Thursday, July 23, 2009

Disney policy: a case of plain ethics?

Walking through her local JB Hi-Fi, Josephine Lewis was puzzled when she could not find a copy of her favourite Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast. It was only after discussion with a staff member that Mrs Lewis discovered the animated film has been off commercial shelves for six years.

From the early 1990s, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment have maintained the practice of releasing its animated features on home video for a finite amount of time before placing them on moratorium. Here, numerous discontinued movies sit in the Disney vault for up to ten years until they are re-released to the general public.

Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition, the most recent Disney release, was available for retail purchase from October 2002 to January 2003. Since then, Disney have postponed sales in the name of re-rendering footage for a digital 3-D release in October 2010.

The knowledge of Disney's policy shocked Mrs Lewis, 39, who was disappointed with the prospect of waiting another sixteen months to own a copy of the film.

"I would prefer to do without 'platinum' and 'diamond' editions with bonus features and 3D versions if it meant I could buy it whenever I wanted,” she said.

The Walt Disney Company have justified their conduct in the name of controlling their market and allowing Disney films to be 'fresh' for new generations of young children. Mrs Lewis believes this will have an aversive effect.
“Kids grow up with these movies, and to disable them from having easy access to the films, which are after all made for them, is a slap in the face,” she said.

Disney films are now prime targets for counterfeit DVD manufacturers since their collectible status has driven up prices for authentic versions of the film. On auction websites such as Ebay and Amazon, prices reach as high as US $130.

A fellow Disney fan, Michelle Miller, 28, condemns the company's practice of artificial scarcity, calling it elitist behaviour.

“Disney hold quite a lot of power in the movie-making and distributing world, and to control supply so greedily is unfair to their loyal supporters,” she said.

“No one wants to be forced to wait seven years or more until they can legally own their favourite film, and neither do they want to spend double or triple the retail price to buy it now; it's disgraceful.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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