Disney’s Blu-Ray Movie Club: The Economics Don’t Work

disney blu ray movie clubI’m an unabashed Disney fan so when I get an offer via email from the company, I’ll give it more than a cursory glance, though it’s rarely an interesting deal.
The most recent was the announcement of the Disney Blu-Ray Movie Club, which explained that the offer, as with most ‘club memberships’, was for a couple of movies at an exceptionally good rate, followed by a requirement to buy more films at a jacked up price to balance out the deal.
In this case, the initial offer is for three Blu-Ray discs for $4.95 each. Not a bad deal for Disney films, but then what?
“As a Disney Movie Club member, all you need to do is buy 5 movies at regular Club prices in the next 24 months (starting at $29.95 per Blu-ray disc), plus shipping and processing of $3.95 for the first title in each order, and $1.49 for each additional title in that same order.”
So let’s assume that you buy five Blu-Ray discs, at once, for $29.95 per disc, after having bought the initial three at $4.95 each, with free shipping.
    ( 4.95 * 3 ) + ( 29.95 * 5 ) + 3.95 + (1.49 * 3) = $173.02
Given that’s for eight DVDs, that works out to $21.62/disc. Not bad. But then again, a bit of research on Amazon.com reveals that Wall-E on Blu-Ray, for example, costs $19.99 for the two-disc set, Bolt three-disc set is $23.99 and the adult No Country for Old Men is $19.49.
So how does this work? It’s all about the mailing and the default action. The “Club” sends out a mailing every four weeks and when you receive that mailing…
“You can choose to receive the Featured Title, an alternate, or no movie at all. If you do not inform us of your choice within 10 days or by the date specified on the card (either by returning the card, visiting the website, or by calling the 800 number on the card), the Featured Title will be automatically shipped to you.”
In all likelihood, the featured titles are not going to be the lower-priced $29.95, but rather $35.95 or even higher. Now, let’s do that math again, with the assumption that four of those five discs you buy are actually $35.95 instead. Now the grand total for those eight discs is $197.02. Divided out, that’s $24.62.
But wait, if you are going to be getting these discs by default one per month, then your shipping goes up too, from $1.49 to $3.95. New total: $206.86. New per disc: $25.85.
And did I mention tax? They don’t say, but I expect that with the proliferation of Disney Stores, people in just about every state are going to pay at least 8% sales tax, pushing up those discs to $27.92 each.
Suddenly those $19.99 discs via Amazon.com sound pretty good after all. Get free super-saver shipping from Amazon and you’re looking at a total savings of $63.49.
Now those monthly mailings can be pretty fun, I admit: I was a long-time member of the History Book Club because I liked to browse through the catalog, but is it worth $63.49 for that privilege when for $9.95 you can get a year’s subscription to Disney Family Fun magazine and, I’m sure, get all the ads and a few decent articles too?
Now I admit that there are probably some errors in my calculations here, and clearly some assumptions about pricing differences, but I’m always intrigued by these sort of offers, so it’s quite illustrative to run the numbers and really understand the reality of an offer of this nature.
But that’s just me. Perhaps you’re already a member? If so, how’s it going for you?

8 comments on “Disney’s Blu-Ray Movie Club: The Economics Don’t Work

  1. Small mistake…
    In this equation: ( 4.95 * 3 ) + ( 29.95 * 5 ) + 3.95 + (1.49 * 3) = $173.02
    The $1.49 figure should be multiplied by FOUR. You are supposed to order five movies, the first of which ships for $3.95, and the other four which ship for $1.49.

  2. I have had the Disney movie club for 2 years and have saved a bunch. They are constantly offering “buy one movie for full price and the rest of your order is 50% off” deals (several times a year). This is awesome as long as you need backstock of movies you don’t already have. For instance, I picked up the entire series of Scrubs for much cheaper than I found it anywhere else using this deal(mind you, this was almost 2 years ago and those DVDs have greatly reduced in price). All in all though, I am very satisfied with them and the one time I failed to decline my “featured title” in time they allowed me to return it anyways with almost no hassle.

  3. Josh–it appears that you are only able to obtain the movie catalog once you become a member of the club. I’m interested in joining the club, but not without seeing their regular prices. Is there any way you might be able to send me one of their old catalogs?

  4. I am a member of the Disney Blu-Ray movie club and I am very satisfied with my membership. I actually do save money with the club, also with your equations af far as the featured usually if you get the feature title at regular and get another movie usually 50% off you get FREE shipping on the entire order. Only thing you need to remember is if you Join you have to buy 4 more titles at regular club price and an if joining from a ad you recieved you can get a movie at 14.95 and that will count as 1 leaving you with only 3 more to buy and if you think buying 3 more at one time like I thought would fill you commitment it will not because only the first movie is at regular club price and the others are at the discount price. although I did not realize this It was still a good deal and it was fine with me. I am a happy clyub member with the club and after you buy your commitment amount of movies you become a VIP member and the deals get better. Read the information that comes with your membership and this club membership will actually save you quite a bit of money if you work the club properly and like I said Read the rules and you will save money.

  5. I have saved a lot with the Disney Movie Club. You probably won’t if you just buy the featured titles and that’s it. The real savings comes in when you buy the feature title and get the rest of your movies 40-60% off. If you buy the special deal (this is usually feature title and another DVD that they pick) you get free shipping on your total order along with a 3D picture card. Once you become a VIP you can even get a free pin.
    Basically if you plan on buying just the feature titles your probably won’t save that much but if you buy the additional dvd’s you can save quite a bit.

  6. I signed up for the movie club with a code that made the deal even better. Basically, I had to pay 1 for 5 movies and had to buy 3 more movies within 2 years. You still have the option to buy 1 more at 11.95 that counts towards your 3 which I did. So I only needed to buy 2 more at 30 each which would be 60. That plus the 13 I paid comes out to 73 dollars plus shipping for 8 disney blu rays. So just about 10 bucks each basically. I feel thats an amazing deal. Even used disney blu rays sell for that much or more on ebay. I ordered all classics which makes the value even higher. Honestly, if you buy a lot of disney movies, theres absolutely a ton of savings If you do it right. Just makes sure you find a good promo code and don’t go for their 5 dollars for the first 5 then 30 a piece for 5 more.

    • @Scott,
      You are correct in saying to wait for a good promo. I just signed on with a promo offering the following:
      $1 for the first 5 movies
      $11.95 for a second (which counts towards the 4 required purchases over 2 years), and
      $8.95 for an additional bonus DVD.
      Free shipping
      No tax (I live in UT).
      Total cost for initial order of 7 DVDs: $21.90

      I am now left with 3 remaining required purchases. At $19.95 each (since I’m only buying DVDs) plus $3.95 shipping for each one, the total follow-up purchases will cost me $71.70 ((19.95+3.95)*3).

      This means my cost for a total of 10 DVDs will be $93.60. That’s a unit cost of $9.36 for each DVD – not too shabby considering used prices on Amazon and eBay are still hovering around $15/DVD for Disney titles.

      The trick will just be to keep on top of the “Feature Title” scheme by rejecting those I do not want insomuch that I only get the 10 DVDs of my choice – no more, no less.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *