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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

wtf: are people really upset by a *drop* in Criterion DVD prices?

I don’t know what to make of this. The Criterion Collection dropped the prices of its loaded DVDs, but some cineastes are apparently unhappy. From Criterion’s blog:

In the past month or so, some customers have noticed a little change in the way we’re pricing new DVD releases, and they can’t seem to figure out whether to cheer or complain. We’ve been charging $10 less for fully loaded DVDs than we used to, dropping our suggested retail price for most new special editions from $39.95 to $29.95. So what’s the problem? Well, back when we started issuing Blu-rays, we promised that we’d price them the same way we’d been pricing DVDs, not make them more expensive, even though Blu-ray authoring and manufacturing costs were then and are still much higher than those costs ever were for DVD.

Our goal was to take price out of the equation for buyers considering which edition to pick up, and up to now, that’s what we’ve done. Recently, some costs associated with producing finished DVDs have fallen dramatically, and we wanted to pass that savings on to our DVD customers. Should our pledge not to jack up the price of Blu-ray have prevented us from offering better pricing on DVD when the economics permitted it? We decided it shouldn’t, but some Blu-ray customers were understandably distressed when they saw the two formats priced differently.

So, Criterion blu-rays have been cheaper than they would have been all along because Criterion has been eating the additional costs required to produce them, but blu-ray purchasers believe — it seems — that Criterion blu-rays should drop to the same price as DVDs… or else that Criterion DVD purchasers should now be paying a premium because Criterion has been giving buyers a break on the blu-ray premium for years?

Am I missing something here? Or as the blu-ray buyers bitching unfairly?

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  • MC

    Blu-Ray buyers are bitching unfairly. Their price didn’t go up… they are still getting the same quality experience they have been getting… it is just an inferior format is getting a price reduction.

    That is the way I think of it.

  • Jurgan

    Wait, people pay $39.95 for a DVD? Is it made of gold? Eh, if I want to watch a Criterion, I’ll just use Netflix.

  • Funwithheadlines

    Wait, people are still buying discs?

    (Obligatory high-speed net access snob comment required for any such discussion.)

  • Wait, people still have money to maintain the Internet connections necessary for high-speed net access? Well, I do, but I don’t have the same expenses as other people and even at that, I’ve had to cut back in other areas.

    Oh, well…

  • Matt C

    I wish I’d knew about this before I plunked down money for “Thief of Bagdad”, “Benjamin Button” and “In the Realm of the Senses.”


  • bitchen frizzy

    I’m not a Criterion customer, but if I were my complaint would be over the high prices of both formats. They’re implying that they’re barely making money on the Blu-Rays, and that’s bullshit.

    Blu-Ray is going to go the way of LaserDisk if they don’t lower the prices…

  • Barb

    I don’t complain about the Blu-ray prices at this point since there’s no reason to (still mostly stick with DVD unless it’s a title I really really like).

    Many Blu-ray include additional content not found on DVDs and the quality is far better for the most part (if only the discs would load faster in the players is my only whine). I’ve only gotten one Criterion blu-ray so far, The Red Shoes, and didn’t see a big deal with the price.

  • nyjm

    I can’t speak to Blu-Ray as I haven’t jumped on the Hi-Def band wagon yet but Criterion DVDs are worth every penny and then some: pristine remastering of image and sound, great packaging, insightful and often exclusive extras. The recent fall in prices just makes them all the more valuable.

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