EC DVD probe beano
Nothing more than an extended jolly?
Is rip-off Britain about to benefit from the EC DVD price probe? Of course it is, says Mike Smith:
Tsk, tsk. Fancy saying that the EC probe will go nowhere. Nothing could be further from the truth!
What will happen of course, is that a team of EC investigators will be sent over to America pronto on a fact-finding tour. Given that their carefully contructed assessments of the DVD market will show that DVD sales rise over the summer, they will have to spend the summer in the more prominent retail centres - Miami, New York, Long Beach, LA, San Francisco etc - buying large quantities of newly-released DVDs and comparing their prices to those on this side of the pond.
They will of course then have to ensure that there are no quality factors which could influence a pricing differential, so they will have to spend long hard hours watching the DVDs on a range of players, ranging from laptops to home theatre systems.
It will be very important to ensure that seasonal variations aren't affecting the prices, so the poor hard-worked investigators will have to spend at least a year examining the longer-term price fluctuations. They will be unlikely to find any, but it's important for EU consumer confidence that the investigation is carried out.
They will have to spend quality time freeloading some corporate hospitality from the media companies. Naturally, Time Warner and company will be keen to reassure our brave EC champions that there is no cartel and the higher prices are caused by shipping costs/ overhead in collecting royalties / the banana dispute / our reluctance to fully support Star Wars / Northern Ireland (delete as applicable). This will of course be a consultative process, which is likely to run on for about 18 months or so.
The final conclusion will of course be that everything's hunky-dory, and it's all our fault for not being Yanks. We can probably expect a report full of whitewash about two years from now.
By which time DVD writers should become affordable, in fact. We know what will happen then - and serve the thieving gits right.
Indeed. Several Vulture Central hacks have offered their services to the EC. We've heard that DVD prices in the Seychelles need close scrutiny...