Indies price Blu-ray close to standard DVD E1 gives equal pricing to both formats -VB - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 04-14-2009, 01:02 PM
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Default Indies price Blu-ray close to standard DVD E1 gives equal pricing to both formats -VB

Might be an interesting trend to watch for Blu-ray pricing. If major studio releases stay at $5 premium and lesser studios move to equal DVD and Blu-ray pricing there might be some downward pressure on Blu-ray retail pricing overall.

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By Cindy Spielvogel -- Video Business, 4/13/2009

APRIL 13 | Looking to make a viable entrance into the Blu-ray Disc market, independent suppliers are using innovative pricing approaches to increase orders for their high-def releases.

The latest strategy comes from E1 Entertainment (formerly Koch), which has given the same price point to the DVD and Blu-ray versions of two upcoming films aimed primarily at the rental market.

We’re getting rid of the surcharge,” said Dan Gurlitz, E1 VP of video.

Although consumers and retailers have expressed interest in seeing the pricing gap disappear, the major studios so far have only used equal or near-equal pricing for DVD and Blu-ray on a handful of titles. New movies frequently carry Blu-ray list prices of $34.99 to $39.99, and the high-definition version is usually priced $5 to $10 above the standard DVD version of the same title.

In June, E1 will release two films on DVD and Blu-ray, thriller Elsewhere (June 2) and Heather Graham-starring comedy Baby on Board (June 9), each at a $24.95 price point on either format.

Gurlitz said equal pricing is “perceived as friendlier” in the marketplace, particularly by rental accounts. He has heard that Blu-ray represents 2% to 10% of business for retailers; but with equal pricing, the numbers could increase.

E1 previously released some music titles and a new edition of the animated film Gulliver’s Travels on Blu-ray at price points that were relatively low for the high-definition format but were still higher than their DVD versions (Gulliver was $14.98 on DVD, $19.98 on Blu-ray). Estimating that Blu-ray accounted for at least 25% of the orders for public domain Gulliver, Gurlitz believes there will be even more interest in the rental market for upcoming Blu-ray films.

Other independents trying to keep prices low on Blu-ray include Cinevolve Studios, which announced last August that it would enter the Blu-ray market with its CineBlu line featuring “Blu-ray titles at DVD prices.”


Cinevolve is releasing some films on Blu-ray at $24.95, including upcoming releases of comedy Sisterhood (May 19) and filmmaker Jim Killeen’s documentary Google Me (July 21). However, the Blu-ray prices are still at a premium over the company’s standard DVDs. Sisterhood is priced at $22.95 on DVD, for example.

Cinevolve has released a couple other titles on Blu-ray. The latest, Australian crime thriller The Line, is outselling its standard version two to one, said Arik Treston, Cinevolve’s CEO and co-founder. He attributed that to the film’s genre and isn’t expecting most Blu-ray titles to do quite that well.

Treston is forging ahead with Blu-ray even though he doesn’t expect the format to last nearly as long as standard DVD has. Cinevolve also is working on digital download efforts. “We want to be as future-ready as we can be,” he said.

Yet Treston encourages other independents to get into Blu-ray to keep production costs down. “With more on board, it will lower the cost,” he said.

Other independents using Blu-ray pricing innovations include North American Motion Pictures, whose CEO Barry Barnholtz announced last December that the company would get into the video rental market by offering Blu-ray versions of its films for free to retailers who buy three copies of the standard DVD. For example, retailers who order a DVD three-pack of May 26 release Carnivorous for $69.99 will get a free Blu-ray edition of the title. The company’s films are not individually available on Blu-ray.

The Criterion Collection, which is distributed by Image Entertainment, is using equal pricing for its titles. However, unlike most rental-oriented independents, Criterion markets its films as collector’s items that carry relatively high price points on both standard DVD and Blu-ray, generally $29.95 to $39.95.

And companies such as Eagle Rock Entertainment, which releases music videos and other genres that normally have low price points on DVD, have priced Blu-ray at $24.95, with lower price points on DVD.

Screen Media Films, whose titles are distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment, launched Blu-ray in March at $29.98 to get into the market at a lower new release price point than the major studios. Upcoming releases include Personal Effects starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Ashton Kutcher ($24.98 on standard DVD).

Some of the independents that have been in the Blu-ray market for a while, such as Anchor Bay Entertainment and Image, recently have been using $30-plus new movie pricing similar to the majors. Majors and independents alike have offered lower prices and multi-pack deals on older Blu-ray titles and catalog.

First Look Studios, which has tried different price points, has a $29.98 list price for the Blu-ray version of June 23 new release Direct Contact starring Dolph Lundgren. It’s also a gap-closing price—the DVD is $28.98, which is on the higher end for the standard format, but it’s only $1 below the Blu-ray.

Last edited by Kosty; 04-15-2009 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 04-14-2009, 02:21 PM
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This is great news, hopefully others will follow soon!
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by typ44q View Post
This is great news, hopefully others will follow soon!
Equal pricing for Blu-ray is even better than a $5 premium over DVD..
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