Big content, whether it be movies or books (and to some degree music) is playing off of your impatience to make money.
Let’s take the movies as the biggest offenders. “Robotronic 5, attack of the Bastard” is coming out in two weeks. You know this because there have been TV ads and magazine ads and radio, bus stops, you are pretty sure someone painted the release date on the squirrel in your back yard.
Everybody is going to see this movie. EVERYBODY.
So what are your options? Let’s list them:
- In two weeks you go to the movie theatre. You buy your $12 movie ticket, $5 cherry Coke and split the $8 popcorn with the random guy next to you. You get to see the movie once from the very front row all the way to the left while the teenagers next to you talk and sometimes make out with each other. Your neck hurts.
- You wait longer, two to five months and spend $20 for the DVD, $35 for the Blu-Ray or $50 for the DVD/Blu-Ray/Special Collector’s Edition Hat. Now you can watch the movie at home all you want. Naturally you have to have a TV for this part to and a DVD/Blu-Ray/hat rack for this to work.
- You wait a bit longer, and the director’s cut comes out, it has 18 minutes of scenes that were cut out for a reason, a different box cover, three more special features you won’t watch. It comes in the $25 DVD, $40 DVD or the $75 DVD/Blu-Ray/Life Size Standee collector’s edition.
- You are pretty sure it will come out in 3D, first in the movies, then in DVD, but since you don’t have one of those TV’s you don’t care.
- You wait longer and it comes on cable, a premium channel like HBO that you spend $20 a month on. Sure you can’t decide when to watch it (unless you Tivo that Bastard) but you can watch it and lots other movies all month.
- You wait LONGER, like close to, what seems like forever (I mean ads for “Robotronic 6: The Bastard gets a job as a Nanny” are already out) and it will show up on regular cable/TV. Sure it has commercials, but at this point it is (mostly) free.
- Further down the road the DVD is in a bargain bin for $4
See how this goes?
This is not to say that you shouldn’t go to the movies or run out on release day to get a DVD. I am a proponent of all of these things. But you should be aware that your impatience is being exploited.
A great example of this recently was a deal that a major studio made with Netflix. See Neflix rents DVD’s and they were worried that if you could rend a DVD on the day it was released, well you might not go out buy it RIGHT NOW.
To be fair, these are the same studios that think that a movie has to make $200 Million in three days or it is a failure…
But the same thing is happening with books. We have hardcovers, then trade paperbacks, then mass markets. Ebooks are in there too, but again impatience is tied to their prices. Want the ebook when the hardcover is out? You’ll pay $15 for it. Want it when the trade is out? $10. Maybe, just maybe, it will drop to $7 or so when the mass market is out. By then you can get the hardcover for $2 in a used bookstore.
Just think of how many more people would have bought the ebook at $5 when it first came out…
Be patient. Spend your money wisely.