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The packaging of DVDs between practicality and enjoyment

Del: 02/11/2006


Let’s start with a little test: I have a small collection of films made up of those titles that in some way I consider essential to have on DVD.
The titles are: “Animal House”, “Blues Brothers”, “Apocalypse Now”, “The Hunter”, the slipcase box of the 1st series of “Twin Peaks”.
And now the test: how old am I?
Most of you are probably close to the solution (42-editor’s note), and probably some of you are able to take a good guess at the type of books I am interested in or what kind of clothing I prefer in my free time.
So the so called cultural goods tell many things about us, and, in particular in this article I tackle DVD films that have assumed a function that goes beyond the personal use and enjoyment linked to watching the film itself.
The DVD film is literally watched by he/she who purchases it, but it is also seen by he/she who comes in our home and notices our collection of films exactly like books and music CDs. A collection of well-sorted DVDs is able to provide alone the subject of conversation during a dinner or gathering with friends.
"No! you’ve got the slipcase box of UFO, where did you find it?"
"Fantastic! I saw it a long time ago and I have never been able to find it"
"Do you remember the shooting scene on the staircase?"

Now let’s think of when a movie is given as a present. Giving a movie as a present often means wanting to share an emotion with who receives the gift. I expect the person who receives it , to watch it and tell me what he/she thinks about it, what he/she felt, or in the case it’s a collection slipcase , that he/she appreciates the effort I made to find it or the effort I made to discover his/her tastes. (“How did you know I love X-Files ?”).
The DVD film is, therefore, at the same time a “fast”consumer product that, however, encloses a series of emotional values that make it extremely difficult to outline the logic of marketing and above all the logic related to the packaging.
In this market, actually, the evolution of packaging is following paths that have been for long irregular and fascinating. Some rules which seemed absolutely strict for the choice of the type of packaging are giving in to solutions that make sense more from enjoyment than from practicality. I think that paths that could emerge even in other markets and for other products can be highlighted since the evolution of the DVD packaging and since the attempt to trace the logic that governs the choice of endless existing solutions.

Let’s start by describing some characteristics of the market and of its evolution.
The DVD market is constantly growing since the first home DVD players have appeared, and still today, its development is going on also thanks to the diffusion of CD/DVD players inserted in PCs. The progressive replacement of old VHS players with the DVD players surely guarantees a further growth of the market destined, however, to decline in a short/medium period.
In the meantime, the offer of films has increased exponentially since, besides the films recently produced, a flourishing market of editions on DVD has developed, which covers all the classic filmography, from John Ford to Jaques Tatì , up to the Italian trash or the American B-Movies. Likewise, a flourishing market of pricey TV series collections in slipcase boxes has developed , which include an entire season of titles and that go from the recent CSI to the “cult” like Ufo or Twin Peaks reaching even 60/70 € of value.
Therefore, the availability of DVD is huge and covers each possible area of interest, passion or, at times, mania.
However, the availability of films extends impressively if we add to the official availability also that of the pirate availability so we consider that through the net it is possible today to download a premier film in a few hours or get a duplicated DVD film illegally.
Actually, the normal question that would be natural to ask is: “if it’s so easy to get a film for free why should we why buy it?”. So we start considering the availability of appropriate technology, the practicality of the use of download software and the quality of the films available on the Net, but I prefer to answer with a simple question: would you give a friend a downloaded movie as a birthday present?
If you are shocked by the mere idea, I invite you to think that really, the film that you want to give as a gift can be found on the net or rented and then duplicated. The use of the product in itself would not change but the drawn value of the film changes enormously if it has a suitable packaging and this is still today the best defence of the product that this market displays.



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