Yesterday was the debut of the Warner Archive, an online store where customers can buy made-on-demand DVDs of lesser-known movies.
150 titles are available taken from pre-1986 MGM, RKO Radio Pictures, and Warner Bros. Pictures films, with about 20 more titles added every month. DVDs are priced at $19.95 each for US customers only.
[U]pon purchase, a state-of-the-art manufacturing on demand (MOD) system creates a made-to-order DVD indistinguishable in quality from a standard pressed DVD. The system places the DVD into a hard plastic Amaray case featuring custom artwork; shrink wraps it; and ships the finished package to the customer which arrives in approximately five days. The cost per title is $19.95, plus shipping. Alternatively, movie fans can purchase digital downloads of these classic films to enjoy immediately on their PC. The cost for a digital download is $14.95 per title.
That’s not an impulse-purchase price, but for those looking for these movies, this service is a godsend. Go through the owner for a professional product instead of ebay for a second-generation version of something taped off TV. Warners is also asking for customer input on which titles they’d like to see next.
If this service is successful, it’s the realization of many trends, including the long tail, where the internet makes it possible for customers of smaller-demand products to find and buy what they’re looking for, as well as elimination of the middleman, since the studio is selling direct instead of shipping these products through stores.
Can you imagine if Warner did this for DC comics? Any title available printed on demand for, let’s say, $9.95?