Weirdsville: Pricing is Designing

In Radiohead: Pricing is Designing I explored how crucial pricing is to a product’s success and advocated how it should come under the purview of design.


Now comes a movie Weirdsville, directed by Allan Moyle (Pump Up the Volume, New Waterford Girl) opening this Friday with a twist. Its producer Nicholas Tabarrok will refund the ticket price if a moviegoer doesn’t like the movie:

It occurred to me that this is a common thing… If you buy a product and you’re not satisfied, you get your money back… The same principle [should apply] to film

In the computer industry the ‘shareware’ model allows potential customers to sample an application for a limited time, after which the app becomes unusable. In movies, however, once you see it you have consumed 100% of its value. So ticket returns is far more problematic.

If a producer decides on a ticket refund policy before the movie is made what kind of a pressure would that place on the director? Would it be a safe bet to assume movie plots would substantially change to accommodate the likelihood of ticket refunds? Is this an homogenizing effect?

Bonus question: Does the fact that Alex Tabarrok, the economist, is the brother of Nicholas Tabarrok have anything to do with this?

(Via Playback.)