Sony Pictures is experimenting with cheaper movie downloads, offering a couple of recent releases at iTunes and Amazon.com for $13 a download, versus $15 for the DVD.
Sony, which has tried similar tests before, is searching for a price that stimulates download sales but won't erode demand for DVDs.
Which pretty much guarantees that Sony is doomed to fail, because they're too focused on preserving the old business model to really put any imagination into developing the new. And because, well, the DVD is dead. And not just the DVD, but all physical media.
No, physical media won't disappear entirely, but the future of video is online, both streaming and download, and that's going to require an entirely different approach to pricing. I can stream all the Netflix movies I want for $8 a month, or grab a DVD out of a Redbox for only a dollar (not mention the wide availability of illegal torrents and streams). Sure, I might pay a buck or two more to watch a movie online in exchange for better convenience, selection and legitimacy, but I don't see the point in spending $13 to own a download I can't even put on my shelf... especially knowing that the incremental cost to the studio is virtually nil.
I'm not sure what the winning model(s) will be, but I can guarantee you that the studios won't get there by focusing on preserving demand for DVDs.