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Disposable DVDs? Arrghhh!!! The curse of DIVX lives on!!!

Disposable DVDs? Arrghhh!!! The curse of DIVX lives on!!!

 
Old 05-16-03, 02:39 AM
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Disposable DVDs? Arrghhh!!! The curse of DIVX lives on!!!

from variety.com:

Mouse minting disposable DVDs

'Signs,' 'Recruit,' 'Chick' among titles to roll out new tech

By SCOTT HETTRICK, PAUL SWEETING

Disney is becoming disposable.

In an effort to boost DVD sales and counter the advantages of electronic delivery, Buena Vista Home Entertainment is teaming with a DVD technology company to test disposable discs that are designed to sell in supermarkets, drugstores, convenience stores and other nontraditional retail outlets.

The self-destructing discs, dubbed EZ-D, are playable for 48 hours from the time they're removed from their vacuum-sealed packaging, after which the bright red coloring on the backside turns to black and the disc becomes little more than a reflective coffee table coaster.

Disney will kick off a four-city test in August with eight titles, "Signs," "The Recruit," "The Hot Chick," "25th Hour," "Frida," "Equilibrium," "Heaven" and "Rabbit-Proof Fence."

Disney hopes to sell the discs for a dollar or two above the price of a standard vid rental by appealing to consumers who may want to watch a movie once or twice but hate having to take rentals back or pay late fees.

"Since 1996, the video rental market has basically been flat," Disney homevid prexy Bob Chapek said. "The main reasons people stop renting is the perceived inconvenience of returning and late fees. The most important finding in our research is that this product appeals to the lapsed renter. It addresses their issues."

Blockbuster collects hundreds of millions of dollars in late fees each year, a number that has sparked several customer lawsuits and an effort by Blockbuster to reduce that sum through the introduction of monthly passes and other extended-viewing programs.

The discs use technology from 4-year-old privately held New York-based Flexplay Technologies and partner GE Plastics, a 50-year-old multibillion-dollar company that produces the plastic used in many standard DVDs.

New titles will be added to the mix every four weeks, according to Chapek. More cities will be added depending on how well the idea tests in the first four. "If it takes a year to reach national rollout I'm perfectly happy with that," he said.

The EZ-D technology, developed by Flexplay, has been kicking around studio lots for the past year, but to date, the only other studio to test the discs is MGM, which released a 20-minute promotional disc last year tied to "Die Another Day."

Move is bound to be controversial. Aside from threatening the current rental business, dominated by Blockbuster, Disney's strategy could undercut sales of full-priced DVDs.

To counter that threat, the studio plans to delay the EZ-D release until a few weeks after a movie's initial homevid bow.

"We'll test various scenarios, but there will definitely be a (full-priced) sell-through window before the limited-play window," Chapek said. "We can't have even a modest amount of sell-through cannibalization."

Bare bones

Disney's EZ-Ds will be plain vanilla offerings, leaving out the extra features and bonus material included on many full-priced DVDs, although the discs can technically accommodate anything on a standard DVD.

Some major theatrical hits -- including the Disney animated classics -- may never be offered in the format, Chapek added.

EZ-D's potential impact on the rental market could raise hackles among rental shops, including Blockbuster, where relations with Disney are already strained. Earlier this year, the studio sued Blockbuster over disputed accounting in their now-expired revenue-sharing deal.

The studio was to discuss the new technology with Blockbuster on Thursday after similar conversations with retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy earlier this week.

Although the studio believes the discs could work in Wal-Mart, its ideal scenario is to penetrate nontraditional but high-traffic retailers like supermarkets and convenience stores, Chapek said.

Disney is targeting checkout aisles and other locations that draw a high percentage of impulse purchases. Impulse purchases rep about 40%-50% of all Disney movies bought on homevideo, a figure Chapek thinks could be much higher.

Disney's deal with Flexplay and GE is not exclusive, and Flexplay CEO Alan Blaustein said his company is talking with all other studios and suppliers who could initiate a launch of product on the new discs. Blaustein is also in talks with videogame and computer companies about applications for the technology that he believes could be even bigger than DVD movies if used for limited-play promotional samples.
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Old 05-16-03, 03:10 AM
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This isn't going to work. Its been shown before with DIVX. Just a flash in the pan. But none the less, it's something to be aware of.
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Old 05-16-03, 04:11 AM
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Man these people have really short memories. There is no difference between this and DIVX except that with DIVX you could activate the title permanently.

SPY
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Old 05-16-03, 04:38 AM
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These disposable discs won't be replacing the standard DVDs. As the article says:

"We'll test various scenarios, but there will definitely be a (full-priced) sell-through window before the limited-play window," Chapek said. "We can't have even a modest amount of sell-through cannibalization."
So we'll still be able to buy the DVDs we've come to love. What does it matter if they also happen to make disposable discs?

DJ
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Old 05-16-03, 08:45 AM
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environmentalists will eat this one alive.
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Old 05-16-03, 09:55 AM
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A dollar or two more than rentals? I don't go to Blockbuster or Hollywood anymore, but aren't they $4? I really don't think people are going to buy into this for $5 or $6 for 2 days. Doesn't Hollywood rent new releases for 5 days? These things would have to work for a week, then maybe people would buy them.

I'll stick with Netflix, thank you Disney Wasn't Disney a big Divx backer too?
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Old 05-16-03, 10:04 AM
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Originally posted by matome
environmentalists will eat this one alive.
I hope they do. What a disgusting waste of resources in the name of greed and laziness. Geez. I hope this falls on it's face. Or other appropriate anatomical part.

--Maureen
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Old 05-16-03, 10:35 AM
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I wonder, what would happen if you make "back ups" of them....
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Old 05-16-03, 10:40 AM
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Re: Disposable DVDs? Arrghhh!!! The curse of DIVX lives on!!!

Originally posted by Perkinsun Dzees
...Disney hopes to sell the discs for a dollar or two above the price of a standard vid rental by appealing to consumers who may want to watch a movie once or twice but hate having to take rentals back or pay late fees...

...The main reasons people stop renting is the perceived inconvenience of returning and late fees...
OK, they're trying to appeal to people who hate paying more money for their rentals (due to late fees), but yet their going to price these things a dollar or two above the cost of a regular rental. I haven't been to BBV in ages, but I think it's around $4-$5 for a rental there, right? How do they expect people to pay $6 or $7 for a disc that's useless after 48 hours, when you can buy the regular DVD for a few bucks more (either by buying used, or by using Columbia House, or whatever).

I think the convenience and late fee problems have already been solved by online renters such as netflix, greencine, filmcaddy, etc. The only reason that I think people would ever consider using something like this, is if it was really, really cheap (like $1 or $2 each). Also people with DVD burners might like it, so they can copy the movies and watch them indefinately, but even then, why wouldn't they just rent from BBV or netflix since it would be cheaper.

Last edited by spyzdope; 05-16-03 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 05-16-03, 10:50 AM
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Nice! A movie and then a coaster for the same price. Can't wait!
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Old 05-16-03, 10:56 AM
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DIVX failed for the most part, because you had to connect your player to a telephone line. That really bothers a lot of people, and even wtih Direct TV, it is a pain in the but.
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Old 05-16-03, 12:56 PM
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Divx also failed because it required you to purchase a special player, and to maintain an active account with them. People (rightly) feared that, if the company went belly-up, their investment would be wasted, which is exactly what ended up happening.

With EZ-D (what a STUPID name! ), those concerns have been addressed, but a whole new set of problems crop up:
  • Built-in late fees - they admit that the cost of these discs will be higher than conventional rentals.
  • Inventory management problems - with conventional rentals, if a title is rented out the first time you want to rent it, you can usually try again (and don't some places even let you reserve a copy?). What happens when stores run out of these discs? How long will you have to wait before they restock?
  • Environmental concerns - if this concept becomes popular, landfills will be overrun with throw-away discs, or some mechanism for recycling them will need to be established, increasing their overhead, and raising costs (or, possibly, requiring a "deposit", as most states do with bottles and cans).
  • Piracy - how long will it be before someone discovers a way to circumvent the coating used on these discs, making it possible to view a movie long beyond its intended expiration?
  • Customer complaints - with conventional rentals, if you go beyond your rental period, you are charged a late fee, but you are still able to finish watching the movie. With EZ-D, once the "rental period" expires, so does the disc. If you didn't have a chance to finish it, YOU WOULD HAVE TO "RENT" IT ALL OVER AGAIN.

I just don't see how this format can ever succeed.

Last edited by RoboDad; 05-16-03 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 05-16-03, 01:08 PM
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This will not be a success. There are just too many reasons for it to fail. RoboDad, you make some very good points.
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Old 05-16-03, 01:14 PM
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Is this not the third attempt in the past year to put out a DIVX type of disc?

What happened to all those previous attempts?
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Old 05-16-03, 01:23 PM
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Originally posted by RoboDad
  • Environmental concerns - if this concept becomes popular, landfills will be overrun with throw-away discs, or some mechanism for recycling them will need to be established, increasing their overhead, and raising costs (or, possibly, requiring a "deposit", as most states do with bottles and cans).

I just don't see how this format can ever succeed. [/B]
Uh huh, sure, with the billions and billions of AOL discs that are thrown out daily. Give me a break.
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Old 05-16-03, 01:30 PM
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[Sandler] Who are the ad wizards that came up with this one? [/Sandler]
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Old 05-16-03, 01:52 PM
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I see this as the ultimate disrespect for the the craftpersons who labor to make quality, entertaining, and lasting memories on film.

All that creativity is to be used, then treated as so much garbage like used kleenex?

Obviously any studio that would embrace this doesn't even care about their own films being treated as trash. That's a very bad psychological message to send to the consumer and all the fine artisans who create films.

This is a poorly disguised rape of the entire film industry!
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Old 05-16-03, 02:03 PM
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Originally posted by Erik68
Uh huh, sure, with the billions and billions of AOL discs that are thrown out daily. Give me a break.
I am well aware of the number of AOL discs discarded every day (and it is nowhere near the "billions"). I am also aware that this product has the potential to make the AOL disc numbers literally pale by comparison. And, even if that weren't a possibility, would the fact that there might be more AOL discs than EZ-D discs in landfills justify EZ-D?
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Old 05-16-03, 02:12 PM
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"Since 1996, the video rental market has basically been flat," Disney homevid prexy Bob Chapek said. "The main reasons people stop renting is the perceived inconvenience of returning and late fees. The most important finding in our research is that this product appeals to the lapsed renter. It addresses their issues."
But they are incorporating the late fees into the price of the throw aways??

What a stupid idea.
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Old 05-16-03, 02:40 PM
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Jeeze. The wastefulness of the idea absolutely repulses me. The LAST thing we need is yet another throw-away item to become popular.

On a side note, I don't understand the hostility toward Blockbuster's late fees... Sure, you get dinged if you're late, but there's an easy solution... return it on time! And if you don't like the 1-day turnaround on new releases, wait till it's available as a standard rental. But no, instead of accepting responsibility for something as simple as returning a movie on time, we get lawsuits instead. Personally, I thoroughly approve of high late fees - if BB were to cut back on late fees, I have no doubt that the rental fee will go up to compensate, so effectively, those who return movies on time get to subsidize the rentals of those who are chronically late. Whoo hoo.

With regular rentals (not new releases) you typically have 5 or 7 days to return the movie. What kind of disorganized person can't manage to watch it and return it in that time? (Wait, I probably don't want to know...)

Returning to the original topic... I bet that the EZ-D thing won't even fly among the target audience of deadbeat renters. I don't see that much of a need to watch a movie more than once in 48 hours, so all the EZ-D offers is a higher price for a single viewing. And I can see all sorts of trouble, too: Dad thinks the family is ready to watch a movie, so he pulls it out of the sealed case, but then Mom points out that they're supposed to be at Bobby's Little League game, so they leave it, and by the time Mom & Dad find some peace and quiet to watch their movie, a couple of days have passed and it's a dud.
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Old 05-16-03, 02:54 PM
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I have a feeling that this will end up costing disney a lot of money. And I sure as hell hope that they lose money out their ass from this venture. I would be scared that this Idea might take off, but the the way they have it priced and the amount of time the dvd is playable make this very unapealling to most people IMO.

Plus you got to belive that their will be a higher amount of returned "damaged" dvds from the stores seeing as how the slightest nick on the package could be potentially fatal to the disc.
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Old 05-16-03, 03:23 PM
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Fortunately, DVD cases are entirely air-tight. There is no way you could possibly buy one of these EZ-D's and find that the chemical process has already occurred and your disc is useless.
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Old 05-16-03, 03:41 PM
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Of course these versions will all be pan and scan only......
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Old 05-16-03, 03:51 PM
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Originally posted by Erik68
Uh huh, sure, with the billions and billions of AOL discs that are thrown out daily. Give me a break.
No More AOL CD's!!
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Old 05-16-03, 03:54 PM
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This idea still cracks me up... it's designed for the exact audience that'll probably be the most confused by it. Wal-Mart has bins all over the store filled with $5.88 dvds. So when they see the latest video release is now out, with a label that says "playable in all DVD players!", why that's a great deal! A month later... "why won't it play no more???" I guarantee loads of people will not have read the OTHER label warning them of the 48 hour window.
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