This is the kind of story that makes Hollywood movie execs cringe with fear:
In consumer electronics, as in much of life, good things happen to those who wait – good things as in plunging prices.
The cost of big-screen televisions, which have been steadily dropping by about 25 percent a year, are now expected to fall even more sharply this autumn, according to industry analysts. The coming markdowns reflect a singular confluence of business trends that will benefit consumers going into the holiday season.
“Prices are pretty much in a free fall,” said David Naranjo, who tracks the television industry for DisplaySearch, a market research firm.
The best evidence of this is the expectation of analysts that in the next few weeks the Panasonic unit of the Matsushita Electric Industrial Company will announce that it is dropping prices as much as $500 on plasma-screen TV’s that retail for around $3,500.
Panasonic officials refused this week to confirm or deny the speculation, but because it sells the most plasma screens in the United States, a potential downward adjustment would be considered a harbinger of a price war for all varieties of big-screen TV’s.
Speaking as someone with my own widescreen HDTV, complete with a decent surround sound system, this is what Hollywood should fear- home theatres popping up all over the country. The only movie I have attended recently is Star Wars, partly because it was a cultural event, partly because my inner geek refused to stay home. Other than that, every other movie I have seen lately is at home after it has been released on DVD.
Add to a dying business the slim offerings from Hollywood, and you can see the problem. Literally. They need to change their business model, and the day of direct to dvd releases is soon approaching.
In other news, as if to reinforce my point, the number one movie in the nation is “The 40 Year-Old Virgin,” which stars Comedy Central’s Steve Carell, and not, as I initially suspected, 2000 Presidential candidate Al Gore. Even though everyone ‘knows’ Al Gore is really quite enjoyable in person, of course.