Harry Potter and the case of the vanishing DVDs - High-Def Digest Forums
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-26-2011, 07:53 AM
mikemorel's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,297
Default Harry Potter and the case of the vanishing DVDs

Harry Potter and the case of the vanishing DVDs

Quote:
Warner Bros has announced that it will withdraw all Harry Potter DVDs and Blu-rays from retailers to follow Disney's limited release model. But will this new strategy work its magic on Potter fans?

The DVD and Blu-ray of the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 2) , is due for release next month, and will probably be the highest selling title of the year. The film was a colossal hit in cinemas, and it's out in numerous different forms (DVD, Blu-ray, 3D, box set) just in time for Christmas. But Warner Bros have also made a fairly surprising announcement about the future of the Potter films. On the 29 December, they will stop shipping all titles. The DVDs and Blu-rays will be withdrawn from sale. It will probably take some time for stock to run out, but it will, and Potter will soon vanish from shop shelves and online retailers. On the surface, this seems like a ridiculous move. Why would a company whose profits have been so dependent on Potter for so long withdraw their most popular product from sale, at the time of its greatest demand?

The answer lies in the changing fortunes of the DVD market. During the 1990s, all of the major Hollywood distributors saw profits from DVD sales rise stratospherically. For some reason, consumers were far more likely to buy DVDs than they had been with video cassettes. What's more, a DVD was much easier to make and distribute than a complicated mechanical cassette, so the profit mark-up was significantly higher. All of this meant that the Hollywood studios experienced an unprecedented period of financial growth during the early 2000s, funded almost entirely by DVD sales.

In Warner Bros case, DVD profits helped to stabilise the company as the consequences of its disastrous merger with AOL played out. The AOL deal wiped many millions from the company's balance sheet, but DVD sales ensured that it still turned a profit. Reliable DVD profits also dramatically enlarged the amount of money a single film could hope to generate, which resulted in increased budgets across Hollywood. Many of the super-expensive blockbusters of the last decade were considered viable because it was thought that they would turn a profit on DVD if they didn't at theatres (and few films today do more than break even at the theatrical box office).

But in recent years, the DVD bonanza seems to have slowed. Profits have been declining for some time, and new formats such as Blu-Ray have not had the same impact. The industry is also struggling to find new business models in the age of digital downloads and the expansion of film piracy via torrenting websites.

So, DVD is not as big a deal it used to be, which is bad news for studios. The old business model no longer seems viable. Previously, film distributors waited until shortly after a film's theatrical release had ended, and then released DVD retailing at around £15. After the most devoted consumers had bought the product at a high mark up, retailers would generally discount the price sharply to encourage casual sales. Consequently, many films could be picked up for as little as £3. Blu-rays retain their value more successfully, but their market still follows this basic framework.

One company, however, treated the market differently. The Disney corporation released its animated films using a more carefully managed strategy, which Warner Bros is now seeking to adopt. Each Disney 'classic' was released for a short window of time, before being withdrawn from sale. At any one time, it is possible to buy several key Disney movies, but they will not be around for long, and some will be entirely unavailable (currently The Little Mermaid and The Lion King are off the books). This strategy, of short release windows followed by a period of stock withdrawal has had two key consequences. Firstly, it has meant that Disney's films maintain their value on DVD by virtue of their scarcity. Secondly, Disney's animated films have retained an aura of quality, prestige and exclusivity. It may not feel like this when your child watches Cinderella for the thousandth time, but it does when you are stood in a major retailer paying £30 for a DVD when everything else costs less than a tenner.

Warner Bros has decided to give Harry Potter the same treatment. They are planning to limit supply of Potter DVDs and Blu-rays in order to maintain their financial and cultural value, and it will be interesting to see whether or not the strategy works. After all, Potter has flooded the DVD market for many years, so lots of products must be floating around. If they are successful, then it won't be just be the officially sanctioned releases that increase in value – Potter DVDs clogging up bookshelves across the country may find themselves being dusted off and put on eBay at significant mark-ups by canny sellers. Alternatively, the strategy could easily fail, simply because most Potter fans have already completed their collection.

So, it's a risky scheme, but Warner Bros decision to try it out tells us how Potter will be maintained as a kind of prestige, heritage brand in the future. After all, Warner Bros has a great deal of Potter related material still to sell – a theme park in Orlando, a studio tour about to open in the UK, as well related ventures such as the Pottermore website and an ongoing series of videogames. The studio needs to keep the brand alive in order to maintain some sort of demand for its merchandise. Limited release windows may help in this regard.

More importantly, Warner Bros decision to ape the Disney method gives us some indication of how the major studios may conceive of the ancillary DVD and Blu-ray market in the longer term. As streaming and downloading take off, its possible that ownership of a physical copy will become less common – something for the aficionado, rather than the regular, undiscriminating movie watcher. If the studios can find a way of controlling access to online content, then we may be moving into a period where we make a one-off payment to watch a film via streaming, but where owning films, which we can access whenever we want, is a privilege that we have to pay significantly more for.
For those who do not know, Harry Potter will still be offered for sale and rent via EST and VOD.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-26-2011, 08:46 AM
mikemorel's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,297
Default

Quote:
As streaming and downloading take off, its possible that ownership of a physical copy will become less common – something for the aficionado, rather than the regular, undiscriminating movie watcher.
Quote:
If the studios can find a way of controlling access to online content, then we may be moving into a period where we make a one-off payment to watch a film via streaming, but where owning films, which we can access whenever we want, is a privilege that we have to pay significantly more for.
Interesting, in that there was an unsubstantiated rumor a couple of weeks ago...

Quote:
However, if you’re buying a Blu-Ray copy of a film and it comes with a UV version, it would be in their best interest to make that copy as high quality as possible, especially if prices of retail discs are going to increase which the rumor mill has been churning on.
http://www.reelseo.com/ultraviolet-2/
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-26-2011, 09:04 AM
towergrove's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,694
Default

Great post Mike. People are already paying a premium for many Warner titles on DVD via the Warner Archive. They can control the cost by making them limited and On Demand copies. I wonder how the Warner Archive will play into all this?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-26-2011, 10:06 AM
ack_bak's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 20,623
Default

I think this is just Warner doing everything they can to maximize the value of their most lucrative franchise and they appear to be using the Disney Vault approach for this franchise. They will re-release these on BD/DVD (most likely with new features and collectors editions, 3D, etc).
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-26-2011, 10:31 AM
vikingfan's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemorel View Post
Harry Potter and the case of the vanishing DVDs

For those who do not know, Harry Potter will still be offered for sale and rent via EST and VOD.
And of course Harry Potter will be available to rent at Netflix,Blockbuster,Family Video, etc. on disc, for as long as the thousands and thousands of discs in their inventory are playable.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-26-2011, 10:55 AM
cleeve's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,993
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bak View Post
I think this is just Warner doing everything they can to maximize the value of their most lucrative franchise and they appear to be using the Disney Vault approach for this franchise. They will re-release these on BD/DVD (most likely with new features and collectors editions, 3D, etc).
That's exactly correct.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-26-2011, 11:46 AM
mikemorel's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,297
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bak View Post
I think this is just Warner doing everything they can to maximize the value of their most lucrative franchise and they appear to be using the Disney Vault approach for this franchise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cleeve View Post
That's exactly correct.
So, if this is the way to maximize the value of lucrative franchises, then we should expect other lucrative franchises to follow suit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bak
They will re-release these on BD/DVD (most likely with new features and collectors editions, 3D, etc).
Really? When? Disney Platinum movies had a moratorium of 10 years.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-26-2011, 12:56 PM
ack_bak's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 20,623
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemorel View Post
So, if this is the way to maximize the value of lucrative franchises, then we should expect other lucrative franchises to follow suit.
What other lucrative franchises does Warner have that is comparable to the Harry Potter series?

Quote:
Really? When? Disney Platinum movies had a moratorium of 10 years.
When? When Warner sees fit to re-release and make money. It is all about making money Mike. Do you honestly believe Warner would never release their most lucrative franchise on optical disc again and turn away money? Come on..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-26-2011, 01:12 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,924
Default

I dont think the movies are all that good so I dont think a regular disney strategy will be as successful. The movies can make a billion dollars at the box office but that doesnt mean they get automatic 'classic' status.

Now.. if you ask me... I think this is a ploy to hype of eventual 3D re-releases...
"Harry Potter is back and its in 3D!"
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-26-2011, 01:18 PM
mikemorel's Avatar
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,297
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bak View Post
What other lucrative franchises does Warner have that is comparable to the Harry Potter series?
Why stop with Warner? Why not all studios. Lord of the Rings. Transformers. Jurrasic Park. Star Wars. etc. etc. etc. Every single successful franchise.

If this method of delivery maximizes value, as you say, then they will be lining up.

Quote:
When? When Warner sees fit to re-release and make money. It is all about making money Mike. Do you honestly believe Warner would never release their most lucrative franchise on optical disc again and turn away money? Come on..
Oh, my mistake. Sorry.

When you said "They WILL re-release these on BD/DVD", I thought you actually KNEW "if and when" Warner would re-release the Harry Potter series on disc. But you obviously have no idea.

Fact is, Warner didn't say anything about re-release, one way or the other. They didn't say "why" they were pulling the Harry Potter series from DVD/blu-ray. They didn't say it was a Disney style "moratorium". They didn't say if or when it would return.

They didn't say anything other than they would stop selling the series on disc on December 29th. And that it still would be sold through EST/VOD.

Everything above and beyond is mere speculation on your part. Perhaps more light will be shed in the coming days/weeks.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
'Basket Case 2' & 'Basket Case 3' are coming August 9 scohen Blu-ray Software General Discussion 0 06-26-2016 04:50 PM
Buy Harry Potter 1-6, get free Lego Harry Potter game! project-blu Ultra-HD/Blu-ray Bargains 2 08-09-2010 08:52 PM
Harry Potter HBP HMV Exclusive Lenticular Acrylic Case iamlilc Blu-ray Disc Exchange 0 12-19-2009 10:05 AM
Bourne, Harry Potter HD DVDs outpacing Blu-ray titles rbarbier High Definition Smackdown 620 12-28-2007 02:02 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off