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Bargain prices for DVDs--in China

In an attempt to ward off video piracy in China, Warner Home Video has begun testing sales of the DVD of the Leonardo di Caprio film "The Aviator" for just 12 yuan, or around $1.50.

China DVD

The "simple pack" edition of movie, which is packaged in a cardboard folder as opposed to a plastic DVD box, went on sale earlier this month in selected Chinese cities, Christine Hu, CAV Warner public relations manager told the Financial Times.

The Chinese market is enormous, but piracy problems and governmental regulations have made it difficult for movie studios (to say nothing of software companies). Whether this will help remains to be seen; bloggers were more concerned about the message it sends to American customers.

Blog community response:

"Maybe if we start pirating really really hard, movie studios will stop reaming us with prices on next-gen DVD titles."

"After all, if the Chinese earned themselves the privilege of movies released earlier and cheaper than the US by way of rampant piracy, then perhaps rampant piracy is needed in America before Hollywood will wake up to the world it's actually in - not the one it thinks it's in."
--Ryan Block

"I realize that it's hard to see the good idea here through our collective rage at having to pay $20 or so for a disc that can apparently be sold for profit at $1.50, but one has to give them credit for trying something new. It'll be interesting to see if this has any effect on sales, or if people just keep buying pirated discs -- at this point, Warner representatives in China say it's too early to tell."