Let’s talk about value propositions for a moment. Well, first, what that means:

It’s supposed to be what a company offers. A straightforward statement of what the customer gets from them.

In this post I’m going to be using it more to refer to what the customer gets for their money, or would get. So for example Wagamama offers tasty Asian food at a fairly reasonable price without making it too complex for us primitive Western folk. I like their food, at least for now, and feel that it’s they offer a good value proposition.

So when I tried to watch a DVD earlier this evening I was shocked at how poor the value proposition offered was.

This wasn’t some unheard of film it was The Avengers Assemble. Before letting me even access the menu there were unskippable trailers. There was even a toy advert.

A toy advert.

Really?

Then the menus were this over-done mess that frankly had me literally shouting “GET ON WITH IT!”Get on with it!

Putting this disc in my machine actually popped up an autoplay menu to ask me how I’d like to deal with video DVDs. It would seem that in the last four years or so I’ve not once tried to play a DVD using this machine.

You know why?

Because bronze is brilliant!Bronze is brilliant!

That is to say discs and so forth have been phased out of my life as they’re terrible value propositions.

If I download a film and store it on my media centre’s hard disk then it sits there, networked, available to anyone on the network and through a variety of friendly frontends.2013-03-30_00001

Whereas if I buy a film on a disc I have to store it on a shelf or similar. That in itself is extremely aggravating due to how much space a large collection takes up.

Next up I’d need to take it down, pull out the disc, take it over to the player/PC, navigate whatever nightmare of design someone thought would make a good menu, and then watch the film. Right after it’s forced me to watch various other crap first and possibly a patronising and legally inaccurate* anti-piracy warning.

The point here being that why would buying discs be a sensible use of resources? It’s a terrible value proposition compared to the alternatives.

To contrast this with why I buy games on Steam rather than pirate them (when the prices are within my reach): free is great but patching is a nightmare, storing the install files is annoying, and half the time the original crack doesn’t work properly. Paying a small sum takes away all that hassle.

To me that’s a good value proposition.

The movie industry frequently argues that it cannot compete with free. I would argue that they’re just too lazy and stubborn to do so. Creating a decent value proposition isn’t always easy but in many cases it’s easier than one might think.

Also treating your paying customers like idiot criminals does little to encourage me to spend money. If I go to the cinema and you lecture me about piracy after bombarding me with adverts for twenty minutes I’m not going to be inclined to buy anything you try to sell me.

Don’t be a dick to us. You need us.

 

*Legally inaccurate as in “You wouldn’t steal a…”. Downloading a film isn’t theft, legally speaking, it’s copyright infringement. The latter does not remove a unit of stock from the supply chain. This isn’t to say it’s any better or worse simply that the message is inaccurate.

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