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DVDs… over? And how that changes ownership of programmes in the future… June 24, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This is telling… from the IT, a report that RTÉ is thinking about no longer producing DVDs of its programmes. Why?

“The market has moved on, probably faster than any of us predicted,” Mr O’Reilly [RTE group commercial director] said.

“In the UK, there are still good distribution channels. You can go and buy a CD or come across one, whereas in Ireland now you really have Tower in Dublin and about a dozen Golden Discs, and after that it is Lidl, Aldi and Tesco.”

It is true, that’s a very very small number of outlets and Lidl and Aldi don’t have constant stocks but instead rotate in and out merchandise for Christmas, Father’s Day, and so on. Nor according to O’Reilly are sales online of physical media doing the business.


This is arguably worse again…

The BBC’s decision to close the BBC Store, a digital download service that offered programmes on a buy-and-keep basis, was “astounding”, he said. The move, announced last month, came just 18 months after it was launched.

“I thank god that we didn’t invest heavily in that area. The theory was that the public would move to buying programmes for downloading onto their laptops or iPads. It was a kind of iTunes for video content.”

But they couldn’t compete with the subscription services.

I’m not hugely surprised. In CEX which sells second had DVDs there’s been an appreciable decline in DVDs available in the past twelve months. Tower is still very well stocked. But economies of scale presumably make selling RTÉ programmes on DVD just too expensive.

And where do we wind up?


The trend suggests that audiences may find it frustrating if they want to keep permanent hold of particular titles.

“It is going to be difficult to own certain things in the future, because you may be only able to rent them.”

This has certain implications, doesn’t it, in regard to transmission of Irish focused television materials if they are unavailable permanently. Sure, the UK is fine, and the US too, massive markets. But here, not so great.

And yet another example of how ownership changes, how we all – effectively – are being pushed to the 21st century equivalent of the company store.


1. An Sionnach Fionn - June 24, 2017

On the other hand it incentivises viewers to pirate by recording digital/Web broadcasts or “rent” download copies, strip out the DRM and then distribute via torrents etc. If you can’t get a physical copy that you “own” then you are gonna look for a softcopy that you “own” without restrictions.


WorldbyStorm - June 24, 2017

I think you’re right, and one thing that strikes me is everyone I know sub-35 or even a bit older illegally downloads films. Even when they get streaming for TVs.


2. sonofstan - June 24, 2017

Music is getting to the same place; while most releases will still lead with Vinyl/ CD*,runs are tiny, and it’s now next to impossible to find a physical copy of something that was released more than a few months ago. Many towns in the UK are just the next, and probably final HMV crash away from having nowhere to by music outside Tesco/ Sainsbury’s. Once the vinyl revival runs its over-hyped course, there will be no high margin item for music retailers.

Regarding DVDs – I’ve never owned either a DVD player or a VCR; or bought a telly for that matter. I like going to the cinema and Dublin is relatively spoiled in that regard, as, of course, is London, a short train ride away for me at the moment. It worries me though that the people I see at the sort of movies I go to make me feel young; worse than record shops. Anything I see at the BFI/NFT, sometimes upwards of 80% of the audience will be of pensionable age. Whereas here in W*combe, the cineplax exclusively caters for teens on dates or families (i.e. kids movies). The only kind of grown-up fare you get is Richard Curtis lite shite like Hampstead. To pick an obvious example for this audience: I Daniel Blake, which got a fairly wide theatrical release, did not play here.

*CDs, new and second hand, are ridiculously good value these days. While old records sound better than CDs, CDs sound better than almost all new vinyl, where there is no quality control anymore, and if it’s a new recording, it will have been done digitally anyway, so you’re buying effectively a CD transferred to vinyl, and infinitely better that anything but very high quality files.


WorldbyStorm - June 24, 2017

Very much agree re CDs, same is true of dvds too, and loads are second hand. It won’t last.


3. Aengus Millen - June 24, 2017

It makes me think of the problem in the news media. Where the news recorders (newspapers) are being squeezed by the news aggregators (twitter, websites, so on) I wonder if the tv media will run into the same problem where it will become increasingly risky to create original content because having it seen merely on normal tv service is no longer profitable. Obviously there are ways around this for example with the shows that go straight to platforms like netflix and hulu or channels like HBO which put their content online at the same time as it’s on tv. Still I have to imagine tv channels are becoming less profitable as those in my age cohort are less likely to own tv’s or desire to own them.


6to5against - June 25, 2017

TV stations will presumably go even further down the road of running a mix of news and reality shows. And maybe that’s ok. TV drama has never been so good, but the small amount of good drama the terrestrials produce could be saved by the streaming channels, I would think. They offer a new market, and presumably that brings in a few quid.

My impression of illegal streaming is that it might have topped out. The convenience of netflix etc is winning out amongst those I talk to. Even the young ones (though with somebody else paying for it of course)


WorldbyStorm - June 25, 2017

🙂 That sounds familiar your last line! I’ve still avoided streaming legally or illegally. And cable. Just DVDs and internet.


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