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Topic: Streaming Videos
Message: Posted by: illusion123 (Aug 20, 2010 04:58AM)
Merchant Of Magic in the UK have just launched Streaming Videos. This is where you purchase a DVD which would be held in your own personal media vault. You can then log into 24/7 and watch your DVD. I must admit that I am not comfortable with this idea at all. First of all the streaming is the same price as getting a physical DVD, which I thought should be cheaper considering there are no materials involved.

I also like to watch the DVDs on my TV. I know you could till do it via cable from your computer but it is not as convenient.

I know people download music via itunes which is good. but in that instant the files are on your computer or downloaded to your ipod, so you still have the music under your own control.I also understand that technology is moving forward and DVDs may also be downloaded and may become obsolete in time. I don't think that time will come for quite a few years yet.

I believe you need to be control of your purchase. So if it is not a physical DVD then it should be stored away and backed up somewhere under your own control.

Merchant of magic are storing these streaming files away for you but you still do not have the ultimate control over them. What happens to your files if Merchant of Magic was to out of business?

I want to be able to stick a DVD in player and watch it anywhere.

This is not for me I'm afraid.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this.

Chris Wild
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 20, 2010 05:05AM)
You are 100% correct!

Just don't purchase anything from them. I can just see tring to learn a trick while in front of your computer.

And yes they will go out of business some day and then you'll find what you paid for on YouTube for free.
Message: Posted by: illusion123 (Aug 20, 2010 06:12AM)
I have purchased lots of items from Merchant of Magic in the past and they are a good reliable dealer. Main reason for me purchasing goods from them, was because you can see straight away whether they have the goods in stock next to the item, but they seem to a omitted this now.

They are a good dealer just don't like this streaming idea.

Change is not always for the best.

Chris Wild
Message: Posted by: Kozmo (Aug 20, 2010 07:14AM)
I think the reason you will see streaming versus an instant download is because of the security involved. Its much harder to send your friend a streamed video than a download. This is another negative effect that torrent sites,or just sending downloaded material to a friend. It wrong and producers are going to protect their product.

I will also say that this material that's available via streaming is housed by murphys magic supplies and they wont be going out of business anytime soon

Koz
Message: Posted by: Mentalist Sam (Aug 20, 2010 08:20AM)
But Koz, it looks like you buy the videos from a dealer and have to watch the videos on the dealer's site. What happens a couple of years from now if that dealer goes out of business? It looks like the transaction is between the customer and the dealer, not the customer and Murphy's Magic. Is there something in place that if a dealer goes out of business, you still have access to the videos?

Also, streaming provides little security. It's very easy to capture streaming video and save it. I just don't see what the advantage is to paying the same amount of money as a DVD. At least with a DVD you own it. Here it doesn't look like you really own anything.
Message: Posted by: jstone (Aug 20, 2010 11:02AM)
[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgha-pQuedE]Darn Pirates![/url]
Message: Posted by: puggo (Aug 20, 2010 02:21PM)
[quote]
On 2010-08-20 06:05, wmhegbli wrote:
You are 100% correct!

Just don't purchase anything from them. I can just see tring to learn a trick while in front of your computer.

And yes they will go out of business some day and then you'll find what you paid for on YouTube for free.
[/quote]

I normally find your posts informative, but feel you are being unfair.
I have used Merchant of Magic many times, and they are a first class operation. Domonic Reyes is helpful and trustworthy in my experience.

I do not like the idea of streaming video, but lets keep this issue seperate from the Merchant of Magic. As noted elsewhere, Murphys are involved in this; Dan & Dave have been doing this for ages. We cannot stop change / progress, just try to influence it.

Many people learn tricks via the TV / computer. I have many DVDs as well as books.

Respectfully,

charlie
Message: Posted by: Mentalist Sam (Aug 20, 2010 04:29PM)
This isn't a problem with a dealer and it's not a problem with technology.

There are several dealers doing this. You can see it on Murphy's site, so I am guessing that more and more dealers will be trying it.

You can't blame the technology for what people might do. It's easy to copy a DVD. It's easy to rip the explanations from a DVD and put those on YouTube. Nothing is going to be perfect to prevent theft. If you want to grab a video stream, you can do it. It's not any easier or more difficult than anything else.

It looks like there are better ways to do this than what they're currently offering, especially with cost. But you're not going to see an increase in pirated material because of this.
Message: Posted by: Dominic Reyes (Aug 21, 2010 01:48AM)
Hi Folks

I should point out, we don't view the streaming service as an anti piracy feature at all. Just a really fast and easy way to deliver the content to you as soon as you order.

We have been in business since 1999 and see no reason to go out of business in the next, say 100 years. However, your content would be safe anyway as its backed up by a third party, so your account would just transfer to another supplier. Its also fully insured. (unlike many peoples magic DVD collections)

As well as being backed up, insured and available to watch anywhere, my Fav reason to welcome streaming, is an end to finding out a dvd I want to watch is scratched or jumps. That really hacks me off.

As well as the streams from Murphys, we have over 300 other instant download titles on the site, so adding streaming video as well makes great sense. We will be adding more EXCLUSIVE titles as quickly as we can. The streaming service will run AS WELL as our downloads service.

Looking at the launch stats, I'm really pleased with the responce its had. I think the concept is well overdue.

Best wishes

Dominic Reyes

BTW we are running a competition about it
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Aug 21, 2010 04:45AM)
As a consumer, I think for specialized media like magic, this may not be the best investment in a library.. Why? Simply put, you never know when a business may close or for what reasons.. (remember the Lecture Network? I still don't have all the material I once had access to.) You may have plans to be in business for the next 100 years but anything can happen (and it usually does). Another problem with online video sites is change and the need to stay current with hardware and software.. it's part of the delivery system. Another issue or consumer concern is advertisement.. mark my words sooner or later you'll see advertisement embedded in your magic video or will have to watch a commercial before Ammar starts his lecture because subscribers will level out and business's like to make money on a regular basis - you won't see advertisement with your own DVD's. IMO if you own it outright, you have it regardless if a business closes, your credit card expires, the server goes down, your computer breaks, you lose power at your house, your on an airplane traveling, or you have to downgrade your internet speed based on house-hold needs or if you move somewhere without broadband. Streaming may be the way of the future for general movies and entertainment - but I'd rather own my own magic related media to view where and when I see fit. Just my $0.02.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Congreave (Aug 21, 2010 04:49AM)
As someone who has released DVD's in the past, how do the artists benefit from this? You could (in theory anyway) buy 1 copy of a DVD add it to your database and the artist/producer gets paid once, you get paid every time that its sold on your site.

(I'm not suggesting that you personally would do this, but it could happen, and you are setting a precident streaming the DVD's).
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Aug 21, 2010 05:01AM)
One way to solve this would be for a Company, like Murphys, to control the data files offering it for download (maintaining the online framework) and track how many times it was downloaded/purchased - sending the business and/or the consumer a bill and the artist a royality check.
Message: Posted by: Dominic Reyes (Aug 21, 2010 03:57PM)
[quote]
On 2010-08-21 05:49, Christopher Congreave wrote:
As someone who has released DVD's in the past, how do the artists benefit from this?
[/quote]


Hi Christopher! Hope the magic is going well for you! To answer your question, it's similar to their DVD contracts. Agreed royalties are paid to the IP holders. The owners of the content seem to be delighted to have new life breathed into their back catalogs.

I personally think that's one of the real benefits of a move from DVD to downloads and streaming content. There are SO MANY artists that either self published a DVD or a publisher made a few thousand copies of their work, then everyone moved on to the next 'hot new release' and sales dropped to a level where they can't justify republishing a large batch of DVD's again. I watch DVD titles get discontinued and disappear from sale all the time. With this new format, that's not an issue. It also frees those GREAT little tricks or effects, from being buried in a DVD with may have a load of 'not so good material' holding it back. Each effect can be sold as 'singles'. (a bit like buying individual tracks, rather than an album via iTunes)If you look at the current selection, you will find some great individual items from DVD's for just a few bucks each.

That's the main reason why I think Magic is particularly suited to distribution through downloads and streaming video. Far more than the movie 'mainstream' that have huge budgets behind their distribution.


SECURITY
I totally agree there is an issue of who is looking after the data though. I can't speak for other shops, but That's why our system has been set up so it's not dependent on our magic shop being in business. It's backed up in the cloud and fully insured by third party companies
(The titles from Murphys Magic are backed up with them directly too) so even if we disappeared, it would not affect customers movie stores.

There is a real case for the fact that it's far more secure than the collection of magic DVD's you may have in your home.

Movies stored in the cloud can't get scratched, lost by your little brother, stolen by your ex-girlfriend or thrown out by your mum while you are at uni :)



SPACE - STREAMING RATHER THAN DOWNLOADING
There is a REAL problem coming and Apple knows it already with iTunes. People are running out of disc space. Buy just one TV series from Itunes and its several GB, a movie is a couple of gig. That fills even a 32 GB ipod quickly and a hard drive pretty fast too. As more people get used to downloading content, the old model of storing it on your local machines just does not cut it.

Fast forward a few years from now and backing up the thousands of gig of content the average person will have would be a nightmare for them. That's why storing video in the cloud, makes much more sense if you want to enjoy downloading content.

I think it's the reason Apple are building that HUGE data centre, so they can move iTunes movie/TV over to the cloud.



I'm REALLY pleased with the sales figures for the Magic TV launch. I agree it's very early days for this format, and it's no way a replacement for DVDs, just another format to choose from, if you like the concept. It's great that so many have given it a go though, and means we can really move it forward though the next few months.


I'll get off my soapbox now :)
Message: Posted by: Mentalist Sam (Aug 21, 2010 05:26PM)
[quote]
On 2010-08-21 16:57, Dominic Reyes wrote:

(The titles from Murphys Magic are backed up with them directly too) so even if we disappeared, it would not affect customers movie stores.

[/quote]

Dominic,

Do you provide a different Terms & Conditions for the streaming videos from Murphy's than other dealers? I didn't see it on your site, but from what I was told from someone who purchased one, just trying it out, they had to agree to the terms before the purchase. WizardsHQ.com has it posted on their site here:

[url]http://www.wizardhq.com/servlet/the-template/Streaming-Media-Service-Terms/Page[/url]

Reading that doesn't say anything that Murphy's guarantees access to the videos even if a dealer goes out of business, in fact it's quite the opposite.

If different dealers have different arrangements, then that would be good to know. If it's being guaranteed on your site, I'd like to read your terms.
Message: Posted by: Dominic Reyes (Aug 21, 2010 05:58PM)
Hi Sam

I will clarify that with Murphys and get back to you.

For our downloads and streams, rather than Murphys, we have them backed up on and off site, and should we ever close down, we would either switch the streams into downloads so customers who have purchased licenses can make their own back ups, or pass the accounts on to another dealer, so service is not interrupted. That may not necessarily apply to items from Murphys though, so I will get that looked into and addressed.
Message: Posted by: Dominic Reyes (Aug 21, 2010 06:31PM)
The Magic TV Competition (see post above) to win the set of Dee Christopher Downloads has now ended.

The winner is Adam Kordecki


Well done Adam, and thanks for trying out the service. Over $200 worth of downloads is on its way to you.






More free downloads:

We will be sending out the free bonus downloads on Monday to everyone who used our streaming video service over the promotion.

Through August and September, we will be choosing some customers who have added a streaming video to their media vault, and as a nice free bonus we will be adding in some free downloads as gifts! Always good to maybe find a nice surprise free gift next time you visit us. :)
Message: Posted by: Lou Cirulli (Aug 22, 2010 01:12AM)
It looks like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon with streaming videos. MJM is now doing this and I just received news that Hank Lee is doing it as well! -GROAN-
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 22, 2010 02:33AM)
Simply supply and demand will determain if this thing flys.

As far as going out of business and another dealer taking over. Well Repro Magic is sold to a supplier and the merchandis sets in a warehouse. P&L was purchased and went out of business before it got going again. Russ Walsh products was purchased and the final supplies sold off and never heard of again.

Just because someone says they will take over the business, does not mean they will actually do anything with it.

The comment about having insurance to see the videos are always available. I don't know of any insurance that will pay an ISP to maintain filles for 100 years.

This method may appeal to the lazy consumer and the person who does not want to learn how to burn DVD on their computers. Most all new computers are DVD ready now and it the learning curve is not that great, but some still will not want to do it.

There is a good point of supplies not producing new batches of DVDs, but I do not think streaming is the answer, downloading would be the best solution to my way of thinking. Many people still like to build their own libraries.

The only advantage to this type of service is to keep the wife happy, with less clutter of the husbands junk. Again the women win, and the old man can't get to the basemant or garage to watch a magic video. Then whenever he tries to watch the magic on the television, the wife changes the channel. LOL
Message: Posted by: gunthard (Aug 22, 2010 03:02AM)
If the downloaded video does not fit to your style or it is crap for you, you do not own it physically. A DVD can be sold (many times).
Message: Posted by: Jeff_Mash (Aug 22, 2010 12:02PM)
I wanted to jump in and offer my two cents since our store was brought up in an earlier post.

Like Dominic and his store, MJM Magic has been offering the streaming videos since Day 1 of the launch as well. I have made a few [url=http://mjmmagic.blogspot.com/2010/08/vlog-how-to-order-streaming-videos.html]video blogs[/url] about it to clear up some of the misconceptions about the process.

In a nutshell though, I think people need to weigh the pros and cons for the service, and then decide if its best for them. I'm certainly not here to convince the world that they NEED to purchase these, because some great points have been brought up here to argue the opposite standpoint.

Most people (myself included) prefer to pay shipping and wait for a physical item to be delivered in the mail. Not to mention, there's something to be said for having a nice display cabinet filled with all your physical purchases! :)

On the other hand, some people really don't care about that. Some people (especially international customers) would rather have a virtual streaming product than spend money on shipping, worrying about customs handling, import taxes, etc. Some people may be on the road and want to purchase the latest streaming title from a hotel without waiting to get home to check the mailbox. They can literally take the streaming video wherever they go, as long as their internet connection supports it.

As a magic dealer, my concern is providing the service to those who want it (and supporting that with CUSTOMER service) so that people are informed. We've been now offering these streaming videos since the launch last week, and everything has been going smoothly. In this day of digital media, I think we're going to see more and more stores and businesses offering digital downloads and streaming videos, not as a replacement to DVD's, but as an alternative.
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Aug 22, 2010 12:50PM)
Looking at some of the sites where this is being offered, there's a limited selection of titles available, but I'm sure will be expanding soon. Within that limited selection, there is quite a variety, from one trick performances/explanations, to a full DVD.

I see the potential strength in this service is by offering effects separately and not make the customer have to buy the full video. Isn't this really one of the strengths of iTunes? You don't have to buy the full album, but whatever tracks you want. Although with iTunes you get to keep the song and can back it up, where here you cannot. But I don't think that's a deal breaker.

One of the effects being offered is Paul Green's Card Warp Finale. So with something like that how many times are you going to go back and watch it? Once you learn it, you pretty much know it. Personally I wouldn't be concerned about that not being available to me 10 years from now if the online store.

From another perspective, something like the Bill Malone DVDs are something that I pull out and watch again and wouldn't want to have to rely on a shop still being in business a few years from now.

Going on price alone, where DVDs are cheaper than streaming in this case, it seems like you have more options with the DVD - resale or trade and making a back up copy. If the streaming cost was much less or each DVD was divided up so you could by the individual effects, I think there would be more appeal with this service.
Message: Posted by: chrismatt (Aug 22, 2010 02:53PM)
The market will determine the price points and popularity for these products, but I would suggest a substantial discount be offered (if it is not already) for an additional streaming capability whenever a physical DVD is purchased. That way, the purchaser can have the best of both worlds.

CM
Message: Posted by: Dominic Reyes (Aug 22, 2010 03:17PM)
I agree. It would be great to offer an option of ordering the DVD and getting the streaming version to watch while the disc is being shipped to you.

I'd like to add that service to my store whenever publishers agree to it for their product.
Message: Posted by: chrismatt (Aug 22, 2010 03:32PM)
Dominic,

The service would be valuable not just to deal with the "instant gratification" factor. Those who travel or simply don't want to cart around their DVDs would be able to watch their videos anytime, anyplace they are connected to the Internet. Yet, like a security blanket, the hard copy would be in their collection--just "in case."

The publishers and dealers might make a little more on this idea, since they would, in effect, be potentially selling two of the same video product to each consumer. Hopefully, some of this added profit would trickle down to the actual performers and creators. It might be one (modest) way to recoup some of the lost profits from video piracy.

CM
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Aug 22, 2010 04:06PM)
[quote]
On 2010-08-22 16:32, chrismatt wrote:
[...] Those who travel or simply don't want to cart around their DVDs would be able to watch their videos anytime, anyplace they are connected to the Internet. [/quote]

I travel on a regular basis and found a significant number of the hotels charge a daily fee (typically $10-$15 a day) for internet in addition to your room. I was just in DC and paid the fee as I did in Oregon, Chicago, Seattle and California. Go to Mexico and it's the same thing. So while this may work for some, IMO you can't beat a small DVD holder that slips in a laptop case for both movies and magic. Besides, if you own your own disks you can always give away, sell, or donate them if you care to - in an online storage house you can't.
Message: Posted by: mayniac (Aug 22, 2010 07:15PM)
This option certainly isn't for me. I'm a very young guy, but I am not in the least bit interested in this whole streaming videos idea. I want to actually own something if I'm handing over money. Whether it be a digital file on my computer or a physical dvd on my shelf, I want [i]something[/i] for my money.
Message: Posted by: Tim Trono (Aug 23, 2010 02:04PM)
Not being a technical guy, I asked one of Murphy's Magic Supplies lead programmers, Brad McKelvie, to answer some of the questions and concerns. I have also added a few of my thoughts. Streaming is not for everyone and thus we will, for the foreseeable future, offer both DVDs and Streaming (where specific producers wish to offer it also in that format). We are seeing a demand for this so want to obviously offer dealers and end consumers the latest products, the most options, etc. Here are answers to a few of the questions/comments raised.

Illusion123: First of all the streaming is the same price as getting a physical DVD, which I thought should be cheaper considering there are no materials involved.

There is no physical product, but Murphy’s has to pay for bandwidth every time they watch the video. We also pay to store these videos on 18 servers throughout the world for the fastest delivery possible. These costs are not a one-time fee, but is an ongoing fee we incur monthly.

(Tim's Notes: The actual cost of a DVD is fairly minimal... what one is really paying for is the production, the secret, the artist/producer, overhead, etc.- so I don't think one can accurately correlate the cost of the physical DVD to the end consumer/retail cost)

Mentalist Sam: Also, streaming provides little security. It's very easy to capture streaming video and save it.

It is very easy to capture free streaming videos. Commercial videos are a lot harder and take some work. We have in place a very secure system and I do not want to give the individual Customer knowledge of all our security measures. I have educated some of our Dealers and Vendors and all have been happy with what we are doing.

(Tim's notes: one huge factor in us using Steaming is/was the security... nothing is 100% - IF someone wants something bad enough they can get it... but this offers the safest delivery format for the producers we work with)

Mentalist Same: If you want to grab a video stream, you can do it. It's not any easier or more difficult than anything else. It looks like there are better ways to do this than what they're currently offering, especially with cost. But you're not going to see an increase in pirated material because of this.

Protected Streaming Video is the hardest media to copy. DVDs are the easiest. Again, not going to give the Customer information on our system.

Mr Muggle: Another problem with online video sites is change and the need to stay current with hardware and software.. it's part of the delivery system.

We have a very open Client, in that it is HTML, JavaScript, and Flash. You don't need to upgrade hardware, or software. It’s a very open system that over 97% of Internet enabled computers can use.

Mr Muggle: Another issue or consumer concern is advertisement.. mark my words sooner or later you'll see advertisement embedded in your magic video or will have to watch a commercial before Ammar starts his lecture because subscribers will level out and business's like to make money on a regular basis - you won't see advertisement with your own DVD's.

We have no plans to put advertising in our Client Video Player. It is an option though as we use JW Player. Any Dealer can put ads in their Videos. I advise against it as it is paid for content.

Mayniac: I want to actually own something if I'm handing over money. Whether it be a digital file on my computer or a physical DVD on my shelf, I want something for my money.

This is a concern that some will have. This is not a solution for everyone. But it is a good solution for Vendor’s, Dealers, and Customers to deliver secure content. DVDs are the least safe, then digital downloads with DRM, and then Streaming with DRM. Commercial Streaming video requires the most effort to try and pirate.

Hope this helps a bit. Again, we realize this may not be for everyone but we want to assist in offering it to those who do prefer streaming.

Tim Trono
Message: Posted by: Review King (Aug 23, 2010 02:34PM)
The Magicwarehouse ( most likely other sites ) have streaming videos where you get one trick from a DVD for only around $5.00. I rather like that as you can learn a classic Tamariz ace rotuine for such a small amount.
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Aug 23, 2010 03:51PM)
Tim,

Thanks for the feedback. You're right, it's not for everyone but it's inevitable that this was going to be made available in magic. Personally, I'm glad to see that Murphy's and some of the top magic producers are moving ahead with it.

I'm certainly going to give it a shot with some of the one effect videos.

I hope it's profitable for everyone involved!
Message: Posted by: Richard Doyle (Aug 23, 2010 04:53PM)
I downloaded a issue of Reel Mag. From MJM and was hoping to play it on my I-Pad. The sad news is that these streaming videos will not play on the I-pad but play just fine on the desk top and lap top computers.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Domino Magic (Aug 23, 2010 05:04PM)
That's because the player that streams the videos utilizes Flash and the iPad doesn't support Flash.
Message: Posted by: octave (Sep 6, 2010 06:12AM)
How about a solution like ModMachine by leaping brain. The model is similar to Steam which is for computer games. The files are on your system and encrypted the files can be backed up. No fear of data loss.