Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

Idiots confound me

I read this article re: Warner Bros. bemoaning the $0.99 rental price Apple wants to charge customers per episode. Perhaps I’m dense, but at 24 episodes per season that works out to approximately $24 to simply rent it. Not own it. Rent it! For a few extra bucks you can actually buy it on DVD.

If anything, $0.99 is too expensive. It should be $0.25 or something similar. The only way $0.99 would make sense is if you could watch it forever on an on-demand type of system. But to only be able to rent it for 24 hours at $0.99 is stupid. And, yeah, I know you can keep on disk for 30 days before you watch it, but once you decide to watch it you have 24 hours within which to watch the episode. Ugh.

It’s one reason I will continue to not rent from these types of services and instead just by my DVDs from Chapters or Amazon. Often times if I wait a year I can get the whole season for $25 – 30, which is effectively the cost of renting the episodes.

The goal of the media firms should be to push convenience. The only reason a small proportion of people “pirate” their stuff is because they make it such a pain to get. As I’ve commented on before, I’d much rather just pay a reasonable amount a month to get unlimited access to all the music, TV shows, and movies I might be interested in. One needs to remember you can only watch so much TV, listen to so much music, or watch so many movies in a month. Excluding those that tend to hoard for the joy of hoarding, the vast majority of us would prefer to simply be able to get a flick when we want or listen to a great play list knowing that the artists are being compensated. If one realizes that most people out there are sleeping 1/3 of the day working or going to school 1/3 of the day you quickly realize that you’re not going to be watching movies, TV, or whatever for the remaining 8 hours a day. I do know some studies claim people watch 4 hours of TV per day. So let’s go with that.

At 4 hours per day and at $0.99 per show, assuming 1/2 hour shows, you’d be looking at $8/day or $240/month. I doubt anyone’s monthly cable bill is that high, though maybe some fanatical HD types are that into TV. But the average is probably about $60 – 75/month. Thus, doing a bit of reverse calculation you’d get $0.31 per episode, or about a third of what Apple is charging. Of course, regular TV has commercials, and I’m sure we’d all be happy to pay $0.50/episode commercial free and $0.30/episode with commercials. And that would be for permanent access, not rental.

And if someone from Warner Bros. thinks I’m crazy figuring $0.99 is too expensive, I use this as an example: Gossip Girls Season 1 on DVD. Price? $24. And you own it. Watch each episode 10 times and it works out to be $0.10/episode. But if you have to rent it from Apple you’re looking at being dinged $0.99 each time for “convenience”. At that price, it’s more convenient to order the DVD from Amazon, even if you have to deal with storing the stupid disks.

It all comes back to this: How is $0.99 too cheap? If anything it’s an utter rip off, especially as a rental.

As I said, idiots confound me. And until they get a bit smarter I’ll be doing my show purchases through Amazon with delivery courtesy of Canada Post.

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September 2010
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