Friday, December 01, 2006

Hate going to movie theaters?

From Techdirt:

While we were impressed that the head of Regal Entertainment Group, the largest movie theater chain in the US, is experimenting with improving the moviegoing experience by giving certain customers a pager that will let them alert theater staff to any problems (such as mobile phone disruptions) in the theater immediately, it appears that CEO Michael Campbell still is unwilling to admit that movie theaters offer much value for visitors. That's because he continues to come out strongly against any studio plan to release DVDs concurrently with a theatrical release. The so-called "day and date" release plan has been finding increasing support within the movie industry, even if its most high profile test (done by Mark Cuban) was considered something of a failure.

The issue here is simple: it's about giving consumers a choice -- which is generally good for business. If you provide consumers with more options that cover what they want, they're more likely to buy. Giving consumers the chance to get a DVD right away, just as the full advertising effort is underway is likely to help the overall business of the movie as well. Some people who just don't like to go to theaters will buy the DVD, while others will prefer to see the film on the big screen. Unfortunately, few theater owners seem to agree. They complain about the DVD threat, when all it really shows is they don't understand their own business. They're not in the business of showing people movies. They're in the business of providing a good overall social experience. If they were confident in the theater experience, then they have nothing to fear from DVDs being on sale. They could just play up why it's that much better to see the movie on the big screen. But, apparently, they just don't believe they offer a very good product, which is why they're trying to pressure the studios to give them an artificial, temporary monopoly. Campbell's comments are effectively an admission that he doesn't think Regal Theaters are very good, and he doesn't think he can improve the experience enough to compete with home theaters. That seems excessively short-sighted.

If day and date releases became more common, it would only improve the movie going experience. While Campbell claims they would boycott those movies, it would only take a few missed blockbusters for the company to change its mind. In the meantime, it would put in place more incentives for Campbell and other theater owners to make going to the theater a much more enjoyable experience because they wouldn't just be competing with other theaters, but the home theater as well. They'd have to play to their strengths and focus on how to make "going out to the theater" a totally different experience from staying in to watch a movie. On top of that, there are plenty of additional things the theaters can do, from giving you a discount on buying the DVD as you walk out of the theater to using movie tickets as a way to encourage word of mouth marketing to get others to the theater. The potential is enormous, but we won't see much of it if theater owners can remain lazy and uncreative by keeping studios from giving customers the choice they deserve.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Porche Carrera GT eats pole

Hot on the heels of the Suleiman Kerimov/female passenger/Ferrari Enzo/Promenade des Anglais crash comes this Carrera GT single-car pileup in what we glean to be New York. Apparently the driver escaped with minimal fractures, but the car seems to be very, very broken. [Thanks to Alex for the tip.] – Davey G. Johnson

500hp twin turbo Volvo 740 Wagon

America's fastest cars

#10 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 (tie)
Base price: $40,800
Engine: 6.1-liter, 420-hp V-8
Top speed: 155 miles per hour#10 Ford Shelby GT500 (tie)
Base price: $41,000 (estimated)
Engine: Supercharged, 5.4-liter, 500-hp V-8
Top speed: 155 miles per hour#10 Cadillac XLR-V (tie)
Base price: $98,300
Engine: Supercharged, 4.4-liter, 443-hp V-8
Top speed: 155 miles per hour#10 Cadillac STS-V (tie)
Base price: $77,715
Engine: Supercharged, 4.4-liter, 469-hp V-8
Top speed: 155 miles per hour#9 Cadillac CTS-V
Base price: $53,370
Engine: 6.0-liter, 400-hp V-8
Top speed: 163 miles per hour#8 Chrysler 300C SRT8, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Dodge Magnum SRT8
Base price: $43,195 (300C); $38,695 (Charger); $38,345 (Magnum)
Engine: 6.1-liter, 425-hp V-8
Top speed: 165 to 170 miles per hour
* Pictured here: Dodge Charger SRT8#7 Panoz Esperante GTLM (tie)
Base price: $121,325
Engine: Supercharged, 4.6-liter, 420-hp V-8
Top speed: 180 miles per hour#7 Mullen GT (tie)
Base price: $89,950
Engine: 400-hp V-8
Top speed: 180 miles per hour#6 Mosler MT 900S
Base price: $189,000
Engine: 5.7-liter, 435-hp V-8
Top speed: 180-plus miles per hour#5 Dodge Viper SRT-10
Base price: $85,745
Engine: 8.3-liter, 510-hp V-10
Top speed: 190 miles per hour (estimated)#4 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Base price: $70,000
Engine: 7.0-liter, 505-hp V-8
Top speed: 198 miles per hour#3 Silva Exotic Cars GT1 and GT3
Base price: $170,000 to $175,000 (estimated)
Engine: 7.0-liter, 550-hp V-8 (optional)
Top speed: 206 miles per hour#2 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo
Base price: $555,000
Engine: Twin turbo, 7.0-liter, 750-horsepower V-8
Top speed: 240 to 260 miles per hour (estimated)#1 SSC Ultimate Aero TT
Base price: $525,000
Engine: Twin turbo, 6.3-liter, 1,180-horsepower V-8
Top speed: 273 mph