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The Consumer Thread

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by SirRumpole, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole Well-Known Member

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    I thought I'd start this thread up because we are all consumers and have an interest in how corporations are ripping us off.


    It's obvious that the corporate culture these days is "anything goes". and if they get caught the fines are miniscule compared to their profits.

    Colgate-Palmolive to pay $18m penalty for laundry detergent cartel

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-...enalised-for-laundry-detergent-cartel/7367394
     
  2. CanOz

    CanOz Every day above ground is a stellar day!

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    Nice thread mate, if there's one thing i hate its the expensive prices you Aussies pay "just because you'll pay it".

    Itunes i think it was, or just the music industry in general, admitted to charging Australians 40% more or something like that for CDs (going back a while) just because "they'll pay more"....made me furious at the time.
     
  3. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole Well-Known Member

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  4. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole Well-Known Member

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  5. Value Collector

    Value Collector Well-Known Member

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    The main reason for Geo blocking, is that the distributors (eg Netflix) are trying to abide by their deals with the content creators (eg the studios)

    When a studio creates content, they own the content, and will monetise this by licencing its use to various distributors around the world.

    Take the Seinfeld show for example, it is owned by Fox studios(I think), Now Fox will enter into deals with a range of distributors around the world where the distributor pays the studio for the right to show it in that region a set number of times over a set period time.

    If Fox studios has a pre existing deal With channel 10 or Foxtel etc, in Australia they won't/can't give Netflix the right to show the product here.

    So the fact that certain shows are on Netflix US site, but not the Australian one is not that Netflix are doing something wrong, its that Netflix probably doesn't have the right to take payment for and show that content here, because another distributor already has an exclusive local deal for that content.
     
  6. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I get all that, but the end result is that if a show/film/series is more expensive here than in other locations (eg Netflix USA) then that just encourages piracy by Australians and so the distributors lose out in the end by treating viewers in Oz as cash cows by expecting us to pay more for stuff than they do in other markets.

    And if people use VPNs to access streaming services in other countries it appears from the article that the distributors don't have a comeback because they don't know who is using the VPNs.
     
  7. Value Collector

    Value Collector Well-Known Member

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    firstly, content is pretty cheap, I mean it costs $15/month to get the Aussie version of Netflix, and that's unlimited movies/tv shows. (remember paying $7 for over night rentals at video easy)

    Secondly, it costs Netflix a certain amount of money to operate in Australia and to generate Australian specific programing etc, its probably not that much cheaper to create the Australian version than it is the US version, but the US versions costs are spread across a much larger subscriber base, so you can expect a smaller nation like us to have slightly higher costs.

    The content creator probably doesn't care, they are getting paid for their content either way, so its not piracy.

    The distributor you are paying doesn't really care, they are getting paid, (they just have to appear to be trying to uphold their distribution contract)

    the real losers are the distrubutors who actually paid for the exclusive local deal, that consumers are going around, if channel ten paid for the rights to Seinfeld, but you watched it on Netflix instead, they lose out.

    Also, the less people that subscribe to the "Aussie" version, the smaller the base of people that need to absorb the costs and the more upward pressure on pricing, a lot of the cost of supplying Netflix in Australia are fixed, so if there is 1Million subs, they can offer the service cheaper than if there was 1000 subs, and if you sign up to the US version, you are actually reducing its cost base per sub and widening the gap.
     
  8. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole Well-Known Member

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    Sure, but isn't that point of the article ?

    If the studio sold the world wide rights to Netflix and this could could be accessed from Australia without geo blocking, the middleman of Fox as a local distributor would not be needed and so everyone would be happy (except Fox Australia but who cares about them ? :) )
     
  9. Value Collector

    Value Collector Well-Known Member

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    Netflix is the middle man, Netflix is just a distributor of content (although they are also making some content too)

    When I mentioned Fox (20th century fox the studio owner of Seinfeld(I think)) above, I was talking about Fox the studio.

    Netflix is just one Distributor, there are many distributors ranging from local free tv networks (broad casters) and pay tv networks(satellite and cable providers etc) through to global streaming services (iTunes, google play and Netflix etc)

    The types of distribution deals the studios work out with distributors vary dramatically, some aren't exclusive others are, some are for long time frames others aren't, some cover content that hasn't even been generated yet.

    What we are seeing in Australia now is a run off of long term legacy deals that were signed before digital distribution really was a factor, I think the new deals being created will suit the new world of digital distribution better.
     
  10. Smurf1976

    Smurf1976 Well-Known Member

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    With the push for competition and globalisation, surely it goes against those principles if consumers in any particular country aren't able to shop around for the best deal globally?

    The music and film industries have always shot themselves in the foot and ended up encouraging illegal downloads etc so far as I can tell. I recall a long time ago, circa year 2000, a local radio station quite openly saying that they'd downloaded (almost certainly illegally at that time) a new release song simply because for whatever reason it had been released overseas but not yet in Australia and they were getting calls to play it.

    At the very least the studios need to accept reality - once it's released then that's global, the idea that they can stagger the dates over a period of weeks or even months is pretty much redundant these days due to technology. Either they need to accept that or consumers and others will for practical purposes take it out of their hands and cost the studios revenue in doing so.

    As was the case with music, the studios really have only two choices. Make it available legally (same time everywhere and at comparable pricing) or consumers will take it illegally and that's a far worse outcome for the studios. :2twocents
     
  11. Value Collector

    Value Collector Well-Known Member

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    I think there has never been a time in history that so much content is available, so cheaply and on demand as it is now.

    Think back 20 years ago, if a Movie wasn't playing on TV and it wasn't available at the video shop you had no way of getting it.

    Now you can stream practically any movie you want for $4 or $6 or you can sign up to a streaming service for $15/month, plus you still have the traditional network broad casters or you can buy the DVD from JB hi fi.

    I don't think there is any legitimate reason for piracy, the content is cheaper than ever (adjust the 1996 video easy over night rental for inflation) and you can access it more ways than ever when you want.

    When I hear one of my friends or family gloat that they pirated some movie that's available in HD on demand for $4, I just think why bother, why steal it, just pay the $4 and contribute back into the system generating the content.

    --------------------------------------
     
  12. Value Collector

    Value Collector Well-Known Member

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    The other thing is we can kiss any local industry good bye if all we want is the generic USA version of Netflix etc, if the local version of Netflix died in favor of a US based one, it just takes another distribution platform away from local content creators.


    -----------------------
    That wouldn't bother me, at the end of the day I have a large share holding in Disney, so if people watch "modern family" episodes rather Melbourne based "upper middle bogan" or some other Aussie content, more power to me.

    But, even though I personally benefit from US based programing, I still would like to see a local industry thrive.
     
  13. luutzu

    luutzu Well-Known Member

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    You are an idealist (owning Disney) man (that's a compliment :D).

    But seriously, why would anyone pay $4 when they can pay zero. And it won't be $4 either, it's $4 times x number of films they would see. They do add up.

    Like Smurf was saying, these studios have got to get real and catch up with the tech reality. That and they have got to change their business model. They can't be that greedy and expect others to be honest.

    Back in the old days where VideoEzy and Blockbusters were still around, sure it costs a lot more to buy the copies, rent the shop and so $4 or $2 overnight... that's reasonable to charge.

    With internet streaming, it now costs them practically nothing and they charge slightly less or the same? Add to that the studio dominance, able to distribute their product everywhere at the speed of light... economy of scale, new tech for distribution, the same story with the same CGI characters etc., mean it costs much less to do business - pass it on to consumers and they'll buy it.

    Or put it on YouTube and they'd more than make back their money from ad revenues.

    Can't want everything then expect others to pay it to you right?

    Sure it costs studios and producers money, risks and all that to produce content. But even if it's pirated the privateer argubably aren't stealing or taking the content for free either.

    First, if they like the film/show enough, they would buy those blue ray version, collector's items, toys and gadgets, pass the words around.

    Second, good films, film people like to see, they'd go to the cinema and pay the gouging fee to watch it.

    Should we begrudge a person to paid $20+ a ticket (x family/friend members) to then get a free copy later for a rewind?


    And of course my thinking in no way reflect personal experience. I just have a talent for feeling other people's pain :D

    btw, Captain America (Avengers part 3) was awesome.
     
  14. Smurf1976

    Smurf1976 Well-Known Member

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    The issue I see is one of availability more than cost.

    I'm not sure if it's still going on but in the past the studios have often used a strategy of releasing films at different times in different countries so as to maximise revenue. Music industry did the same although the time gaps were generally a lot smaller.

    That game doesn't really work anymore. There were different markets in the past but now there's only two - planet Earth and any country that blocks access to the internet (most of which won't be too keen on "western" forms of entertainment anyway). That's it. For the "free" world it's a single market.

    If a film that people are anticipating is released in the US but not in Australia then that simply encourages downloading from US sites. If that's blocked by whatever means then that's the trigger for piracy.

    For services such as Netflix, I can't see any real reason why all content shouldn't be available in all countries. It's not like a physical store renting VHS / DVD (or Beta for those old enough...) which has a real cost for floor space which when combined with the cost of the physical media itself limited the range of tapes / DVD's they could economically have available and lead to a natural focus on films that would be popular and rented frequently. But with it all online, there's no real reason why Aussie films shouldn't be available in (for example) Canada if someone there wants to watch them. That only 100 people actually end up watching it in that country doesn't really matter when there's basically no cost to make it available in the first place.

    As I see it, the internet is one of the 3 things which have in some way affected practically every business upon its mass adoption. The others were electricity and motorised transport. There's basically nothing that was around at the time that wasn't impacted by those three in some way.

    In the case of the internet and entertainment, well it has basically changed the market from what's popular enough to warrant being sold in shops to a situation where literally anything's available to anyone. To the extent that anyone persists with blocking things based on location, that's just waving the proverbial red flag to the bull in terms of encouraging workarounds including piracy.:2twocents
     
  15. Value Collector

    Value Collector Well-Known Member

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    why pay $4??? Ahh because that's very little for the value you are getting,

    Tonight, Gave $21.95 to Pizza Hut for two pizzas, chicken wings, garlic bread and Pepsi, $16 to the bottle shop for a 6 pack, and $4.90 to Bp for some m+m's (for Mrs. Vc), now adding $6 to that for both of us to watch a movie adds a lot of value to our evening, and the cost is small.

    Yes, there is a lot of risk in making movies, and you generally invest millions.

    --------------------------------

    I guess you can say why pay for anything, why pay for electricity etc, why not just steal everything?
     
  16. Value Collector

    Value Collector Well-Known Member

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    I already explained that,

    If channel ten has bought the rights in Australia for Seinfeld for 20years, Netflix will not have the right to distribute it to Australia.

    There is a bunch of legacy deals for certain content, Netflix is just one distributor, it can only show content it have negotiated and paid for the right to show, so it's programming will be different from country to country.

    It's programming in Australia includes some local Aussie content and therefore can't include all of the same programs the USA Version does, also as I said the their cost base to operate here per subscriber is higher.

    --------------------

    Also just remember, no one has a "right" to see content just because the content exists, studios have a right to control their content and decide where and how it will be distributed, they can make a film and leave it in the can on a shelf if they want, because it's theirs, just like your home movies or photos are yours.
     
  17. luutzu

    luutzu Well-Known Member

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    If there's a lot of value at $4, there's infinite value at $0.

    People, and movie studios, will steal or otherwise get things and not pay for them if they can get away with it.

    Disney practically built its entire empire on stolen intellectual properties: stories, from practically all cultures.

    All the fairy tales, the classics of world literature... If Disney (and movie studios) want to be fair, may want to pay some commission to the country and people they stole those stories from.

    So we're not talking about moral issue here. We're talking legal - what is copyrighted and owned; what is owned but not copyrighted and are free to profit off.

    ---

    Yes it is risky and costs a lot to produce content/movies. But most pirated movies/music/content are not from struggling artists or small time producers - to see any documentary or Indie films, you'd have to either pay through Netflix/streaming or go to some independent cinema, or those film festival....

    And how often do studios risk on new artists or risk on a new movie?

    Star Wars: Force Awaken is practically the same story as the original trilogy. Even George Lucas took more risk with his prequels.

    Or Hollywood's White-washing of beloved movies and stories from other cultures. The Last Air Bender; Gods of Egypt; that Moses movie; the new Japanese manga classic starring Scarlett Johansen in the lead.

    So piracy is not sticking it to the struggling artists. It's not even getting movies for free either - even though maybe making a few hundred or billion dollar ought to be enough on one movie.

    As I implied before... most people who pirated movies have either already paid, or will pay, with cash for it. Paid for already seeing it at the movies, paid for when they recommend it to friends or buy collectibles.

    Sure it'd be nice for studios if people were to pay each and everytime they rewatch a movie or want to re-watch or re-listen...

    It's also nice too if American workers on minimum wage were to earn $15 an hour, a fair number of them work like heck at Disneyland wearing those customes, sing and dance in all weather.... Or those Chinese and sweatshop kids getting more than a couple bucks a day cranking out those toys and whatnot.

    Be nice too if Arab/Muslim/Persian refugees get some commission on Alladin's story; or those poor Chinese a few buck from Mulan.


    So it's a bit much for multi-billion dollar corporations to cry foul when modern technology allow some people to get away with not paying them all they wanted like the good old days.
     
  18. Value Collector

    Value Collector Well-Known Member

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    Disney didn't steal intellectual property by making feature anamations based on old stories, for the stories are often changed quite a bit, all the artwork is original Disney artwork, musical scores and voice acting is original etc etc. it's not like they are just photocopying some old stories and selling them, they are creating real value generating a new product that's what they get paid for.

    Not to mention that over the years Disney has paid out billions of dollars to buy The rights to certain characters.

    -------------------

    Part of what you are saying sounds like you are saying stealing is ok as long as it's from a big company, I don't see the logic there.

    Remember big companies still have small share holders, so when you steal from a big company, you are still affecting how much that little investors will earn on their hard won savings.
     
  19. luutzu

    luutzu Well-Known Member

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    No, I didn't say that stealing is OK. Not even if it's from big corporations - they too are people, apparently :eek7:

    What I am saying is that if people can steal, or can get things for free, they will. Human nature, capitalism, way of the world and what Disney is very good at doing - and getting away with it too.

    Further, what Disney does is considered "adaptation". They adapt the original story/tale.

    Say I could sing, or could start a dancing on ice company. If I want Mickey on Ice or want Cinderella on Ice... do I need to pay Disney? For Mickey I better or be shut down; Cinderella - just don't make her blond or wear blue dress etc. right? I think Disney also own that "happy birthday" song right?

    I could make a case that Mickey was never on ice in any Disney version (assuming they didn't think of it before); that I put my own money out, hired ice skaters etc. etc. Micky will either want a cut... will probably shut me down, then steal my idea for it too.

    So, why is it that anyone else have to pay Disney to "adapt" their characters and story to other medium; but it's not really stealing for Disney to adapt other people's work? Copyright law didn't exist then so it's fair game?

    Good for the goose, good for the gander. As they say - without copyright :D

    OK. too much coffee... a VB to neutralise it and off to bed we go.
     
  20. Value Collector

    Value Collector Well-Known Member

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    Mickey Mouse is a different story, he is not just a copyrighted character, he is a trade mark, as are some other Disney characters.

    Trade marks and brands are used to distinguish and identify companies and products.

    you can't make a drink and call it Coca Cola and use the Coca Cola ribbon logo, because that is a trade mark of the Coca Cola company, you are misleading consumers if you do.

    Certain standards of quality and product content are associated with certain brands, when people here the word Disney it brings up an idea about the type of product etc, some one that tries to use a trade mark of Disney to increase their sales is actually misleading consumers and stealing from Disney who have done the hard yards for decades to build their brand and public image.

    Now if The Walt Disney company died tommorrow, and it's characters were abandoned for 100years, it would be a different story, you would be within your rights to use Micky, to put in the hard yards and rebuild his public image, but as long as Disney is still working and investing and using him as a trade mark, you can't use him without unfairly benefiting from their work at their expense and misleading consumers

    Eg, you can use my organs after I die and have abandoned them and you are creating value, but try taking my kidneys while I am still alive and that's called stealing (or murder)
     
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