Fox Goes Digital: NO MORE DVD and Blu-ray Screeners UNLESS..

Stuart Galbraith IV
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:24 pm
Name: Stuart Galbraith IV

Fox Goes Digital: NO MORE DVD and Blu-ray Screeners UNLESS..

Postby Stuart Galbraith IV » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:02 pm

Don't be so proud:

Fox Home Entertainment is proud to announce we've gone digital with our brand new online screening room! This comprehensive online destination will be the primary tool for reviewing Fox releases, and gives users early quick and easy access to the latest film and television releases along with hours of bonus material that will be featured on Blu-ray and DVD.

All of us here at the OFCS urgently need to take a stand rather than passively bemoan the supposed death of physical media and complain among ourselves.

Many of us are writing reviews primarily because it gives us access to DVDs and Blu-rays we otherwise couldn't afford. Is the website you write for paying you $50,000/year to write reviews? Probably not, and if the negligible compensation many of us receive in the form of "free" DVDs and Blu-rays gets taken away, too, what's the point?

Fox has pulled this stuff before and backed off every time. Some of you may remember when, for TV season sets, they tried sending us only the first and last disc in a paper sleeve! They backed down when we declined to review such garbage.

We don't have to roll over and put up with this.

Even if it becomes possible for me to log in and watch these so-called virtual screeners from far-flung Japan, I simply will not do that, for all the reasons John and others have noted above and more. Why roll over and accept it?

I've heard from those who've gained access to the site that:

Video won't play on some browsers
Image is watermarked with "Property of 20th Century-Fox" at the top of the frame
Image quality is terrible

And, of course, as one colleague puts it, "It's like sending a photo of duck a l'orange to a restaurant reviewer."

We've got plenty of other product to review, from distributors willing to provide real copies of things. If we, as a group, give into Fox now, I guarantee you the other majors will follow, then the indie labels, and then there will be nothing left to review.

I urge each of you to simply refuse to review Fox (and, through their distribution agreement, MGM also, no?) titles available to reviewers only in this manner.

And I urge the OFCS to do likewise, to state publicly that, as a matter of policy, members should only accept consumer copy screeners when writing Blu-ray and DVD reviews.

If we stand together, Fox will have no choice but to drop this incredibly stupid strategy.

Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:51 pm
Name: Robert Roten

Re: Fox Goes Digital: NO MORE DVD and Blu-ray Screeners UNLE

Postby ruralcritic1 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:23 pm

I don't favor a boycott, but I am perfectly willing to put Fox at the bottom of my list for movies I will have time to see before the end of the year.

Part of the problem with a boycott is that we'd be fighting a technological change by clinging to the past. It also makes it look like we care more about getting free disks than we care about the quality of movies we see.

We could argue that streaming video is inferior to DVDs or Blurays, but that all depends on the video quality being offered online and the bandwidth we have to access it. The bandwidth we have available to us varies widely depending on where we happen to live and what we can afford to pay for it. So this is not a straightforward argument.

One of the best films I saw during the last awards season was "Short Term 12" and that was only available online. I would not want to miss that film due to a boycott. On the other hand, the video and audio quality of that film, as I received it, and some others available only online, was far inferior to a DVD, let alone a Bluray. This becomes increasingly obvious when you view it on a big screen and listen to it on a surround sound system. Ideally, we'd want a visual-audio experience as close to a well-equipped theater as possible.

Instead of a boycott, I would favor a statement to the studios, distributors or publicists who control screeners that we would prioritize our viewing of screeners in the following way: Blu-rays first, dvds second and online third, while reminding them that we have only a short time to view all films submitted before the voting deadline. We could subtly hint that it would behoove them to give us screeners as soon as possible in the highest video-audio quality possible.

Up until last year, I used to view these films in the order I received them, and I was able to view them all before the voting deadline. Because the deadlines were moved up last year to a much earlier date, I had to change my priorities, and was unable to view them all before the deadline, but I did view them all eventually and reviewed them all. I don't like the way our deadlines keep moving to earlier award voting dates, but this could work to our advantage if we issue the sort of statement I suggest about our screener viewing priorities.

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