/ NEWS: Climbing DVD's - A Price War?
"I've slowly come to the view that £20 is simply too much to pay for a climbing film, even for the best ones."
Jack Geldard talks to several film makers and looks at the digital revolution and its effect on climbing media.
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=50171
a price war....i hope so. can we also get one on climbing shoes?
"One thing that did strike me is that the rock climbing guidebook market is different to that of climbing DVD's as no online alternative currently exists that competes with a printed book."
Surely the online alternative to a printed guidebook is a pdf guide that can be downloaeded and printed by the user?
> a price war....i hope so. can we also get one on climbing shoes?
Dream on. Chatting to a Scarpa chap, they lose money on climbing shoes at current prices.
> a price war....i hope so. can we also get one on climbing shoes?
Climbing shoes are the same price generally as they were almost 20 years ago.
Try upto £25 for that new 80's DVD from Urban Rock!
I think climbing films are very expensive. If I was to make a film for sale I think I would risk a high volume, low price, download only (this cuts a lot of cost and makes the marginal cost of each film 0) approach. Maybe Euro 5 a copy. People was always borrow and rip DVDs, some will even feel guilty about it. But 20+ Euro is a lot of money.
Yes, or a guidebook that was delivered direct to your phone.
The point is that neither of these exist in any way currently that actually competes much with printed guidebooks. There are a few small scale operations, but nothing that really takes significant sales away. It will happen though, but the situation doesn't compare with DVD where online video watching is becoming the norm for some people.
> Climbing shoes are the same price generally as they were almost 20 years ago.
Indeed. I recently found a recent for what would have been my third pair of boots, bought in 1988, for £75 !
DVDs are totally different to guides, chance is you'll use a guidebook many times, and watch a DVD a few times, I think the price comparison is unfair. Guidebooks offer amazing value for money, except of course my Yosemite one. Not to say a book doesn't take any more or any less work to produce than a film.
It would simply be superb to do this, but quite prohibitive without the wealth of data to make it viable.
All this said, for me personally, the flaw in any digital guide is the same as any media conversion over to digital, it lacks the tactility that is often so very important.
hey remind me to chip in for that....oh hang on....
> All this said, for me personally, the flaw in any digital guide is the same as any media conversion over to digital, it lacks the tactility that is often so very important.
It ain't an either or thing though. But both. Print will never die but will survive alongside digital I reckons.
I like touching things too.
Being an expert on the cost of production, and distributor and retail margins perhaps you would like to explain.
Don't forget to factor in exchange rates and tax.
Personally, if climbing vids could be downloaded for £1 - £3 (what I pay to download a music album and other films) , then I would download a lot. I can't justify the cost of paying £15-£20 for any video that I am likely to watch once.
Guidebooks are a different matter. I have numerous ones that I have never used (Lundy, Meirionnydd) that sit on my shelf waiting for their special day!
Agree, here are some examples to illustrate your point:
Peak Gritstone East £18.95 = 6.5p per route and continuing to diminish
Cloggy £15.50 = £15.50 per route
Cascades de glace en Suisse Romande = £45 (€50) including postage and might not even go there this year!
£95 for a pair of rock shoes that will last 6 months is a piss take frankly.
I'd never even noticed Keith was asking for donations when I downloaded l'Etranger. If you want something like that to work you should put a donation link right next to the download link, make it impossible to miss. Anyway, just sent a small contribution because I like such a system.
You are out at a crag. You hold up your iphone with the guide app open, you see the crag as you would via the camera (full screen image). The augmented reality bit would then overlay all the route/problem information onto this live image, long with any other information that could be included. Move the phone left or right at the crag, and the routes all appear in real time. Information displayed could be anything from a line running the up the route, grade, star rating etc. Links to vids etc etc.
> £95 for a pair of rock shoes that will last 6 months is a piss take frankly.
Why? Have you any idea how much they cost to make? Are you willing to allow the maufacturer and retailer any margin?
The uppers will last far longer than 6 months, ever thought about getting a re-sole?
Just because they seem expensive to you doesn't mean they're taking the piss.
Exactly. Not SciFi at all!
Augmented reality is going to be the future undoubtedly, but from an image processing view it's going to be a while before the tech is good enough to recognise crags in real time - espcially given the varied lighting and weather conditions you can expect to find while out climbing.
I've no doubt the tech will arrive eventually, but don't hold your breath!
If the BMC or someone developed an iphone app (essentially a PDF reader) and did climbing guide pdf downloads at say half the price of the print versions I'd buy loads of them. I buy print guides too, especially to places like stanage with gazillions of climbs, but I'd probably buy more on the phone so I don't have to lug a massive doorstop around when not required.
I've worked in the music industry most of my life and it was a complete inability to engage with technology and the marketplace that has led to the death of the UK recording industry.
> If the BMC or someone developed an iphone app (essentially a PDF reader) and did climbing guide pdf downloads at say half the price of the print versions I'd buy loads of them. I buy print guides too, especially to places like stanage with gazillions of climbs, but I'd probably buy more on the phone so I don't have to lug a massive doorstop around when not required.
Yes both! Rockfax have this planned!
I usually buy it for 20 then sell em for a tenner.
As for books, I think the versatiliyy of books is unmatched. If you, anything like me live far away from any crag I have to go "armed" with info on an entire area. Lets you drive up and your chosen place is, wet, crowded, not in condition etc bla bla With a book you can just flip and go somewhere else.
The phone idea is awesome, but then you probs have reliability issues, would you really risk a weekend away and then you phone might die etc etc
R&R WOULD PROBS make £40 out of that which is quite a lot considering all they have to do is put a box into a bag and stick a label on it.
> Yes, or a guidebook that was delivered direct to your phone.
I can't believe that less than 0.5% of the downloaders of Keth Bradbury's L'Etranger actually donated. I find that a disgrace. The guy goes to great lengths to make a decent film (far better than higher budget productions) and people don't feel it neccessary to reimburse him.
I now see why he is charging outright for his new production. I donated £15 for L'Etranger and can't wait to part with £12 for Between The Trees.
Dig a bit deeper you tight fisted skinflints.
Is nobody else concerned about the combination of dirty, chalky crag hands and expensive phones? My guidebooks get into 'used' condition pretty fast, I wouldn't want my phone going the same way.
and what happens when you do a nice thrutchy chimney route? Leave the expensive phone at the bottom of the crag? Or put it in a pocket and hope it survives the ascent?
> Dig a bit deeper you tight fisted skinflints.
I think I watched it - it was just bouldering at Font wasn't it? I don't actually remember seeing a request for donations, I definitely didn't pay. I remember enjoying bit of the film and thinking it was well made, but I fast forward through bits. I definitely wouldn't have bought a copy as I'm not that interested in bouldering (hence the FFwding). I guess that was Keith's experiment, load of people like me have seen the film who would not have if it had been a paid for DVD and know his name and skills as a film maker. We wouldn't have if he had charged for it. It would be interesting to know how many people would have, say, paid £1 to download it. Is any cost a barrier or is a certain price low enough to get a big audience?
As far as the tech goes, everything is pretty much there, but obviously has accuracy issues.
For me, the paper route wins hands down.
Something that can be forgotten is that the filmmakers do not get anywhere near the £19.99 RRP.
For a UK climbing film, that RRP's at £19.99, this is a basic breakdown.
For the filmmakers, it costs anywhere from £1 - £2.50 per unit, depending on the quantity of DVDs you are willing to risk buying in bulk. Then the UK's climbing media distributer purchases the DVD's from the filmmakers at around £9.55, to sell to the shops at around £10.55.
So if we say a DVD costs the filmmaker £2, then the distributer buys it for £9.55, this leaves the filmmaker with £7.55 per unit, no where near the RRP that we pay as consumers.
It's a very small market, it's not like a Batman DVD release which will sell millions and cost less than 5p per unit to produce.
However, £20 does seem like way too much money for a usually 60 minute film, that you may only watch once or twice. The future is undoubtedly in high quality HD Downloads, in fact it's not the future, it's been happening for years, but it seems like climbing films are catching up. It's cheaper for the producers as they don't need to pay for duplication, distribution etc, and consumers alike as this brings the overall cost down. If there was an option to download at maybe a tenner and burn your own physical DVD, do you think that would interest people?
One thing that we could do to help ensure future high-quality releases, is to buy directly from the filmmakers websites, therefore avoiding shop fees and helping out the filmmakers at no extra cost to the consumer.
It would be a positive and a negative thing if major corporate sponsors got involved to pay some of the overhead and bring the price of a DVD down. Obviously the main positive is exactly that, the DVD would be cheaper... Perhaps they'd help pay for the best kit and this would help deliver a superior product. Maybe we might one day catch up with skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing and have high-quality DVDs being given out for free in magazines several times a year.
The negatives of major sponsorship, as hinted at in the article, is that they'll need major exposure and perhaps taint the film. This will probably mean obvious adverts at the start and end of the film. But more than that, and it's been happening in 'mainstream extreme sports' for a while, is product placements. I really think this would get tiresome very quickly, and generally put a downer on a potentially enjoyable film. Really, do we care about the brand of wrist watch, mobile phone and sunglasses? Because this is probably what we'd have to endure, as most (not all) climbing companies just don't have enough money. It would be major advertisers who'd have the cash to pluck up for something like this.
It'll definately be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of years.
Yup, I'd never seen it before, bought it, and felt thouroughly ripped off!
> R&R WOULD PROBS make £40 out of that which is quite a lot considering all they have to do is put a box into a bag and stick a label on it.
How about staff costs, the carriage costs,the cost of keeping a warehouse full of stock, rent,rates, insurance etc etc etc.
You could exercise free will and:
1) Choose to buy a guidebook instead of a smartphone app. No-one's twisting yer arm.
2) Buy both and only use the phone app for non-thrutchy chimney routes.
3) Buy a sleeve for your phone
4) Plan your climb carefully at home
5) Give the phone to your belayer
But surely that's stating the obvious
1) is an argument for books against gadgets
2) means you leave the phone at home/in the car when there's a risk of a thrutchy route so is also an argument for books against gadgets
3) protects the phone but leads to bruised ribs so is another argument for books against gadgets
4) entirely negates the point of having a phone guide rather than a book so is yet another argument for books against gadgets
5) leads to the destruction of your phone when it's the belayers turn to climb and tries unsuccessfully to throw the phone up to you so they can keep their ribs intact
I'm convinced, I'd better take out a 3g contract :)
Just a quick explanation on the tech problems for alternative reality guidebooks, where you would point your iphone or whatever at the crag, and have the route lines overlayed in realtime on teh feed from the camera.
The problem is not with GP/compass data, or even 3g data. It lies with the processing of the image and recognition of features. Even if the GPS tells the phone exactly where it is and in which direction it's facing (itself not guaranteed) then the machine has to identify the crag in the current image with some database of crag photos. Given the myriad of angles from which you can view a crag, and myriad of lighting conditions*, to be able to recognise and overlay crag diagrams in real time is still fantasy land.
* to a computer, two photos of a the same crag, from the same angle and distance, but at different times of day and weather (misty, dull morning vs evening long shadows) may as well be photos of the moon vs the white-house.
Not a technophile then.
At the risk of being pedantic I shall reply to your thoughts on points 1 to 5
1) Cobblers. It's an argument for both in different situations.
2) See above.
3) I suggest you take up a safer sport
4) Is an argument for neither at the crag
5) Get a more manly belayer
Seriously though, my point is that I like technology that helps me do stuff - a book is technology. I always have my phone with me so why not stick a route guide in it. Whether I leave it in the car or whatever depends on what I'm doing. :)
> £95 for a pair of rock shoes that will last 6 months is a piss take frankly.
Sportiva made the decision to charge what it costs to make a pair of shoes, many other manufactures would love to put their prices up too. Prices haven't gone up in many years, expect this to change.
> ...But then am a luddite and will probably eat my words in the future...
Not at all. I'm a computer geek and agree with much of what you say!
I do think such innovations are inevitable (the first iPhone guidebook can't be that far away), I merely wanted to point out that the leap between "guidebook on phone" and "phone drawing lines automatically on the crag picture" was a bigger one that one might think.
> the first iPhone guidebook can't be that far away
Elsewhere on the site
The Grivel A&D Ascender & Descender is brand new for Autumn 2014 and incorporates a revolutionary and innovative patented... Read more
Pete Whittaker has flashed the 32 pitch route Freerider 5.12d on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley over three days,... Read more
Nuts, wires, stoppers, chocks, wedges, whatever you want to call them, have been around for a long time. Initially made from... Read more
From a personal point of view, photographing the night sky is one of the most difficult, frustrating yet ultimately rewarding... Read more
This survey is being conducted by the Outdoor Industries Association in order to find out more about how and why people... Read more