Archive for June, 2012

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If you were not on Amazon in the past year, you probably are unaware of the changes Amazon has made to their selling structure. In the past, all third party sellers were listed under new and used links and everyone was responsible for their inventory and shipping them out themselves. Then Amazon announced the Fulfillment by Amazon program (FBA hereout) where a seller can send to Amazon their inventory for them to handle and buyers would reap the same benefits as if buying from Amazon themselves. The trust in this for buyers was the security that they were getting the item and that any problems would be handled in the same fashion as Amazon handles their own items. This posed a double edged sword for sellers as the item was more or less out of their control when it came to reliable buyers, returns, etc. With the success of FBA, Amazon created a “buy box” (a button designated for quick purchase to the cart from the product page) for used items. If more than one FBA seller appeared, the lowest price prevailed. However, this had its limits depending on the price in relation to the MSRP. Finally, in late Januray and early February, Amazon announced that sellers using FBA would receive the buy box on the product page for new titles. Cheapest price prevails, so if you are lower priced than Amazon, your item is being sold on the main product page which states the sellers name “Fulfilled by Amazon”.

Earlier in the year, Amazon and a number of sellers flooded the market with out of print Paramount titles in varying quantities. This became a boon and a hinderance for all sellers and perhaps even buyers. Initially it seemed promising as it allowed sellers to pick up some titles that they might have missed. But then the amount available seemed to outweigh the investment. Following this were some sellers that seemed to have equal or larger quantities than Amazon. On top of this were sellers putting in the French/Canadian versions (which has French type on front, spine and back in addition to English), but with different UPC code. The problem this posed were sellers filtering it through the FBA and seeing the buy box, which does not have any description from the buyer posted on the product page. Most of these sellers are not writing any desctption, or with perhaps the minimal descroption as “brand new”. Sadly this creates a poor reflection on Amazon’s handling of what people are selling to FBA. Certainly sellers (discussed in the forum) are even selling items as new, but clearly are repackaged, or as used in “very good” or “like new” but are previous rental versions without any notice of this being the case. So I recommend you reading some of the feedback on some of these sellers to smell out some of the problems that are trendy in their selling.

The other dilemma that has been created through the new approach of selling on Amazon are larger sellers using FBA to blowout their buys at competitive prices with hundreds or even thousands of copies competing with either Amazon or the lowest price merchant seller. For collectors, this could be a boon, while for the seller, its a hinderance. Ultimately, the DVD is becoming devalued through these warehouse dumping that Paramount did, and by mixing the US version with the French version, and Amazon’s non-compliance of their own policies has crashed the prices on most of these once valuable titles. Some have managed to recover, while others will probably take a long time or never be recovered from this. 

Unfortunately, Paramount is not the only culprit. Following this some months later, it is evident that Warner has dumped their own warehouse to a number of large sellers and similar problems have cropped up. A number of sellers are selling Canadian versions of Casablanca I have found. And no doubt plenty of other Warner titles are being sold in this manner, either through merchant or FBA filters. Some other studios like Sony and Universal have some dumping of titles, either through sellers or stores, these warehouse clearance has devalued the DVD all together, where the expectancy of the buyer is that prices are cheaper than ever. It is also seen that brick and mortar stores are also following suit with this pricing structure. The competition is tougher than ever and Amazon seems to have become the Mecca of selling and buying online for any and all things. Places like eBay seem to have been marginalized by their changes in the past few years, upsetting the sellers where they migrated to other arenas, either their own website, Amazon or another third party seller platform, unfortunately, after Amazon, the competition is scarce or rife with bootlegs. 

On the brighter side, although DVD’s have come down in value, the DVD itself is not dead. Despite streaming getting more attention, the DVD is still priority for the studios as they have a much better profit margin than streaming, and sales are still dominant over the new technology. In addition, blu-ray is also keeping the fans attention for higher quality playback, even if the turnout of titles are slower (although statistics show the progress of sales to be the same as the DVD within the same timeframe). With that said, although I have not updated this page in a while due to my own business, there are some interesting stuff happening in the DVD world that needs to be highlighted for those that have are not aware of the changes. So what follows are some of the interesting stuff that has been discontinued. As always, status is subject to change at anytime without notice.

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