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You know a hi-tech gadget has become a commodity the minute you see its price drop, and it begins to sell like potatoes and onions! Mobile phones are certainly a case in point. With prices dropping to as low as US$17 to US$18, it's difficult to find a person without a mobile in cities like Delhi and Mumbai.
For the last few months, Indians are witnessing a substantial drop in the prices of home entertainment DVDs and VCDs (yes, you still get them here).
The primary reason behind the crash in movie DVD prices has been the entry of a leading data storage company in the home entertainment business. And now, competition has followed suit. Today, new movies hit the stores a few weeks after their release, and at unbelievably low prices.
It's a boon for the consumers. A movie ticket in a multiplex costs around US$3 (about 125 rupee), so a family trip to a multiplex could cost anything above US$20 (popcorns, snack and beverages, included). If you can wait a few weeks, you can view the same movie in the comfort of your home by purchasing the movie DVD for an unbelievable price of US$1.
Despite this, pirates are still thriving. They now give you more value per US$2.50 they charge for a pirated DVD--you get three or four (pirated) films (and often new movies) packed into a DVD.
The crash in movie DVD prices has also hit the neighbourhood movie rental stores. They used to typically charge US$2.50 (100 rupee) per DVD rental per day, and US$1.25 (50 rupee) per VCD rental per day. Now, most of these stores bear an empty look.
I met the head of a leading home video company yesterday, who said his company has begun selling DVDs in carts, similar to the "ice-cream carts" you see in India. This company plans to introduce 7,000 carts around the length and breadth of India within the next 12 months.
This means that rural India, where the theatrical release often happens much later, may now get to view these movies a lot earlier on a DVD. It also spells bad new for pirates!
The best form of selling in India is on a cart. You don't need to pay rent (for a shop), and you don't have to hire a large sales team and spend a fortune on advertising. Vegetables, ice-cream, snacks and even meals on carts are common sight here.
With DVDs now joining that list, the day is not far when mobiles and laptops could also sell on carts!