Extraordinary Genius - Chapter 437 – Pirated VCD appeared
It was the end of October. Feng Yu was about to start preparing for the New Year’s award ceremony when he received a call from Jian Wanmeng. There were pirated VCDs in the market.
The VCD technologies were not that difficult. Those companies that manufacture CDs could quickly figure out the technology behind the VCD. They could also produce VCDs. The cost of a VCD was not high and was about 1 RMB. A movie consists of A and B VCDs. If you include the packaging and transportation, the total cost was still less than 3 RMB.
The original VCDs prices were set by Wind and Rain. It costs from 10 RMB to 30 RMB. Those movies which cost 10 RMB were old movies or old music videos. The 30 RMB VCDs were all new movies and songs. This 30 RMB pricetag will slowly decline as time passes.
No matter whether it’s 10 RMB or 30 RMB VCDs, the profits of the VCD companies were about the same. Feng Yu thought that others will not enter this market so fast.
After all, Wind and Rain, and Aiwa were all producing VCDs. The VCDs were sold in all of their VCD players retailers. Those that buy VCD players will also need to buy some VCDs.
Feng Yu had made precautions against other companies copying the VCD players, but he did not take any precautions against pirated VCDs. Those 5 RMB VCDs were not different from those originals.
Those small video lounges tried to keep their cost low as they only charge their customers 0.5 RMB per person. They were the ones that supported these pirated VCDs.
Feng Yu had asked his staff to promote the VCD at those video lounges, and this led to those businessmen noticing this business opportunity.
Feng Yu went to the Audio and Video shops to have a feel of how serious this problem was.
“The world is leisurely passing hastily onwards, visitors passing by, tides rise and falls. Love and hate, life and death, old age, how many people can see through? Mundane world passing……”
At the Audio and Video shop, a huge speaker was blaring Sally Yeh’s . This was the song that led Sally Yeh to the peak of her career. (Link to the song is in the Translator’s notes)
Feng Yu saw many people walking in and out of the shop. Most people were still buying cassette tapes. Only some were holding CDs or VCDs when they walk out.
It seems that it will take a few years for compact discs to replace audio and video cassette tapes.
“What are you looking for? Come in and see. If you can’t find what you are looking for, I can help. Our shop has everything. Even if our shop does not have what you want now, I can help you get it.” The shop owner saw Feng Yu walking into his shop, and he went up to serve him. These privately-owned shops were more customer friendly than those operated by the government.
“Where are the VCDs?”
“It is on that shelf. This side is all the songs, and the other side is all the movies and dramas.”
This young man is looking for VCDs. That means he has a VCD player at home. These VCDs are more expensive than cassette tapes. The shop owner could earn more, especially now his cost of the VCDs was much lower!
Feng Yu looked at the VCDs on the shelf. Some of the VCDs were concerts of Singers, and some were a mixture of songs. Feng Yu also does not know which of these were from the record label companies and which were pirated.
But when he saw a VCD which includes both Chinese and Cantonese songs, he knew immediately that this VCD was pirated. Those record companies will not produce VCD which have songs from both languages. When Feng Yu saw a VCD of Michael Jackson, he was sure that it was pirated too.
Michael Jackson had signed with Sony and would Sony sell the rights to Feng Yu? If it was other company’s name that was printed on the cover, it might still be possible. But Wind and Rain brand were printed. This was impossible!
The pirated VCDs at this time was not as shoddy as the pirated VCDs in the future years. The packaging and quality were exactly the same as the originals. Once a shop sells pirated VCDs, it will never sell originals again. This was because the profits from selling pirated VCDs were higher than the originals. Feng Yu suspects that almost all the VCDs in this shop were pirated.
Feng Yu walked over to the other side of the shelf to look at the movie VCDs. There were movies from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the US. There were also some classic movies titles. All the VCDs were packaged nicely, and one could not tell whether it was pirated or original.
But Feng Yu knew clearly that there was something wrong with those VCDs. Should I use some laser anti-counterfeiting marks? But it seems that those marks can also be counterfeited. After all, these companies use laser technologies to record on these discs.
“Bro, have you make your choice?” The shop owner walked over and asked. A woman was sitting at the entrance. She might call the wife of the owner.
“How much for these two discs?”
“18 for one. If you are getting two, 35 RMB.”
Feng Yu showed a troubled expression: “Can it be cheaper?”
“Sigh…… The cost is quite high. But since you are so interested, I will give you 2 RMB off. These two VCDs for 33 RMB. This is the lowest price I can give you.” The shop owner replied.
“Don’t try to hoodwink me. How come I heard other shops are all selling at 10 RMB a VCD?” Feng Yu was trying to find out the cost price.
“How can those quality be comparable to my discs? Look, all these are originals. The audio and picture quality will be much better than theirs. Fine. 2 for 30 RMB. This is my final price.”
“Okay. I will take these two.”
Feng Yu reached home and played one of the VCD. After looking at the image, he frowned.
The images and audio were very clear. This video was one of the videos which Feng Yu did not get the rights. If this VCD was produced by Sony themselves, it was still okay. It was tough for Sony to import these VCDs in large volumes into China. Even if Sony did it, it would also stimulate the VCD player’s sales.
But this VCD was a Pirated Wind and Rain VCD.
Feng Yu called Fu Guangzheng to talk about this.
“Brother Feng, shouldn’t we ignore them? Our VCDs sales are doing well, and when there are a lot of VCDs in the market, the sales of our VCD players will be better. When VCD players become as normal as TV, it will be one of the necessary home appliances. Furthermore, we still do not have the rights to a lot of the movies and songs. What if those consumers want to watch those?”
“Then we let this carry-on?” Feng Yu asked. Just last month, he had asked Hu Ge to stop making pirated video game cartridges since The Little Tyrant had stopped its game consoles production.
“Those are pirated VCDs. It will affect our profits. Do you know some of those pirated VCDs are selling more expensive than ours? They are also using our brands on those pirated VCDs. This will affect our branding. What if someone sues us and claims that we are the ones who produced these pirated VCDs?
Fu Guangzheng was shocked: “Are you trying to say that some big company is behind all these?”
“I saw a lot of Sony’s movies and music VCDs. I feel that this is not so simple.” Feng Yu suspects that this was a hole dug by Sony for them. When Sony sue them for copyrights infringements, he will have to take all the VCDs off the shelves for investigations. This will affect the VCD market!
Feng Yu starts to make phone calls to all his connections. He wants to know who was the one that is making all these pirated VCD under Wind and Rain brand!