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Observations That Defy Logic

11 Jan, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner

First I went out on an extended Thanksgiving holiday and came back to Blockbuster bidding for Hollywood. Then I went out over Christmas and New Year's and came back to a full-scale bidding war. This battle for a shrinking market generates some kind of news — or at least posturing masquerading as news — pretty much every week. If everybody would just stop threatening to buy, sue or take over their competitors for five minutes, I might actually get some work done or — horrors! — have time to watch a DVD.

I did have time for a few leisure pursuits over the holidays. Not that any one cares about my trip over the meadow and through the woods, but this holiday I did see a few amusing things or just plain head-scratchers:

  • For example, my brother asked for the special edition of The Princess Bride DVD for Christmas. My mother gave him The Princess Diaries. Now, I know she's not in the industry, but shouldn't the box art be a clue? Wouldn't you be a little concerned if your fortysomething son wanted The Princess Diaries?

  • Then I was doing some business online and using my Paypal account. Whenever Paypal hooks up with a new business partner, the login screen sends you to a promo screen before you go to your account. So when I logged in, Paypal eagerly informed me that I could pay for iTunes music downloads with Paypal. OK, so that is a natural fit. But the promo said if I sign up for iTunes now, I can get five free downloads “while supplies last.” Isn't the whole nut of what has had the content industry's knickers in a twist for the past four years the fact that the supply never runs out?

  • Finally, on a trip to a mass merchant, I spotted a new breed of $3 discs. But I had to laugh when I saw the stickers on the sleeves: “$3. Security Device Inside.” At that price, the security device and sticker probably cost more than the DVD.

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