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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

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