Wacky World of Movie Pricing

The pricing for movies, once they leave the big screen, is, in a word, wacky.

There is no apparent rhyme nor reason for the price structure when purchasing DVD, Blu-ray (BD), or Digital (downloadable, or Cloud-based) formats.

The main prices for discs and packages shown here will be taken from Amazon, one of the most competitive pricing retailers in the world.

Furious 7For our first example let’s look at the upcoming release of Furious 7.  As of today, the pre-order price offered at Amazon for the package containing a BD, DVD, digital (i.e., downloadable via iTunes) and an Ultraviolet (UV) copy (redeemable via VuDu, Flixster, etc.) is $22.33.  There is also available a one-disc DVD-only package available for $19.21.  Or, if you prefer just having the online digital UV version, VuDu offers it for $14.99 (SD, HD, or HDX).

Looking at the prices above, there is absolutely no logic.

Consider that a DVD by itself will cost you $19.21 but for only $3.12 more you can add the Blu-Ray disc plus an iTunes digital copy and a UV copy for your VuDu library.  That makes no sense at all.

The above really makes one ask why it cost so much for the lone DVD version or for just the UV version from VuDu? (Please note that VuDu is owned by Wal-Mart, home of “Live Better. Save Money.”)

Admittedly not all offerings are as generous as Furious 7, so, we will take another movie that has been out for a while.

John WickOn Amazon, today, John Wick is available in DVD and UV (i.e. for Flixster) for $9.69.  If you add the BD to that you may purchase the 3 versions for $11.99.  In the deal the BD is the only additional format, for an extra $2.30.  This is not as good of a deal as Furious 7, but it still shows pretty weird pricing.  However, if you just want the digital version, Flixster offers it for $13.99 SD or $14.99 HD, prices that are higher than either of the other offerings.

InsurgentOne more example.  Insurgent.  The BD/Digital edition is $17.92.  For $13.99 the DVD/Digital is available.  VuDu offers the movie in SD for $17.99, seven cents higher than the BD/Digital package and it is even worse for HD or HDX, with a price of $19.99.  If you have 3D capabilities, for only $19.99 you can get the 3D BD/BD/DVD/Digital package.

As a self-professed movie maniac I had been looking at forgetting BD and DVD altogether and going all digital via VuDu, but when one looks at the above pricing it makes absolutely no sense at all.  Other than for profiteering or price gouging.

Therefore, until the powers that be (movie moguls and retailers) can create a pricing formula that drastically reduces digital-only prices this movie lover will only purchase the best deal for the most versions that may be available (ideally like the Furious 7 package), if only because with that package the companies make less profit compared to the other offerings.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

The U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to uphold, primarily, the constitutionality of the “Affordable Care Act,” also known as “Obamacare,” it has become abundantly clear that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights are no longer the guiding lights of America.

How anyone can possibly conceive that a person’s decision not to purchase health insurance is governed by the “Commerce Clause” is, quite franly, beyond belief.

The “constitutionality” of being “taxed,” as Chief Justice Roberts wrote it, for not purchasing insurance is ludicrous.

This is one giant step toward taking away more rights of the individual, and of the states,  under the guise of our government safeguarding our “civil” or “individual” rights.

This action by the U.S. Supreme Court is not upholding the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  This decision is helping to tear them apart.

What is next?  Getting taxed for not exercising the right to vote? 

This decision fully opens the taxation door to Congress for just about anythihng.

And, don’t forget to ask your duly-elected representative why, if the Affordable Care Act is such a good thing, they are excluded from taking part in what all US citizens must now do, but, instead, get to keep their own government-issued taxpayer-paid insurance benefits.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

The Tax Man Cometh – From Every Direction

Instead of cutting expenses to balance public budgets, politicians at all levels quite simply increase existing, or add new, taxes in hopes of staving off their impending financial doom.

This is probably not a full list of the various federal, state and local taxes (also known by other names) levied on US citizens, through direct taxation or through companies either collecting the tax or passing on these expenses via the purchase price of products, but is fairly lengthy nonetheless.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Air Ticket Tax
Airline Takeoff Segment Tax
Building Permit Tax
Business and Occupation Tax
Candy Tax (not all states)
Capital Gains Tax
Carbon Tax
Cigarette Tax
Coal Severance Tax
Commercial Driver’s License Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Development Impact Tax
Dog License Tax
Electricity Energy Producers Tax
Excise Taxes (Many)
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Franchise Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (approx $0.46/gal)
Generation-skipping Transfer Tax
Gross Receipts Tax
Hospital Facility Utilization Fee Tax
Hotel Occupancy Tax
Hunting License Tax
Individual Mandate Tax (not yet enacted)
Indoor Tanning Salon Tax
Inheritance Tax
International Arrival/Departure Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges
IRS Penalties
Jock Tax (pro athletes)
Liquor License Tax
Liquor Tax

Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medical Equipment Excise Tax (not yet enacted)
Medicare Tax
Metal Mines License Tax
Mineral Severance Tax
Natural Gas Severance Tax
Nursing Facility Bed Tax (not all states)
Oil Severance Tax
Parking Meters
Payroll Surcharge Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Proxy Tax
Rain Water Tax
Real Estate Tax
Rental Car Tax
Road Usage tax
Self-employment Tax
Septic Permit Tax
Service Charge Tax
Ship Passenger Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Sales Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
Soda Tax (not yet enacted)
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Surtax Tax
Telecommunications TDD Service Fee
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Toll Bridge Tax
Toll Road Tax
Toll Tunnel Tax
Tonnage Tax
Traffic Fines
Trailer Registration Fees
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Vendor Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Wholesale Energy Transaction Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Quite a list, to be sure, yet the White House and Congress, year after year, continue to enlarge the public sector (wages, benefits and expenses paid for by citizen’s taxes and fees, etc.), instead of scaling back the size of Big Government.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Drugging the World – Big Pharma and Huge Profits

Anyone who watches television or reads magazines and newspapers has undoubtedly seen the endless number of invitingly happy ads convincing people that they need drugs to be or get better.

Drugs to (supposedly) cure anything that ails a body.

Image by Allspice1

The problem is that the human body does not appreciate drugs in the system. The vast majority of drugs, factually, cannot be safely used.

And most drugs only mask the symptoms of what ails the patient, while, in many cases, causing other issues.

Consider the types of warnings (called possible side effects) that are announced (by law) with various drug ads:

Anxiety; bizarre behavior; black or bloody stools; bloody or dark urine; chest pain; constipation; decreased sexual desire or ability; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; exaggerated reflexes; hallucinations; increased sweating; joint pain; loss of appetite; nausea; nervousness; new or worsening agitation, panic attacks, irritability, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, hostility, inability to sit still or an exaggerated feeling of well-being, restlessness; painful erection; severe allergic reactions; severe or persistent headache; severe or persistent nausea; stomach pains; sudden accidental death; suicidal thoughts or attempts; tiredness; tremors; trouble sleeping; unusual or severe mental or mood changes; vomiting; weight loss; worsening of depression. The list goes on and on.

Despite the warnings, pills are consumed every second of every day.

Why, when drugs can wreak so much havoc, is the annual worldwide sale of prescription drugs approximately $1 Trillion? (Note: the U.S. takes in close to one-third of the international drug revenue total while making up only five percent of the world’s population.)

Image by Bryan Chan

Simply stated, vitamins and natural herbs are relatively inexpensive while drug patents are immensely profitable with the average drug company earning about a 15 percent net profit, substantially higher than almost every other industry that exists…anywhere.

Couple that with the fact that pharmacuetical companies pay kickbacks to medical practitioners for writing drug prescriptions.

All the while, these same ads make idiotic statements like “(fill-in-the-blank) drug is believed to” do something, or “(fill-in-the-blank) drug is thought to do” this other thing. Big Pharma does not even know for sure what happens!

There are safe alternatives to popping pills. Without the side effects. It only takes a little bit of research to avoid the numerous pitfalls connected to drugs.

One place to start is The People’s Chemist, a former medicinal chemist for big pharma who became, through his work and research, a Mother Nature health advocate.

Over For Now.

Main Street One