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!

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