that we had to start releasing stand-alone DVD editions alongside the dual-format ones because a fairly large proportion of our audience has not made the leap to Blu-ray yet. And once we had separate DVD editions, what was the point of putting DVDs in with the Blu-rays? A good question.

With that in mind, when we announce our September titles at the beginning of next week, we'll be going back to releasing separate DVD and Blu-ray editions. In most cases, the contents of the releases will be the same in both formats. This may come as welcome news to many of you and perhaps as a disappointment to some, but please know that we’ll keep thinking and listening, experimenting and exploring, so do let us know your thoughts and preferences.
I certainly have no reason to doubt that Criterion is telling the truth in this statement. But I would guess that the DVD customers not liking paying more was far more influential to this than the Blu-ray customers not wanting the extra DVDs. Which is so unfortunate.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#116 Post by DeprongMori » Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:27 pm

The other thing that worked against them was their introduction of many more deluxe DigiPak releases right off the bat. They were beautifully done, but added to the complexity of the DF introduction. It brought out the DigiPak haters, the shelf-space gripers, and DF skeptics all at once. The fact that they introduced it prior to the three-disc Scanovo case didn't help either. Initial focus on generic packages in Scanovo cases that didn't change the footprint would have made the transition much smoother. (The Zatoichi set was kind of a special case, but I don't recall hearing much complaint about it as it was beautifully executed.)

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Re: Criterion OOP

#117 Post by Jakamarak » Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:36 pm

There are a lot of opinions on Criterion pricing and how to establish the value of one product relative to another. Recently, when I pulled out my DVD for my first Criterion purchase THE LADY EVE, I was amazed to discover a foldout with a 2002 Criterion DVD catalog. There were prices listed next to titles. The standard price 13 years ago was $39.95!

The fact that Criterion hasn't raised the MSRP of their standard releases in all this time should be a consideration in any discussion of Criterion pricing.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#118 Post by Minkin » Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:50 pm

MichaelB wrote:In all seriousness, if anyone has any alternative ideas for how to get around the pretty intractable economics of the current situation, I'm all ears, and will gladly pass them onto people who are in a position to something about it.
Get Pirate Bay closed down for good? :P In seriousness, I'm surprised more countries haven't adopted the German model in regards to piracy. Most of youtube doesn't work due to even minor copyright claims about possible infringing music, etc. That and they always seem to catch people for torrenting - and it is the government not the studios that dole out the punishment. A friend of a friend was visiting Germany and ended up with a $500 fine after they decided to torrent some movie. I think all of this would be horrible and would be a terrible result for freedom of speech, etc (especially since some of the greatest works have been produced from either public domain, fair use, or shaky legal ground), but I'm surprised that studios haven't pushed for this German model more and more, in order to protect their products (though I guess the whole SOPA debacle proves that people won't let down from their rights, but perhaps the British public might be more susceptible?). Other forums (cough, ICM, cough) seem to have completely given up physical copies, and relish in posting links to sketchy Russian sites, or reference to their Bible: KG - even for films readily available on disc. This is depressing as they seem to be the market perfectly suited to BFI/Criterion/MoC/etc - but they have instead decided to just go with piracy.

It is sad and concerning that Vampyr + Two Lane Blacktop + Sansho (DVD) have lost their giant books. Also the DVD of M has a slimmer booklet apparently. This seems to be the closest Criterion has come to a limited edition (aside from one-offs like the Kurosawa + Janus sets, so at least when it concerns the main-line). It seems to put the entirety of the large books in jeopardy (so if you could help contribute to this list, it would be very helpful). It is more annoying, since the Dual Formats brought what appeared to be a great new era to Criterion - the potential to license films that they could only get Bluray rights to, the return of large books after like a ten year hiatus, and plenty of digipacks and interesting packages. Criterion already indicated that the old system wasn't in their best financial interests, so DualFormat was created to fix that. Now that they've gone back to the separate formats, they have to find ways to reduce costs and make a profit. A fix might be to put the missing booklet content on their website (which they already have been doing - see Double Life of Veronique), or include a downloadable PDF on their site (and keep the leaflets). Hell, I'm surprised Criterion hasn't worked out a digital copy program yet - where your Blu purchase also includes a streamable copy on Hulu or download elsewhere - at least for the Janus films).

I guess I can see why the Dual Format thing didn't work - as most people aren't buying home video anymore, but when they do, the majority are still buying DVD rather than Blu. So its all trying to cater to a market that can't really make up its mind. I suspect that prices will need to go up at some point, much to everyone's complaints and boycotts I'm sure. Arrow have already done this in the US - but while simultaneously keeping the UK prices lower (thus the region-free can certainly pick up the Arrow USA titles far cheaper from the UK, as their MSRPs are about $5-$10 lower in the UK, even when you factor in the fickle exchange rates). I might expect Arrow to raise prices sometime in the future to be more in line with their USA pricing.

All said, I do wonder what people want from a "lavish package." Does that mean a giant book/let? Digipack? Godzilla pop-ups? I suppose Criterion has been mostly focusing on the reductions of booklets to leaflets as their primary cost cutting measure. We've discussed this endlessly already though, and to be fair - Criterion has never been that big on their booklets. Even during the DF hey-days, there were still plenty of leaflet releases. The economics just don't make sense - as I'm sure printing costs have gone up significantly in the past decade, and certainly the USPS prices get worse & worse every year. If you have one specific part of a package that eats up huge amounts of costs - weight, printing, two different sized packaging booklets, etc - it should be the first thing to go, rather than skimp on bonus content, artwork, etc. Booklets have always been more of a UK thing (as most US companies do not include any booklet whatsoever) - and one can look at the far cheaper mail prices in the UK vs the US as a likely culprit. I'm sure Arrow will soon realize the pain of US shipping prices (especially with included booklets eating into the costs -as booklets are the heaviest part of a package - and the only part that can be removed altogether). I'm sure the Vampyr book was costing Criterion several dollars just in shipping costs per unit - which might have made more sense back when things were flying off the shelf and USPS costs were half what they are now (a decade ago) - but now, its a product of economics.

On the positive side of all of this: at least Criterion is managing to keep things in print, which is more than can be said of some companies. So the grandiose packaging of Vampyr is now a collectors item (much like Shortcuts), but you can still buy everything else without paying out big bucks to the scalpers.

I think DeprongMori has the correct idea as to saving the Dualformats. I remember people complaining when the DVD prices dropped - along the lines of "WTF, why are we being charged $10 more for the Blu editions?" This might also explain the death of the $30 bluray titles - as we are now getting similar titles with around 30mins of bonus content at the $40 price. It is odd to have huge disparities between prices - as you'd think something like 3:10 to Yuma wouldn't be considered in the same price bracket as Lonesome or Picnic at Hanging Rock - but I suppose the costs saved on one package result in more profit in order to create the greater editions elsewhere. I just hope the loss of the $30 titles doesn't result in them ending up on Eclipse instead. If you recall what people were paying for laserdiscs (and in 1980's dollars) - it does seem that the current market is unsustainable at these prices - as we are more assuredly becoming a high-end collectors market, just as laserdisc was. Although, that said haven't video games maintained a $50-$60 MSRP since the 1980s? Are they suffering the same pains as home video?

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Re: Criterion OOP

#119 Post by Arrow » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:10 pm

Are there other ways of playing video games besides buying them? Do they have a game streaming service now?

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#120 Post by jindianajonz » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:12 pm

One thing that helped keep the cost of video games low was the switch from cartridge to disc- discs are much cheaper to produce. That said, I thought that the advent of PS3 and Xbox 360 saw games rise in price from $50 to $60, thought I could be mistaken.

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The Future of Home Video

#121 Post by TMDaines » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:16 am

Real gamers — those akin to film collectors and connoisseurs like us — are mainly on PC anyway, where games are cheaper than ever.

I don't know, but it just seems the digital age has left the film industry behind. It used to be the case that piracy would provide the lesser experience, but now it provides the equivalent, if not a better alternative, to many of your paid choices. You get far better quality rips through the back channels than you do through streaming services and HDTV where content is bitrate starved. Furthermore, unless you are watching on the biggest screens, there's a fair chance you won't be able to appreciate the difference between these and a Blu-Ray.

While the music industry has reacted to changes in consumption with services like Spotify and Rdio, which both provide massive incentive to use these licensed channels over piracy, the nearest equivalent for film is Netflix, which is incomparable. There the choice is extremely limited, you can't listen offline, subtitles are often not provided, there's no extras or choices in audio etc. Going from CDs to streaming for music seems like a step forward, whereas for film it feels like several steps back.

In all seriousness, how can the film industry lament piracy when it asking £59 for the Star Wars films in heavily compressed HD video? It's a fucking farce. Do they honestly believe that people aren't going to suspect that there is a better alternative out there?

I feel sorry for labels like a Arrow and CC who pour their heart into cinema and are being squeezed by costs such as those imposed by Blu-Ray licensing fees and the absurd overvaluing of classic film by rights holders. On the other hand, I don't feel any sympathy whatsoever for major studios who are only interested in maximising profit, which is obtained by reaching for the lowest hanging fruit of squeezing relatively few people for as much cash as possible for popular titles and shaking down others for unjust piracy settlements.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#122 Post by RobertB » Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:17 pm

MichaelB wrote:In all seriousness, if anyone has any alternative ideas for how to get around the pretty intractable economics of the current situation, I'm all ears, and will gladly pass them onto people who are in a position to something about it. But it's highly revealing that the likes of Criterion, the BFI and Arrow have all adopted similar production models at more or less the same time.

(The thing that would make a measurable difference would be a substantial reduction in the cost of producing Blu-rays, but that particular ball is firmly in Sony's court.)
Would it be possible to co-manufacture discs for several markets? And would it help reduce the costs? I bought the Czech blu-ray of The Firemen's Ball from Czechoslovakia, but I suspect a lot of potential customers didn't import it. Could it have been made it with subtitles in English, German, French and so on, and then with discs sent to labels all over the world? Letting the local labels do the covers and any booklets. It would have to be labels that don't mind having region free discs of course, so not someone like Criterion...

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tenia
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#123 Post by tenia » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:04 am

swo17 wrote:
tenia wrote:The death of DF is most likely purely financial. Ask MoC...
MoC is releasing plenty of dual formats these days.
Yeah, my bad, I was thinking about the time they did BD-only releases before switching back to 2 separate releases before doing DF.
Jakamarak wrote:The fact that Criterion hasn't raised the MSRP of their standard releases in all this time should be a consideration in any discussion of Criterion pricing.
Since I'm in France, I import Criterion and to be fair, the only increase in pricing I saw in 5 years is because of the current conversion rate between € and $.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#124 Post by movielocke » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:10 pm

Jakamarak wrote:The standard price 13 years ago was $39.95!

The fact that Criterion hasn't raised the MSRP of their standard releases in all this time should be a consideration in any discussion of Criterion pricing.
Actually 17 years ago. The standard price has been 39.95 since March 31, 1998.

I've mentioned it before, but it passed without comment. It certainly makes them more affordable to me, per the cpi, 39.95 in 98 has the same buying power as $57.53 in 2015.

Of reverse it, and a 39.95 price today is equivalent to a $27.74 price in 1998.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#125 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:45 pm


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