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December 29th, 2004

Media Subscriptions

I was thinking the other day about how there are certain items in my media collections that I have multiple copies of. There’s music that I have copies of on vinyl, cassette, and CD (sometimes multiple if it’s been re-released) and there are movies that I have on VHS and DVD.

From a consumer’s perspective, it would be great to be able to “subscribe” to certain favorite albums or movies. Once you subscribe, then you’d get future releases of the album or movie on whatever the next newest and greatest media (or file format) is either free of charge or at a heavily discounted rate (at cost?). It might cost a little more up front (ie. buy the DVD for $20 or buy a lifetime subscription to the movie for $35), but in the long run it would pay off and should we ever find ourselves in another Beta-VHS media war, you’d be entitled to both versions.

Unfortunately, this will never happen. Distribution companies know that collectors will keep on buying the same thing over and over just to be able to say they’re completists (Anchor Bay became famous for this pratice with their multiple versions of Halloween and the Evil Dead series in a short time span). Plus, distribution rights change with time so buying a subscription with Company A for a movie wouldn’t provide any advantage for Company E 30 years down the road who have to provide the movie at cost or for free.

Are there any ways around this problem that might let this idea work?

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Wednesday December 29, 2004 -- 10:02:34 am

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday December 29, 2004 -- 10:34:36 am
Are you now working on replying "No." to every new Ping?

If so, I like it!

FROM: Chris
DATE: Wednesday December 29, 2004 -- 10:43:25 am
You are essentially asking for a lifetime license to the content in whatever form it my exist in the future. You've got better odds of buying my vridge in Brooklyn.

What is more likely is that the major media companies will start locking content - forcing you to pay an annual subscription to keep it usable.

Good thing Bit Torrent exists...

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday December 29, 2004 -- 1:32:29 pm

Let me explain. One common complaint that comes up, either directly or indirectly, about some posts is that they go way off topic or the posts are just too long. I myself have been guilty of this on occassion--maybe even right now. Some ping topics allow for more of this than others because they generally end with an observation which pingers respond to. Other pings end with a direct question, and often a simple yes or no answer will do. Most pingers will only answer and comment with the "Yes" implied in the answer. If the answer is no, familiar pingers simply remain noticeably silent. It seems they must think that if they can't add an anecdote or other information, then they can't offer any valuable information.

But the answer "no" also provides valuable information. I always answer honestly. If you present an open-ended question, to which my answer is no, I post my answer as "no."

By my count, I think I've only done it three times so far (and you've picked up the pattern in the minimum amount of steps required to observe a pattern, if there was one, which is excellent).

Chris's answer is also, essentially, "No."

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday December 29, 2004 -- 3:28:56 pm
I disagree with "No", but I do not think it will ever happen.

The recording/movie industry (at least the top-of-the-foodchain distributors) really, really want a pay-per-view sort of system. Why would they ever grant you a lifetime subscription? That's even worse than what they currently have.

Right now they can sell you Star Wars on VHS, then on laserdisc, then remastered ones on DVD, then platinum ultra-enhanced-with-new-scenes sets on DVD. In ten years they will have yet another version.

And people will buy them.

Have you ever heard of a recording company saying "hey, if you bought this on cassette tape, we'll give you a $2 rebate on a CD purchase of the same item"? Nope.

DATE: Wednesday December 29, 2004 -- 10:35:05 pm
Dude joseph, do you ever answer with a real answer, like elaborate or something? Well i think this sint really needed cause if you have it on tape why would you need it on dvd when u can just watch it? But if you like dvds more or your vcr broke or something i mean why dont you just spend another 20 dollars? i dont think it is really needed

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday December 30, 2004 -- 9:42:31 am

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday December 30, 2004 -- 9:43:25 am
I meant:



FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday December 30, 2004 -- 1:16:19 pm
(Incidentally, the "Ryan" above is not me. Is that you, Joseph? I wasn't busting on you. Really.)

With regards to "will this ever happen?", "no" is surely the right answer. Unfortuantely, what consumers want isn't anywhere near as important as what the distributor wants. And usually, there's a good compromise in there somewhere, but it never seems to come to fruition.

Like Chris said: thank God for Bittorrent/P2P (though I use it much less frequently that you might think).

What is this then?

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