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Prices & Discounts

What do your video programs cost?
Each program is priced differently, depending on length, subject matter and, in some cases, the circumstances of production. Some prices are set for us by our suppliers. Consult our catalogs or fliers, or this website, for the latest price information. Most of our programs are priced between $100 and $250 dollars. This is consistent with the fact that they are intended for use as educational or training materials, and will be screened for multiple audiences, usually over a considerable number of years.

Why are your videos so expensive? Why are your videos so cheap?
Believe it or not, we get both questions. Five or ten years ago, the average price for an educational film or video was in the vicinity of $400 to $600, depending on length. That reflected both the higher cost of 16mm film compared to video, and the market conditions at that time. Since then, average prices have come down as the number of media buyers has grown, but the market for educational media has not expanded nearly as much as some people had predicted, and certainly not enough for titles like ours to be priced as low as home videos currently are. As you'll see from our catalog section, most of our programs are now priced at between $99 and $199, with a few highly topical "best sellers" and multi-film packages being priced as high as $399, and some older titles priced lower. We, and most of our customers, feel that this price structure is fair and realistic.

But I can buy Harry Potter for $9.95...
Educational media pricing may be hard to understand when you can walk into your local Walmart and purchase big-budget Hollywood spectaculars (as well as exercise and how-to tapes) for $14.95 or less. Most Hollywood films make the bulk of their revenues from theatrical, television and cable distribution; for them, home video sales are just "gravy." Moreover, Spielberg, Disney and Fonda have a potential market of millions of consumers, while special-interest programs like those we handle (on subjects such as disabilities, mental illness, healthcare, death and dying) have a much smaller audience, and therefore must make back their production and marketing costs from a substantially smaller number of sales. An exceptionally successful educational video will do well to sell a couple of thousand copies in its lifetime.
Video production is expensive. A high quality half-hour to hour-long program can easily cost $75–150,000 and more than a few in our catalog have had budgets of over a quarter million dollars. While these higher-budget projects have generally had PBS, foundation, or institutional sponsorship, this is rarely enough to cover the total production cost. In almost every case we are aware of, the producers of our programs are at least partially dependent on their distribution revenues to pay off their production debts and to enable them to stay alive while getting their next production off the ground.
Educational distribution is expensive as well; the startup costs for each new release can easily be $5–10,000 or more, and the ongoing costs of marketing and promotion go up each year. We market primarily to institutional purchasers (hospitals, universities, government agencies, professional associations, and so on) and our programs are used in teaching or training contexts, for curriculum enrichment, or as discussion tools for group discussions and public meetings. Such organizations recognize the continuing value of these videos, and expect to show them to numbers of viewers, over a considerable period of time.
We also encourage customers to think of the costs of video in relation to other things they spend money on: A $195 video program costs about the same as two toner cartridges for an office copier, a batch of letterhead stationery, or (in downtown Boston anyway) a couple of parking tickets. Textbooks today can easily cost $100–150 apiece and each student in a given class will need their own. In this context, $199–249 for a video which will be used by the entire class, and shown year after year, is a bargain.

So is there anything we can do to keep our media costs down?
Obviously, everyone today is concerned with controlling costs. Take advantage of our quantity discounts and special offers. In addition to our standard discount offers we are sometimes able, on a case by case basis, to offer additional discounts to smaller, grassroots organizations. Write us a note on your group's letterhead explaining your situation, and we'll see what we can do. One thing people in many institutions can do is to share the cost of building a video library with other departments. Some community organizations have been able to persuade their public library to add a desired tape to its circulating collection.

What discounts are available?
From time to time during the year we offer other special discounts through our publications, at conferences or trade shows, and via this website. Discounts may also be available on bulk purchases. Public Library discounts and K-12 discounts are also available for all titles. Click here for information about these discounts and other current internet specials.

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