Monday Morning Quarterback Part Four

By BOP Staff

February 1, 2006

My Madden rating must be soaring!

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Unlike John Fithian, we're still focused on Bubble's positives.

Tim Briody: The price point on Bubble is $20.99 at Amazon. Unless it's a film I know I'm going to love and have to own, I'd rather spend $9 and check it out at the theater, which doesn't cost me that much more as I usually avoid concessions and the drive to the multiplex isn't that far. But if it's an arthouse release, I'm still SOL.

Kim Hollis: I'll buy it, Tim, and then if I don't really care to keep it, I'll just sell it on

Joel Corcoran: All I have is a 19" tube TV and a DVD player. And I'm getting to the point where investing in a larger, LCD or DLP television and a good surround-sound system is the way to go.

Kim Hollis: Yeah, the "home theater experience" requires decent TVs for video games as much as it does for anything else these days.

Tim Briody: Seeing a fairly new release available on the secondary market screams "this movie sucked" to me. But it would be interesting to track how these movies are doing in the used market.

David Mumpower: Tim, the difference in the $20.99 vs. $9 is that if you do like the film, you already own it. Currently, you spend $9 in hopes that it's good enough to justify a $20.99 purchase down the line.

Tim Briody: Which ties into the idea of buying it on the way out for a deeply discounted price. That idea I do like. Bottom line, I want to see a movie with genuine commercial prospects have this type of release platform. Soderbergh does have the Ocean's films, but beyond that, he's not typically commercial.

David Mumpower: This segues us into part two of the discussion...

See? Amazon gets it. Mark Cuban gets it. It's easy if you try.

Kim Hollis: Amazon has announced their intention to enter the digital download market in April. Their idea is to enjoin the process of downloading movies with DVD sales. Details are still sketchy, but the intent appears to be a video on demand service for movies that would credit the user the appropriate amount if they decide they want to then buy it on DVD. What do you think?

Joel Corcoran: On hearing this news, my first thought was "What took them so long?"

Kim Hollis: Regal.

Tim Briody: Example: Buy the movie for $20. Or stream it/download it for $5 and if you like it, have it sent to you for $15. Not a bad idea at all.

David Mumpower: Having known of this project prior to Tim's comments earlier, I found myself thinking it was perfect for his needs. You sample the movie for the $9 he referenced and if you dig it, you pay the $11 more to own it. This is the same business model in place for all of those Rent to Own stores with the difference being that films (presumably) won't be jacked up in price to discourage the full purchase.

Joel Corcoran: I think it's a case of the rest of the entertainment industry catching up with the music industry. iTunes has been around for years now, and it's essentially the same model - download the digital file on the same day that the physical product becomes available at brick-and-mortar store.

Tim Briody: I'm all for this idea. As opposed to the previous topic.

David Mumpower: See, Tim, I see them as aspects of the same developing model. Bubble is a day and date title that would love to have this sort of release available to them.

Just when you thought Blockbuster's stock couldn't fall any further.

Reagen Sulewski: This is the kind of thing that could sound the final death knell for Blockbuster. That said, there's still a bit of a tech hurdle here; my computer monitor isn't really my idealized movie viewing location.

Joel Corcoran: The only hurdle might be getting the public masses to adopt the technologies necessary to stream high-bandwidth movies.

David Mumpower: This is the way that the latest iteration of iPod with video enabled revolutionizes the marketplace. They were not the first portable player capable of video but as the ubiquitous one with a functional monopoly, they are the primary component of movie download reinforcement.

Kids born in 2006 won't remember a time that didn't have media centers. Don't you feel old?

Joel Corcoran: Reagen, you illustrate the trend we're seeing of "media center" computers. Ideally, you wouldn't watch the movie on your computer monitor, you'd stream it onto your television directly. Rather than seperate, stand-alone boxes, we're trending toward integrated computer/television/stereo/radio systems.

David Mumpower: Similarly, the standalone, WIFI enabled monitors that are beginning to pop up are the same way. A person's media center hard drive(s) stores their media catalogue. They are able to view it anywhere they want. You download the movie off of Amazon and how the flexibility to view it when and where you want. Movie showtimes are a thing of the past.

Reagen Sulewski: Everyone over the age of 50 reading that just screamed as their head exploded.


Kim Hollis: That's not so true as you might believe, Reagen. My dad is almost 60 and pretty technologically savvy. I mean, he has a TiVo and everything. (Though he does work in systems and has for over 35 years.)

Joel Corcoran: Except for us Luddites who insist on seeing a film on the big screen.

Tim Briody: Meh, my other primary beef with the day and date thing tied into to the streaming/downloadable preview is that that's more people who won't have to go to the theater. We're becoming a nation of shut-ins.

Joel Corcoran: I was shocked that my parents bought a DVD player (but don't tell them I said that).

Reagen Sulewski: Just to be clear, I'm not arguing against this tech. I just think we're way on the leading front of it here and you're asking a lot of people who are only now finally figuring out their home stereos.

Tim Briody: "I'm trying to play the movie and the garage door keeps opening and closing!"

David Mumpower: I think that the broader perspective for this entire conversation is that right now, the only thing movie exhibitors have to hang their hats on is consumers with a lifetime of behavior in consuming a product a certain way. With that eroding, they know they're going to have to come up with new ways to reinforce old consumer behavior.

On fine dining and the convenience of home cooking

Joel Corcoran: I don't think they need to offer new ways to reinforce old consumer behavior. If anything, theaters need to return to the old ways of doing things, when "going to the movies" truly was a unique experience. I equate it to dining out - why go to a restaurant when you could just cook at home?

David Mumpower: Joel, which one do most people do more, cook at home or go out to eat? And do restaurants have strict time schedules for when they will cook your meal like theaters do?

Kim Hollis: I think that the lesson we have learned from all of this is that my dad can beat up Joel's dad.

David Mumpower: Reagen, I get that but it's like the speculation I had a couple of years ago that DVD was becoming such a driving force in the financial marketplace that we would eventually see a show resurrected due to DVD sales alone. I thought I was forecasting something five years down the road. It took 18 months for Family Guy to come back from the Fox graveyard. The beauty of the binary revolution is its immediacy. Iterations are much shorter.

Joel Corcoran: I think most people cook at home most of the time and reserve going out to eat for something unique that you can't get at home.

David Mumpower: Not coincidentally, this is exactly what Kim has said about her movie-going behavior. Few films justify a trip to the theater.

Joel Corcoran: I agree with Kim in that aspect - these days, I'd rather watch the dreck Hollywood is pumping out at home. I can watch Stealth anywhere. I don't think theater time schedules are that much of a factor, though. Anytime I want to go see a movie, I can usually find one I want to see at a time I want to see it. But I'm more than willing to pay a premium to see Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Brokeback Mountain, Million Dollar Baby, March of the Penguins, Good Night and Good Luck, and many more good movies on the big screen.

Kim Hollis: I can never find a movie playing in the 5 o'clock hour. I would probably be happy to see a few movies after work, but it's not an option for me. They all either start during the 4 o'clock hour or the 7 o'clock hour. Since I'd prefer to hit a matinee, I just don't see movies during the week unless I happen to be able to get away from work early.

53 screens and nothing on

David Mumpower: You're luckier than me, then. I've got 53 screens within five miles of me, but I am constantly caught in the middle of the 1PM/4:30PM/7:30PM showtimes. The lack of flexibility among the four different cineplexes astonishes me. In point of fact, much of the theater-going experience is archaic and sorely in need of re-addressing.

Joel Corcoran: We have similar scheduling blocks here in Portland (Oregon), but I just grab coffee after work before heading to the theater. Or combine the trip to the theater with something else. Maybe that's why I still look at going out to the movies as "an experience." It's usually dinner and a movie, or coffee and a movie, or shopping with friends and a movie.

David Mumpower: I guess that's the other aspect of it. You're more willing to wait whereas I speak for a more impatient, demanding portion of society.

Joel Corcoran: You're probably right, but I'm a West Coast slacker.

Tim Briody: Instant gratifaction is becoming more and more of a necessity.

David Mumpower: That's right, Tim. The constant perfecting of time-wasting hobbies is the driving force in all of this.

Joel Corcoran: I'll still be very surprised - and rather disheartened - to see movie theaters disappear completely.

David Mumpower: I think that there will always be movie theaters in some format. What they are fighting to avoid right now is becoming drive-ins.



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