Why should first run movies at home cost $3,000?


A new service called Red Carpet was announced, which will offer first-run movies in the homes of the very wealthy. You need a $15,000 DRM box and movie rentals are $1,500 to $3,000 per rental. That price is not a typo.

So I wrote an article pondering why that is, and why this could not be done at a price that ordinary people could afford, similar to the price of going to the movies.

It's at Are Red Carpet $3000 first run movies the best future?


Red Carpet Home Cinema has no interest in serving ordinary people. This is the latest example of the tech industry's shift toward the plutocratic economy. Tesla, Apple, Surf Air (elite Silicon Valley airline) are more examples of Tech pursuing more and more expensive products for the rich rather than better and cheaper products for ordinary people. And the trend is not limited to Tech. Ford gave up making cars because why sell a $25K car when you can sell a $70K SUV?

Aviation is one of the more visible manifestations of plutocracy. Last Saturday I flew my tiny two-seat propellor airplane to the Truckee airport near Lake Tahoe, CA. I parked next to a $10 million Phenom microjet. There were several other similar jets parked nearby. Truckee has gained a control tower to manage the increase in private jet traffic. I have seen this same trend at other airports. On any given weekend at the Napa airport will be at least a dozen private jets (last time I was there I counted 29). None of these jets even existed when I started flying 25 years ago. Airlines continue to squeeze seat pitch, cut amenities, and pile on fees, but rich people can sip champagne in their private sky limos. I wonder if there will be a Red Carpet Airborne Cinema?

Oddly, I think it would have been much easier for the private jet services to get the right to do first run movies than to arrange to let people have them at home. Controlled environment, like a cinema.

Red Carpet is a Hollywood venture, not a silicon valley one, or so it says.

Of course they could do this cheaply. That isn't the point. Neither is any concern about piracy. By offering this as a luxury good, the studios create a new revenue stream at little extra cost. If they get just 100 people with too much money to pony up $3,000 to see a new film, they just brought in $300,000 of revenue. This isn't cannibalizing existing revenue to a significant degree, since there previously was no mechanism for those rich people to pay such an extravagant amount. This is free money for the studio.

Of course this only works if they can persuade said rich people to adopt this form of conspicuous consumption. It might work. Rich people have adopted forms of conspicuous consumption sillier than this.

Indeed, that is their plan. I say even more revenue could be had by accepting that the future is here, and allowing it to even more people. Now, the sad part is that cinemas are definitely the place to see comedies and other movies with audience reaction, but they are no longer the best place for anything else.

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