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Respect your Customer


This is where I write about what interests me.

Respect your Customer

James Stratford

Last night I sat down with my brother to watch Looper on Blu-ray. I put the disc in and it span up. You probably know what happened next. We were advertised to. This is an old gripe that has been written about many times but we weren't just subjected to film trailers. To be honest I don't mind sitting through film trailers when I sit down to watch a film, although I disagree with them being there on principle and they just seem downright silly when you watch an older disc and the trailers are for films from years ago. As much as I feel they shouldn't be on my disc, I can live with them as long as they can be skipped and at least the astonishingly stupid anti-piracy lectures of old weren't present.

What was different this time was that after three film trailers, a fourth advert came on — an advert for Maltesers! I am sitting in my own living room watching a film I have paid £10 for and the distribution company has the audacity to make a cheap buck off selling an advert to Mars, Inc. I'm not watching broadcast television, I'm watching a Blu-ray disc. I've even paid a c.40% premium over the DVD so I can watch this film in 1080p. You had a product I wanted, TriStar(Sony)/FilmDistrict, and I paid for that product. Don't then sell my time - my viewing experience - to earn a little more.

It's a laboured point, Hollywood, but you don't seem to be getting it. If I had downloaded this film illegally or even through iTunes I would not have had to sit through those adverts! Open your minds and just think about that. If you want to retain control of your income streams then provide the consumer with the best experience. Is that not business 101? If I had downloaded Looper illegally you would have made precisely £0.00. If I had gone through iTunes you would have had to pay Apple 30%. Instead, I bought your disc and my reward was adverts. This might earn you money in the short term but it loses you goodwill and you need look no further than the ravaged music industry to see what that leads to in the internet age.

Incidentally, I have never in my life felt as disinclined to buy a packet of Maltesers as I am right now. I love Maltesers but now that brand is associated with an act of corporate greed. The disrespect shown in shoe-horning an advert into my premium, paid-for viewing experience only garners my disdain for your product. That's not just a cerebral reaction, it's an instinctive gut reaction that I will not be alone in feeling.

I enjoyed the film very much. However I won't be buying any Maltesers for a while.

…but I digress.