Desperation Strikes Deep

The economy must be really bad. Amazon.com is slashing DVD prices to levels I had not even imagined. Batman Begins for $4, Spiderman 2 for $2. Seasons of the Simpsons for $15. That’s 60% off or more.

My cursory glance at other categories doesn’t show nearly as incredible deals. Of course, I’m not looking too closely. I’m buying a house and moving, so a $2 DVD is the extent of my splurging ways. But what’s up with the DVD sales?

Part of this is must be that the sellers have massive inventory. DVD sales have been slumping for reasons having nothing to do with the economy. I think a lot of stores have stacks of unsold DVDs that they ordered in anticipation of the DVD revolution continuing for all eternity. It may finally be dawning on them that no one needs two copies of Happy Gilmore; in fact most people don’t even need one. So they’re desperate to shed them.

Selling DVDs dirt cheap will obviously solve this. I normally wouldn’t have bought Spiderman 2, which I thought was a mediocre movie. But at $2, slightly more than a 16-oz coke, I’m willing to get it just in case I have a son who gets into Spiderman or my nephew visits or I feel the sudden light night urge to see Kirsten Dunst “act”.

I also think the sellers are, mistakenly, thinking that Blu-Ray is going to be their next big thing. So if they can clear inventory to set up Blu-Ray sales, that’s a win. However, I agree with Beradinelli’s that the sellers are overestimating the potential of Blu_Ray. I’m a semi-technophile and have yet to buy a Blu-Ray player. I probably will, but even then, the only movies I’ll buy in Blu-Ray will be new ones. I might replace some visually spectacular titles in my library (LOTR, The Godfather, etc.) but I see absolutely no reason to plonk down $20 to get a slightly nicer version of This Is Spinal Tap.

The next big collapse is going to be video stores and big box stores like Best Buy. It’s already started, with Circuit City and Hollywood Video scaling back. But Best Buy, in particular, is overbuilding. They just opened a store here in New Braunfels despite having stores in San Marcos and Schertz (15 miles either way). That’s a company long overdue for a market correction.

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