Setting an Expiration Date
In a four-city test launched September 9, families were able to watch DVDs of movies such as 25th Hour for exactly 48 hours. Thanks to a special chemical in Flexplay’s ez-Ds, discs become unwatchable two days after they’re exposed to air. Good-bye, returns and late fees.
From Alan’s original entry:
Tell us what you do (or what your team or organization does) and the specific challenge you faced.
Alan Blaustein is C.E.O. of Flexplay Technologies, Inc., the DVD technology start-up that pioneered the Flexplay DVD. A Flexplay DVD is similar to a standard DVDexcept that it has a pre-set viewing window that begins when the disc is removed from its packaging. After this viewing window, the disc will no longer be readable by the DVD player and can then be recycled. The no return, no late fee Flexplay DVD has applications in the home video and other home entertainment markets. Alan joined Flexplay in late Fall 2001, when most “start-ups” were instead finishing up. Since then Flexplay has entered the marketplace with a major motion picture studio, raised two rounds of financing, and acquired the assets of a competitor. Flexplay has been featured in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, on CNN, MSNBC and even in Jay Leno’s opening monologue. MTV, MGM and Disney are among the studios to feature content on Flexplay DVDs within the past year. Whereas so many new technologies are long forgotten when their novelty expires, the expiring novelty of Flexplay has remained relevant in both the press and the marketplace due to Alan’s visionary leadership.
What was your moment of truth?
Alan faced the challenge of introducing Flexplay to the home entertainment marketplace, an industry that is extremely cautious about new technology. He was charged with differentiating Flexplay technology from the several fleeting fad technologies of the new millennium. Alan had to demonstrate that Flexplay had a viable role in the home entertainment spectrum among the many new alternatives such as V.O.D and the Internet. Additionally, in order to legitimize the Flexplay opportunity to Hollywood, Alan understood he would need one major movie studio on board to test the distribution of their films on Flexplay DVDs. Last Spring, Alan closed a deal with the best advocate Flexplay could have hoped for–Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment division.
What were the results?
On September 9, 2003, Buena Vista Home Entertainment launched ez-D, the new 48hour no-return, no late fee DVD enabled by Flexplay technology. ez-D premiered in select markets throughout the United States offering consumers access to hit movies at rental prices in entirely new distribution outlets such as gas stations, pizza delivery and convenience stores. Early consumer reaction has confirmed what Alan has always believed: the Flexplay format can grow the home entertainment market place.
What’s your parting tip?
Alan would offer this parting tip: “Input not consensus- value the insight of others but rely on your own instincts to make the best decision.”