I just bought the India episode and really enjoyed it. Excellent series! However, I felt a bit of buyer's remorse thinking I paid 10 dollars for about 20min of video. compared to an equally excellent BBC documentory (the story of India) which runs for 180min and cost 10 dollars for two dvds shipped, I have trouble justifying more episodes. Charging about 100 dollars for all epsides (approx. 260mins) seems like a rip off when considering that this show has been broadcasted by many tv stations and is also sponsored by canon and Microsoft, so production cost must have been paid by now, assuming a normal run of business.
That's an unfair and even invalid comparison. First of all, BBC is a state-owned enterprise. They have economies of scale in production, manufacturing of discs, and distribution LL or Mr Wolfe can't even begin to approach. You're comparing DVD with 720p, which is a big improvement. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, those BBC DVDs sell probably in the six figures (unit volume
), which allows for razor-thin margins and still making a nice profit.
To put things into perspective, Planet Earth
alone has sold 5 million
units, and that's a box set. I picked up the 10-disc Bluray box for a ridiculously low price of 50 EUR or so new, this at the time when when many single-disc movies with budgets an order of a magnitude less are selling at 20 EUR a pop. By the way, the documentary is worth all the hype.
Also, why do you care if the production costs have been recooped already? I'm sure you didn't mean to imply in your last sentence that production costs are all there is to running a good business. All stakeholders must make a profit, otherwise there's not much point in producing a commercial product. If they are as good as the reviews say, I hope Mr Wolfe keeps producing more - and he needs a profit to be able to do so. While I agree the single-episode pricing is high due to reasons given by Chris or Michael elsewhere, a full season is priced competitively given the above.