Freakonomics defined: cut out middleman; charge same price; pocket the difference

When I heard that Freakonomics was going to be released online a month before its release in theaters, I was delighted. This, I gathered, was the shape of things to come. A film by some of my favorite filmmakers coming straight to my living room. Cut out the middleman, woo hoo!

So imagine my surprise when I sat down this evening to watch the film on iTunes, and discovered that the price to rent the film is $10.99 for HD, or $9.99 for standard def. That’s the same price I pay when I drive to my local movie theater. Hmmm. Apparently Apple and Freakonomics are showing us the future of film distribution. And here’s how it works: cut out the middleman, charge the same price, and pocket the difference. Cha ching. They don’t call it Freakonomics for nothing, folks.

But me? I’m not buying it. I’d rather give my money to the middleman than get shaken down like this. Besides, paying that money to my neighborhood theater will at least benefit the local economy more than paying it to Apple will, now that they’ve blown past Microsoft in valuation. I’ll sit out this revolution until I have a better sense that it’s one I want to be part of.

2 thoughts on “Freakonomics defined: cut out middleman; charge same price; pocket the difference

  1. Daniel Bean

    Good call, Dan. I love it when big corporations think the average person is so stupid that they can pull stuff like this. I agree 100%: digital distribution should require far less overhead than physical distribution and thus be cheaper. But instead of passing on those savings to the consumer, they try to pocket it for themselves. Tricky, very tricky.

    1. Dan

      I expect more from Apple. I’ve been a huge Apple fan since the days of the original Mac, watching with a kind of pride while they slowly kept making better and better products backed by brilliant distribution systems. Now they are king of the mountain. And I suppose that always changes things. The good news is: if they blow it bad enough, that opens up an opportunity for someone else willing to “think different.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.