Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Media Companies Out of Touch

Media companies are out of touch with the economic crunch most people are feeling. Prices for entertainment have gone up while the average wage has stayed the same and the economic fear machine has marched its way inside most people's noggins.

The average new DVD movie costs over $20 and closer to $30 if on blue ray. If choosing to rent it, you will be looking at a price tag of at least $5 for a new release. If you choose to go out and see the movie in a theater then you're looking at between $13 and $18, depending on the type of screening -eg. regular or 3D. The music industry has not changed much either, with concerts and CDs at or above the price level of the 1990's. Sure you can buy someone's music on iTunes, but that only saves you maybe $5 while not actually receiving a physical copy of your purchase.

Even though the media industry complains that their sales are falling they continue to produce a product that they sell for a higher rate than they did previously while so much of the world cannot afford it. If your market audience cannot afford your product and you are loosing money, then the logical step is to produce a cheaper product that can therefore be sold more cheaply. The other side of the coin is to produce a product with additional value for the same price. However, neither step has been taken. I find this odd.

Even Obama is into Star Wars!
The media industry also complains about people pirating their products. To a degree I do not blame them for their complaint. The companies produce a product that is in no way a 'need' for consumers. They produce wants, and they do so to make a profit so they can continue making the things you enjoy. The problem lies in that their product has become a 'need' in our society. Film and music have become integral threads to our society and to be a part of our society one must have some knowledge about this thread. Ask yourself how many people you know have no knowledge about music or film? Secondly, ask yourself how it would be to hold a conversation with someone and never be able to discuss film or music or the entertainment industry as a whole? I myself often use film and music as conversation starters. When meeting someone new the most obvious connection we could have would be found in music and film.

Pirates! Ahr!
Because the product of the media industry has become a need and the prices are high in reflection to what the average person earns, people are turning to stealing the product. I personally do not pirate music or movies for a number reasons. One, I am not savvy enough to know how to download music and movies; I'm a bit of a Luddite really. Secondly, I feel that pirating is stealing and I like to financially support the artists I appreciate. Nonetheless, I understand why some people are pirating media products because they are components of our cultural reality.

What I hope to see is that the media industry begins to lower the prices of their products to reflect the economic climate we are in today. Perhaps this means the industry will need to spend less money on their products, such as slashing movie budgets. This would not be a bad thing as movies of generations ago did just fine with smaller budgets. Secondly, the media industry cannot expect to make as large of profits as they do now when their consumers have less to spend. It makes little sense for companies to be expecting to make more when their audience has remained virtually the same size and has less to spend. Where do they expect their extra revenue to come from?

Prevalence of the entertainment industry in today's culture & society.
I don't claim to be a financial or economic expert. What I do claim is to have a solid knowledge of culture, and in this instance pop culture. I understand that the media industry's products are vital to many people's lives but in the end we can always do without them. However, to strip ourselves of this product would also mean stripping a thread out of our cultural milieu; for instance Star Wars has become an important and influential component of our society, much like other products like Twilight, Guns 'n Roses, and the Simpsons. The media industry (I hope) must understand that their products need to be produced with less money, sold for less money, and to recoup smaller revenues from their products. Otherwise more people will continuing utilizing alternative ways of obtaining their products and looking for alternative and hence cheaper forms of media products such as Youtube.

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