Monday, June 2, 2008

We Don't Need Help Self-Destructing, Thank You

I just read an article on how Staples is going to start selling DVD movies that will self-destruct after 48 hours. Now being a good capitalist, I don't have a problem with the company, Flexplay, trying to make a buck flogging a technology that seems like a sure business loser. And if Staples needs something else to clog their shelves, mazel tov. What I do wonder is what movie studios are stupid enough or desperate enough for a little more money in the quarterly forecast to go along with this scheme.

So, let me get this straight, let's take something that has established itself as a superior product that has huge consumer appeal, largely on the basis of its archival potential (admit it, you still have at least 20 DVDs in your collection with the shrinkwrap still on them, but at least you HAVE them) and make your customers think of them as disposable junk.

The same can be said for the music industry. Has anyone ever had a legitimate complaint about audio CDs, beyond an issue with the quality of the source material? The CD is a product that everyone loves, even if it's being used to burn pirated material. So while the record labels and distribution companies are placing most of their eggs in the digital and mobile baskets, the CD is being treated like a bastard stepchild. I'm no Luddite and certainly digital will be the heavy half in the near future, but it's puzzling as to why everyone is so happy to run away from a product that has been so successful and has achieved such ubiquity.

How about focusing on how to make the CD offering not just cheaper, but better with clever packaging, and bonus materials (and I'm not talking about ringtones)? Let's stop perpetuating the idea that CDs are relatively worthless and use our imaginations to make them a more compelling consumer offering.

Market, people, market!

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