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And Now for Some Really Creative Ways to Use EZ-Ds

16 Oct, 2003 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I don't know yet how Disney's disposable disc test is going, but let me tell you, I'd bet my three sons that no one's going to buy a disc for $6.99 that's good for only 48 hours before it self destructs if they can go into any Wal-Mart and buy top-quality catalog titles — even real hotties like MGM's special edition of When Harry Met Sally — for $5.88.

That said, I don't think the folks at Flexplay have a complete turkey on their hands — although if you've seen the package, it does bear an uncanny resemblance to lunch meat.

The way I see it, EZ-D is simply in the wrong market.

I can see two far better uses:

  • It's a great way to solve the screener issue. As you may have read, the Motion Picture Association of America has instituted a ban on Oscar screeners because too many of the movie-only discs are winding up on eBay or in the hands of pirates. Awards voters, meanwhile, are in a tizzy because now they have to physically go to screenings and the problem is, many of the smaller pictures simply don't play in Peoria, which puts independent films at a decided disadvantage.

    EZ-D to the rescue. The little things are only good for 48 hours after opening, so there's little risk of them being sold on the black market. Studios can send the discs out to award voters — and probably save a little on postage, because the packaging is so flimsy. The recipient can then watch the film and chuck it — which I presume many of them did (with their ancient movie-only videocassettes) before eBay came along.

  • EZ-D also offers game manufacturers a way around the rental conundrum. They want fans to try their games, but they hate the concept of rentals because they don't get to share in the spoils. It's the same mindset the studios had in the early days of video rental, and which they continued to have until revenue-sharing gave them a way to get their much-longed-for cut.

    With EZ-D, they don't have to worry about retailers buying them and then renting them out over and over again because the damn things commit suicide after a mere two days.

    Consumers can buy them for a few bucks — as opposed to $40 and up for a real game disc — and joystick away for two whole days before they decide whether to go all the way with the real deal.

    Flexplay execs, you can send my consultancy check directly to me, care of this magazine.

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