You can go out at night and see a movie for $10. Watching a movie a night would cost $300 a month.
If you like to own and collect movies, you could buy DVDs and Blu-rays for the same amount of money if you shopped for bargains, ending up collecting 365 movies a year. But if you’re buying a new movie every night to watch, when would you re-watch anything in your collection? Ownership ain’t what it used to be.
Then there’s cable TV. For $80 a month, 24×7 movies, don’t worry about going out, shopping, collecting or shelving.
But for $7.99 a month can join Netflix and get one disc out at a time, and if you watch them immediately, and live in a city with a distribution center, might squeeze in a dozen movies a month, paying 67 cents a movie. $15.99 a month you can get 3 discs out at a time, and probably cover having a movie every night of the month, getting your per flick cost down to 53 cents.
For that same $7.99 you can get Netflix streaming, and theoretically watch twelve 2-hour movies a day all month. $7.99 / (12 x 30), which is about 2 cents a movie, or a more realistic 26 cents a movie if you watching only one a night.
Of course, you could just steal movies on the net and pay 0 cents per movie, but hey, we’re not thieves.
In other words, the Internet makes things cheaper. But does it improve our lives and society to let people watch a movie for 26 cents?
In 1965 I became a record addict, and averaged buying 2 to 4 albums a week until I found Internet Pricing. In the old days I bought LPs, and then CDs. At it’s peak I was spending $200-300 a month on music. Now I spend a flat $9.99 a month at Rdio and get access to over 20 million songs. Internet Pricing strikes again.
My wife and I used to subscribe to the local paper and over twenty magazines. Except for a couple e-magazine subscriptions on my Kindle, I no longer subscribe to periodicals and read stuff off the internet for free.
I’d like to get The New York Times, but at $15 a month is too expensive to what I’ve got accustomed to from Internet Pricing. For $18 a month I get Netflix streaming and Rdio, or tens of thousands of movies, television shows, documentaries, and a couple million albums. So why would I pay $15 for a single daily paper? Why isn’t there a company that charges $7.99 a month to read all newspapers from around the world?
Next Issue charges $15/month for access to 107 magazines. That’s the same price The New York Times charges for 1 newspaper. Sadly, none of my favorite magazines are available through Next Issue (The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, New York Review of Books, Scientific American, Smithsonian, Harpers, Discover, New Scientist, Sky & Telescope, etc.)
See, I’ve been corrupted by Internet Pricing. At one time getting The New York Times for $15 a month would have been a tremendous bargain. Now, I feel it’s too expensive when I compared other content I buy off the Internet. My innate sense of pricing was also distorted by reading the NYT for free online for years, and the fact there are many good newspapers from around the world that are still free to read online.
Would we have a more vibrant economy, with more jobs, if the internet didn’t exist?
I’ve been corrupted by Internet Pricing in other ways. Last month I wanted to buy an issue of Harper’s Magazine to read one article. But I just couldn’t let myself spend $5.99 to read one article. However Harper’s is tempting me. For subscribers to their paper copy, they give access to 163 years of back issues on the internet. I can get a year sub to Harper’s at Amazon for $15. See how Internet Pricing is disruptive? $15 for one month of the NY Times, or $15 for 163 years of Harper’s Magazine for a year. The New York Review of Books recently offered me 10 issues for $10 that included 50 years of online archives. The Rolling Stone also has a similar deal for $19.95 for a 26 issue sub and a complete run of back issues online. I don’t want paper copies of anything, but I do want access to complete archives. However, they won’t sell me just the archive access. Those savvy magazines publishers have figured things out, sell their old technology at normal prices and give Internet Pricing for free. I took the $10 deal, and I’m seriously considering subscribing to magazines again if I get their complete archive.
I go into a bookstore now and it kills me to pay list price for a magazine. I’ve been corrupted by Internet Pricing. Now I might just be a cheapskate, but what if I’m typical. How is being corrupted by Internet Pricing affecting people across the world. What is its impact on GDP?
JWH – 9/23/13