|Sat Dec 29 2012 23:30:41|
Why Is Amazon Limiting Sales of DVD Titles?
By: Ina Steiner
Amazon.com has instituted restrictions on many DVD titles, sending third-party sellers into a tailspin as they try to figure out if it's a temporary or permanent policy change. Sellers have started multiple threads over the past 6 weeks looking for answers as to why Amazon is limiting the sale of DVDs that they were previously allowed to list and looking for patterns to help them determine what's going on.
Adding to their concerns are reports that Amazon was allowing FBA sellers to send their DVDs to Amazon fulfillment centers even after the restrictions, which were unknown to the sellers, thereby costing them money and tying up inventory.
One seller wrote, "I have been selling this listing for a long time and they are all brand new bought through a repetuable (sic) distributor and never had even 1 return of this item and now it lets me send in inventory but not sell them so I have to pay to get them sent back. Why is amazon letting us send in "restricted" items to FBA if it won't allow us to sell them?"
Another seller said the restrictions were for DVDs from a few studios, mainly Warner Brothers. An interesting observation, give that that particular studio has been cracking down on third-party sellers on Amazon - see this September article, "Warner Bros. Suing Amazon Sellers for Copyright Infringement." He compiled a list of some of the titles Amazon was reported to be restricting:
All BBC titles
Some HBO titles
The Closer all seasons
Big Bang Theory
Game of Thrones
Cloverfield - (Paramount)
One Tree Hill - The Complete First Season - (Warner Bros.)
Party of Five - The Complete First Season - (Sony)
Scooby-Doo - Abracadabra-Doo - (Warner Bros.)
Step Brothers - 2 Disc Unrated Widescreen Version - (Columbia)
When Giants Roamed - The Golden Age of Steam - (A&E)
He went on to write, "FBA sellers are really getting hurt by this. In some cases, they already have the now-unsellable DVDs sitiing (sic) in the Amazon warehouses. In other cases, Amazon allows FBA sellers to create listings and send the DVDs in, then when they get to the warehouse, the listings are blocked by Amazon, unsellable."
Some of the threads in which Amazon third-party sellers are discussing the restrictions are here and here.
Some sellers theorized the restrictions were due to concerns over counterfeit DVDs; competitive reasons (Amazon offers the titles in physical and digital formats); demands by studios to limit titles to authorized dealers; or perhaps as part of licensing agreements Amazon has entered into with studios.
One seller suggested, "Amazon has been increasingly restricting dvd and video game listings. For one reason or another, they have closed off the new condition listing on your product. This is usually at the request of the manufacturer, but occasionally it is gated off for pre-approval to the category manager in order to list."
Some sellers shared the responses they received from Amazon customer support, but they left sellers as confused as before reading the explanations provided by service reps.
"I had the same problem a couple of day's ago with a Christmas blu-ray," wrote a seller on the Amazon discussion boards. "I talked to seller support on the phone and they said movie comp. such as Warner brothers and paramount place restrictions on certin (sic) best selling titles around Christmas. You can still list but not as a new product. It will be lifted after Christmas."
Sellers hoped as far back as November that Amazon would provide clarity on the restrictions.