Saturday, January 9, 2016

Buying Clear

I've rented maybe a hundred movies from iTunes by now, but until this past week, I hadn't bought a single one.

What changed that? The right price, I guess.

Remember this post from a year ago -- exactly a year ago, to the day -- in which I bemoaned the high cost of adding Tim's Vermeer and Jodorowsky's Dune to my 2014 viewings in time for my deadline? (Still haven't seen either movie, by the way.) As they were not available for rent, I'd have to pay at least $15.99 to own them if I wanted to see them in time.

Well the same won't be said for Alex Gibney's Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which I must see as some kind of burden because I've put off watching it about as long as I could while still getting to count it for 2015. Oh, like the two movies above, it isn't available to rent either. But its purchase price was a mere $5.99 -- or a dollar less than what I paid to rent the disappointing I Smile Back.

So while I am still philosophically opposed to buying a movie I haven't seen, since there's not a great likelihood I will want to watch it again (especially with a documentary), at least now the simple math made this one too much of a no-brainer. My conscience is clear -- so to speak.

I can't quite figure out the logic behind pricing Going Clear at $5.99 to own, when you might theoretically make a greater return on renting it for $4.99. Then again, if a person is only going to watch the movie one time, does it really matter whether you rent it to that person or sell it to that person? I have no idea if it is intrinsically more expensive for a movie to be downloaded for purchase than downloaded for rental, but I wouldn't think it would be. The price seems to be set at what the value to the purchaser might be, and if that person has no expected desire to see the movie multiple times, he/she is not going to pay $15.99 or more to own it.

If only iTunes had realized this a year ago.

The other nice thing about owning Going Clear is that when we do get around to watching it, we won't be required to finish it within 24 hours before it expires.

Which could be really helpful in the final six days of my 2015 viewing season, when every viewing is catch as catch can.

However, do you know how this story ends? Take a guess.

When I belatedly reviewed our other two, Australian-based streaming services last night to see what 2015 releases might be available through them, I found Going Clear on Presto. For free.

Can you sell iTunes movies on eBay?

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