Monday, September 28, 2009

One line reviews

One post to cover the backlog :)

15 minutes: Nothing special - despite Robert De Niro's presence
Boiler Room: Intense and very well made. Ribisi's performance is good!
Highwaymen: Well made, but doesn't connect enough with the viewer.
Final Destination: So death is the enemy! Surprisingly well made - can be seen from the creation of its sequels.
Thimiru / திமிரு: Ahem, too masalaish!
Kireedam / கிரீடம்: Not sure why it flopped. Quite good, and kudos to Rajkiran (may be I should write a separate post on him)
Kismet Konnection: Though the ending was predictable, it was good because it made a Konnection!
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Melodramatic trend of that period shows. A tad long. Excused for Kajol :)
What just happened: Same question here!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Marketing in movies and music

I've long been an avid music and movie fan. I think it was college time when I started spending, and I haven't had a count of how much I've spent on them. In my head, I always decided that there was no "no" when it came to spending for books or music (not movies).

Over the course, I've been observing how marketers have been adapting to changing consumer patterns from their pricing, packaging and advertising.

- In the late nineties, an audio CD cost about 400 Rs on average. It's now 99 Rs on average (Tamil movies). The change was because of massive MP3 (pirated) infiltration. It made me realize that all cost was padded until then. Filthy profits!

- English movies were always unaffordable. They still are. One movie costs about 499 Rs or 599 Rs, though specific titles differ.

- Recently, I've seen movie titles in English for 99 Rs. An Indian company called Eagle DVD markets them. They're older movies, but I've gotten quite a few good ones (Crash, Boiler room etc)

- Region coding is crappy. It's another crooked move to make more money out of the same movies.

- Blu Ray's are filthy expensive. Imagine paying Rs 1799 for one movie! Again, region coding is crazy. Stop playing such tricks!

- My take is that piracy is rampant only because content is kept so unaffordable. I recently saw a tamil movie (kanden kathalai), that was priced Rs 27 (audio cd). If you can price it that way and still make a decent margin, why are you pricing it at Rs 99? Personally, I don't buy these 99Rs audio cd's unless the music is exceptional. After 2-3 months, they release a combination pack with 2-3 movies for the same rate and I buy them.

- Now, some music companies are sensibly placing about 50 songs in a cd and selling them in mp3 format. I've seen some good value in these offerings and got a few of them as well. They're priced reasonably as well (50 Rs to 99 Rs)

- Another technique is to bundle 2-3 mediocre titles with a good one in combination packs in music. Review and ignore!

- I never buy DVD's made by Ayngaran. They originally priced them at Rs 425, and seeing competition selling DVD's at Rs 65, Rs 99, Rs 125 etc, are now pricing it at Rs 250. It's still a crazy price to pay for one movie. I did buy one or two movies for their quality. I must say their mastering technology is excellent and picture clarity is great. Still no excuse!

- The moser bear dvd's are pretty good. They range from 50 Rs to 99 Rs depending on the movie. I bought a lot of them. But on the flip side, you have to watch 5 mins of advertising crud before you get to the dvd menu. Some smart folks that they could also disable any remote control operations. You do all this and wonder why people pirate? I normally switch on the dvd and switch on the tv after 5 mins after all the nonsense has passed. (Same case with Ayngaran. Should I pay Rs 425 and watch how they plan to expand their business?)

Overall, good quality movies and music with honest/decent pricing are hard to come by. They're still gaming the situation based on purchasing trends. Sad situation!

I would say, do this to keep people away from piracy (the majority - I don't think you can make piracy zero!)

- Price an audio cd at Rs 50
- Price a tamil dvd at Rs 99
- Price an english dvd at Rs 150
- Price a blu ray at Rs 250
- Don't region code it - open it for all regions
- Don't advertise on the top of the movie. If you have to, allow the user to get to the menu
- Don't club multiple movies on a single DVD. If you have to, explore dual sided dual layer dvd's and put one movie on each side
- Don't strip out multi channel audio into mono or 2.1 to get more space out of the dvd. Leave them in in all their glory!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Paypal Survey

Got this email from Paypal.

So, I went to their link and took the survey. After the survey was over...

Hmmmph. Why ask for a survey then?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

When you no longer care...

As a corporation, when you no longer care about your customers, they will eventually move away. It is only a matter of time. As needs facilitate, people may hang on. It is only a matter of time. The history of the corporate world is replete with examples of either tainted integrity or careless handling of the people who make your business, eventually going down.

Right before my eyes, I see so many companies here of that kind. I can't help but think - "it is only a matter of time"!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

From the skies

Imagine a thrill ride like this: You take off from the ground to a height of say five, six or seven thousand feet and get a planscape view of the city. You hover around the city like this for say 5-6 minutes and then come back to the ground. How much do you think such a ride would be priced? I would bet it would be at least 1000 Rs. If in the US, I am guessing it would be about 75-80 USD at least.

Such a ride is built into the price of an aircraft ride from one city to another; or you can say it comes free with the travel. The view from the window of the outside world is priceless! Very recently, as the aircraft took off at night, multicolored lights orchestrated the city canvas. Areas that were without light were dark. It looked exactly like an abyss filled with water. In other words, it appeared as if Chennai was in the midst of an vast ocean. I remember another instance where the aircraft couldn't land due to congestion or coordination issues. This was early morning and it took a round over marina beach. It was spectacular, more so because it was lower than normal altitude. If only they had opened the windows for the sea breeze!

Finally, the icing on the cake was when the flight took off from Los Angeles. One image that is frozen on my mind was where you see ocean meets land meets mountain. This tritopograpy meet was the best cap to an intense trip. You can never plan for such an event! I am imagining how this would have been if I had dozed off!

Anything else as bonus? During take off and landing, you reach a point where the vertical velocity force and the gravitational pull cancel each other out and you experience a weightless moment. It grinds the stomach. I realized that this is how fear feels, but this reaction was very bodily. How closely the mind and body are tied together!

Flights are a strange form of transportation. High greenhouse emissions clubbed with incredibly crashed travel time and a unique view not provided by other forms of transportation. You can say they are necessary evil.

So next time the check in employee asks "Window or aisle", say window! If you're not asked, ask for a window seat :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sadhguru on DD News

Sadhguru was interviewed on DD News yesterday about Isha, his life and other topics in general.
Interview was only 30 minutes. It sort of appears that Sadhguru is becoming a "known face" in India. The interview itself was something many people have asked him over and over again now. Topics covered his childhood, "that day" on Chamundi hills, existence of God, his visits to Davos and a few others. The amazing thing was how he answered these questions as if he were answering them for the first time.

* - Program telecast @ 10:30 PM IST on 31st Aug 2009
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