Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Rich, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. Rich

    Rich Guest

    Never heard of them until now. Amazing how they make it seem like
    $0.99 is all it costs. The DVDs are mailed (in plain envelopes!)
    so what are the chances of them coming through unscathed?
    They claim upfront that you are warranteed against damage, but
    here is the fine print:

    "In addition, in the event a User claims more three (3) instances of a
    lost, broken, incorrect, scratched or otherwise problematic DVD per
    one hundred (100) DVDs received by that User, Company may, at its sole
    and complete discretion, determine that the User is not eligible for
    the Peersafe Protection Program and Company may elect not to apply any
    credit to the individual's account for such lost, broken, incorrect,
    scratched or otherwise problematic DVDs. In addition to suspending or
    terminating a User's account or access to the Site or Services,
    Company may pursue any remedies available at law."

    The story:
    Your old DVD of "The English Patient" has been sitting on your shelves
    since you got it; meanwhile you want to get the DVD of "Saw II" but
    don't want to pay $20 at a retail store. How do these relate? If
    you're a user of online service Peerflix, you can trade your DVDs for
    different movies at just 99 cents per trade plus the cost of a stamp.

    Peerflix, which was unveiled in September 2005, uses a peer-to-peer
    approach to movie sharing.

    "Peerflix lets people take DVDs they have laying around collecting
    dust, and trade them for movies they want to see," said Billy McNair,
    co-founder of Peerflix.

    McNair said that he and co-founder Danny Robinson conceived the idea
    in 2003, when McNair realized that he was buying children's DVDs for
    his young daughter that Robinson already had for his daughter and
    didn't use anymore.

    Today, Peerflix boasts 200,000 users, all in the United States and
    Canada, according to McNair. He also estimated that tens of thousands
    of trades take place per month, with that number "scaling

    Users keep a list of what DVDs they want, as well as what movies they
    have available to send out. Peerflix matches users up based on
    geography and waiting time.

    When Peerflix asks a user to send a DVD, they supply a document that
    users print out and fold, creating a pre-addressed envelope in which
    to send the disc. At the same time the user is sending that disc out,
    he should be receiving his requested DVD from another user.

    Peerflix charges 99 cents per trade, with no subscription fee, though
    McNair said Peerflix is currently devising a subscription-based plan
    for high-volume users.

    Once a trade is made, the user now owns his new DVD and can keep it or
    re-trade it as he sees fit.

    "A key feature of Peerflix is the legality of it," McNair said.
    "Because ownership does transfer, the Peerflix model is a full legal

    Peerflix runs an internal currency system called Peerbux, which
    assigns values to the discs being traded. Generally most movies are
    worth 2 Peerbux, with new releases worth 3 and low-value discs worth

    Multi-disc sets such as television show box sets are worth more,
    depending on the number of discs in the set.

    When a user trades his DVD, he is credited the appropriate amount of
    Peerbux, which he can then put towards DVDs he wants to acquire.
    McNair said this is done to keep people from getting rid of their
    bargain-rack DVDs in exchange for popular releases.

    "We're trying to protect against users taking older, lower-value
    titles and being able to trade them equally for 'Crash' or 'Walk the
    Line,' for example," said McNair.

    In addition to gaining Peerbux by sending out DVDs, users can also
    purchase them for $5 apiece.

    McNair noted that because of the quick turnover time, new releases are
    often available immediately when they are put on sale.

    "Immediately, there are always new titles the day they come out in the
    system," he said. "Every title, new release or otherwise, is out

    McNair said that while availability improves after getting past the
    release date, "the availability of titles rivals what you would find
    in any retail segment."

    Though many are focused on the online future of films, McNair said he
    is not concerned with online films muscling DVDs out of the market.

    "If you look at real data, (online) is a ways off," he said. "There's
    a very limited amount of content available, and there will be very
    little for years to come."

    McNair said he believes that DVD will be the primary means of viewing
    movies at home for at least the next five years.

    "The average consumer isn't going to be using (the Internet) to watch
    films for a while," he said.

    Copyright 2006 by United Press International

    This news is brought to you by
    Rich, Mar 27, 2006
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