Print 68 comment(s) - last by Drexial.. on Nov 29 at 11:44 AM

IBM's plans make some fans of rental movies queasy

You microwave your popcorn, you curl up on your couch and you fire up the latest DVD release, hot out of your local movie rental joint.  As the story begins to take off, all of a sudden the movie freezes.  There is no more movie, just a blaring commercial filling your screen.  You blink in confusion, wondering what just happened.  You reach for the remote, but you cannot fast forward through this commercial.  Only after a few long moments does your movie resume.  Over the course of the movie, you are forced to endure this process multiple times.

This is the concept behind a new patent application from IBM, which is either a genius business ploy or maniacally evil abuse of the consumer, depending on how you choose to look at it.

The patent details a scheme where the user could rent and purchase movies at either a standard rate, with commercial interruption, or pay a few extra dollars to avoid the annoyances.  When a DVD is inserted into a player, the player will automatically check if it is commercial-loaded or commercial-free.  If it is the commercial-loaded version it will either play embedded ads on the disc over the course of the movie, or connect to the internet to download new ads to embed in real-time into the film.

Though not exactly trumpeted by IBM, the patent, if granted could seriously shake up the movie industry.

Could the result be a miracle or would it be a disaster for all parties involved?  The possible results from such a technology could be a very intriguing observation on human behavior, and the mindset of the average modern consumer. 

On the one hand it could be a win-win situation for consumers and the film business.  Movie studios could make a bit of much needed extra cash from advertisers or customers willing to pony up the extra fee for the ad-free content.  Consumers might like it as they might be able to save a couple of dollars on the versions with ads, and it might not be worse than watching a tv show, if properly timed.  Imagine renting new movies for $2.99 instead of $3.99 -- it is attractive proposition, despite the downsides.  And movie studios could elect to front-load the advertisements, as is done in the theater to make sure the consumer sees them, but to provide less interruption.

On the other hand it could be seen as intrusive, and greedy in the consumer eyes and cut into sales and rentals, erasing any potential profit gains.  Movie studios could implement the feature sloppily and ruin the watcher's experience and turn them off.  They could also elect to ad commercials to releases of the current price and only have a higher priced version without them.  And advertising companies might get poor reception from consumers who go to their fridge to get a soda or beer whenever the commercial comes on.

This technology poses a question similar to Fox and NBC's buzz-generating free TV episode online service, detailed at DailyTech, which includes embedded ads, similar to a traditional TV broadcast.  However this technology goes one step further, by seeking to introduce ads into a niche they did not typically occupy. How these technologies, and others, such as Walgreen's new DVD burning kiosks, will effect the lives of movie lovers is yet to be seen, but it almost certain that they will bear an effect.

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RE: ...
By omnicronx on 11/27/2007 1:41:07 PM , Rating: 1
Well i like it! If they keep current DVD prices the same and have a low cost rental with advertisements, you have nothing to complain about. Its not like they are taking away the option of having commercial free movies. Maybe if the movie industry does this, they can stop whining about pirating, as this could shoot profits through the roof.

So before you bash the idea, realize that this really wont effect you, it sounds like it will be aimed (if its ever implemented) towards those who want cheaper rentals.

Of course if they start charging more for non commercial rentals, I would be a bit pissed, but that will only drive people to downloading more movies.. so once again I really doubt this would happen.

RE: ...
By Spivonious on 11/27/2007 2:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
If I want commercials during a movie, I'll just wait for it to be shown on TV. If I'm paying for a product I expect to get the product and nothing more. Commercials ruin the flow of a movie. I wouldn't be surprised if directors and others involved in the film-making process (creatively) are outraged over this.

RE: ...
By omnicronx on 11/27/2007 2:47:41 PM , Rating: 3
And if I knew your comment totally disregarded everything I just said, then i would not have wasted my time reading it..

If this model ever comes to life, there will be two tiers. Non commerical rentals, and commercial rentals. Normal rentals should remain the same price, where as if one wants a cheaper rental, they have the 'choice' of renting the commercial version for a dollar or two cheaper. Notice how the keyword here is choice ...

Everyone on this forum is overreacting to something that will not effect them in the slightest, as the majority of you obviously prefer commercial free content (then again who doesn't). As long as I do not have to pay a premium for commercial free movies, I could not care less how others view their movies.

RE: ...
By FITCamaro on 11/27/2007 3:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
As long as it was a choice between which version you get, I would be fine with it. But if that became the version the movie studios required rental companies to rent, I would be pissed. And I could see the MPAA doing it.

RE: ...
By sviola on 11/27/2007 3:18:08 PM , Rating: 4
I think you're being naive here. EA did add ads to BF2140 (not sure of the year, but I know it's in the future) and the game had no reduction in price...still was $50 at launch.

Do you think movie studios will lower pricing (remember Sony is a big player in the movie market and they stripped the PS3 of the EE and still charged the same price of the PS3 with it)?

It's much more probable that they'll increase the price of the non-ad version.

RE: ...
By omnicronx on 11/27/2007 4:30:48 PM , Rating: 2
I find it funny how you all compare the big bad 'MOVIE INDUSTRY' or even the gaming industry with that the movie rental industry. And who is 'They' anyways?

Of course if the MPAA controlled the rental business I would be afraid of dramatic price increases, but the fact remains they really dont. Movie rentals are at an all time low, the chances licensing prices for movies raising significantly is very small because of this.

Amazingly the MPAA has no authority on pricing other than licensing fees, so what do they have to do with it? Companies like blockbuster will set their pricing to remain competitive, as they now have the competition of movie pirating and Movies on Demand.

It just does not make good business sense for a company like blockbuster to raise their prices (more than inflation) especially when as many of you noted, the reason you rent videos is because they do not contain commercials. Unless they plan on shooting themselves in the foot, I do not see this coming any time soon.

I am not even going to counter the video game comment,
compare apples to apples, or have some sort of relevance linking the two. Did EA make two different versions and charge more for the non commercial version?
Theres no reason to bring in commercial rentals at the current rental price point, its just not going to happen not anytime soon at least.
When people stop renting movies, this may become a possibility as it will be a necessity to stay in business.

As for the ps3, There was NOT a ps3 at the 399 pricepoint before the 40G model came out, the lowest price before the 40gig release was 499.

RE: ...
By Drexial on 11/29/2007 11:44:51 AM , Rating: 2
2 days late but i dont care

Movie studios could make a bit of much needed extra cash from advertisers or customers willing to pony up the extra fee for the ad-free content.

do you see anything in there about the rental company? and the words "EXTRA FEE" for the ad-free version?

granted this is still all speculation.

RE: ...
By JKflipflop98 on 11/27/2007 2:47:06 PM , Rating: 2
Thats just the thing - back here in reality, studio executives are greedy asshats. The cost will never, ever go down. The cost of the "premium" commercial-free media will go up. Guaranteed.

RE: ...
By omnicronx on 11/27/2007 2:59:55 PM , Rating: 1
The cost of the "premium" commercial-free media will go up. Guaranteed.
Now thats a big 'guarantee', you should open a big box store.. While normally i would agree with you,

Video stores are struggling in sales compared to what they used to be, and it is only going downhill. Most of the time, raising prices on already inflated prices for a product that is on the decline is not a good idea. Video stores need a way to bring people in, not scare them away.

Having cheaper rentals has the potential to do this, where as raising prices on products that the majority of people rent does not. Even with the higher margins, I really doubt they would see any higher profits.

Although i do agree 'eventually' they could raise the profits through the roof, that will probably be so far down the road that Video on Demand will have taken over the movie market by then.

RE: ...
By wallijonn on 11/27/2007 4:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
If they keep current DVD prices the same and have a low cost rental with advertisements, you have nothing to complain about.

Unless you're the person doing the rental. Do you really think that Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Netflix, et. al. will even bother buying commercial free movies to rent if they can save money buying the cheaper commercial laced DVDs?

I hate cable, I do not have cable, I pay $16 a month to rent from Hollywood Video. I learned a long time ago that I do not need cable TV. If they throw in commercials I will probably find that I no longer need to rent movies. If they raise the price of commercial free DVDs beyond what I am willing to pay now (everyone has a ceiling they are not willing to cross) then I just won't buy them. How many times have you paid $22.98 for a movie only to see it go down to $9.99 a few months later?

I now refuse to buy DVDs that have Full Screen and WS versions on the same disc or movies that are recorded on a single disc (Freightners, $7.50, WalMart). I refuse to buy Disney movies because they usually have over 20 minutes of trailers. Now they're (DVD movies) starting with fast food restaurant tie-ins.

I figure that if someone starts a rumour that Blue-Ray or HD-DVD has signed on to carry in-movie commercials then Blue Ray or HD-DVD will die overnight. As it is I refuse to buy HD-DVD combo discs. When you can get an HD-DVD movie for $19.98 and the SD DVD for $13.88, why pay $36.99 to $39.99 for a combo disc? Throw in the prospect of in-movie commercials and they'll kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

RE: ...
By omnicronx on 11/27/2007 6:20:28 PM , Rating: 2
you have nothing to complain about.
I take it back.. there is always something to complain about.. I was just not expecting a list..

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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