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  #1  
12-12-2011, 10:57 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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I stopped into Microcenter yesterday and noticed something different in the blank media section. I spotted some Verbatim DVD+R DL spindles labeled as "AZO DVD+R DL" similar to how Verbatim labels their Azo brand CD-Rs.



Could Verbatim be labeling their "good" media in a more prominent matter so people know what they are buying, or could they be re-labeling the good stuff and start flooding the channel with re-branded crap since everyone knows to avoid the "Life Series"? On that note, I also noticed that there were hardly any "Life Series" packages on the shelf.

Also, does Verbatim make any DVD blanks in Japan anymore? I'm running across some online sellers claiming to have MIJ Verbatim media. I have never seen it on the shelf here, just stuff from India (Moser-Baer), Taiwan (CMC) and UAE (FTI).


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  #2  
12-13-2011, 03:14 AM
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All MIJ Verbatims are actually made by Taiyo Yuden (DVDRs) or Matsushita Electric (DVD-RAM). Mitsubishi Chemicals (the owner of the "Verbatim" brand) does not make any DVD media in Japan any longer.
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  #3  
12-13-2011, 05:36 AM
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Mitsubishi's primary media production/R&D facility is in Singapore, and is the only operation they own outright. They have advanced rental/outsourcing arrangements with CMC Magnetics (Taiwan) and Moser Baer (India), to produce media elsewhere. MCC oversees the production in the unowned plants. I believe Prodisc (Taiwan) is also still an outsourcing partner, but most of what I see and hear about these days is CMC and MBI.

I don't recall Mitsubishi ever operating a Japanese facility, even if the company is Japanese -- at least not during the DVD era (2001-2011). Maybe there was some CD-R production at such a facility years and years ago, but that would pre-date my tracking of such data. If I've seen, heard or read about Japanese MCC, I've forgotten it.

The only Japanese media I've seen under a Verbatim label is Taiyo Yuden or Matsushita manufactured discs.
Trivia:
-- Matsushita = Panasonic (actually, the parent of Panasonic, similar to how Mitsubishi is parent of Verbatim).
-- Taiyo Yuden owns the "JVC" brand name as it relates to optical media, but the parent owner of the primary "JVC" brand name is also Matsushita (last I knew, at least -- it was definitely true in the era of S-VHS VCRs).

Also be careful to never confuse Mitsubishi Electric with Mitsubishi Kagaku Media a.k.a. Mitsubishi Chemicals Corp. ME often uses the "Mitsubishi" name brand, which is misleading to otherwise savvy buyers. These are generally inferior discs, especially compared to MCC/MKM discs.

The MJC media ID is often also falsely connected to Mitsubishi, but belongs to Megan Media that's also based in Singapore. These are generally inferior discs, especially compared to MCC/MKM discs.

Has your head exploded yet?

Advanced outsourcing (beyond private label) and M&A has made tracking some of this stuff difficult through the years. As usual, just follow the money. You'll eventually get there. Even the counterfeit media manufacturers in backwards countries leave open records paper trails.

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  #4  
12-13-2011, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
Could Verbatim be labeling their "good" media in a more prominent matter so people know what they are buying, or could they be re-labeling the good stuff and start flooding the channel with re-branded crap since everyone knows to avoid the "Life Series"? On that note, I also noticed that there were hardly any "Life Series" packages on the shelf.
To answer this question, too:

Verbatim flirted with outsourcing (basic re-labeling of products from others) during the 2x DVD-R era, using CMCMAG discs instead of MCC01RG20. It was horrible. That didn't last long, because there were near-instant cries in user forums (videographers, photographers, archivists, IT folks, etc) of "Verbatim = crap" after Verbatim had built up a good reputation for its brand. Within months, it was all MCC discs again.

The release of Value Series and Life Series in 2009 was disappointing, but media prices have shot back up at least 10-20% in the past 12-18 months, so there's a chance their own media production is once again more profitable than bulk buying/dumping cheapo discs. If Life/Value is disappearing, this is probably why.

In 2006, Verbatim MCC CD-R was available easily for $6 per 50-pack on sale. These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find $8 per 50 discs, and that's only if you bought a 100-pack. A 50-pack is easily $10. The only way to save a few extra dollars is to buy known-unreliable discs. Even grandmas and soccer moms won't touch the Philips (CMC) dreck you see in Big Lots, as they've been burned (no pun intended) in the past.

Verbatim alters their branding every couple of years, moving the AZO logo around. Verbatim employees visit this site (I have the IP range flagged in logs), so I know they're reading. (Peekaboo! I see you!) They likely read several sites, to keep ahead on trends in reputation, what helps sell in terms of image/branding, etc.

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  #5  
12-13-2011, 10:07 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Pricing has definitely evened out, at least at Microcenter. The Life Series 100 pack was only a dollar cheaper then the Data Life Plus/AZO 100 pack!

Was JVC always under the Matsushita? Seems odd given the history of VHS and the many times JVC and Panasonic/National/Quasar were at odds with each other, particularly over the LP tape speed. But thats for another thread.
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  #6  
12-13-2011, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
Was JVC always under the Matsushita? Seems odd given the history of VHS and the many times JVC and Panasonic/National/Quasar were at odds with each other, particularly over the LP tape speed. But thats for another thread.
The best way to corner a market is to provide the illusion of competition.

Panasonic had owned JVC since the 1950s.

While JVC and Panasonic operated independently, the money flowed back to a shared parent corporation. For years, I had a laugh about HP and Compaq being perceived as "rivals" (after the 2002 merger), or Philips and Magnavox. Even the notion of DVD-R vs DVD+R was somewhat quaint, when you considered blank media manufacturers tended to belong to both groups (unlike DVD player and computer makers). I still remember the days when Samsung CRTs were rebadged Sony CRTs. Perceived "competition" by consumers can easily be gamed.

There have also been signs that JVC and Panasonic shared some tech, when it came to VCRs. Certain methods or hardware were eerily similar.

In 2006, Kenwood and Matsushita jointly owned JVC, after Kenwood bought controlling shares. In 2008, JVC was largely dissolved and broken up, spun off into a separate mess (JVC Kenwood), and no longer part of Matsushita directly (minority stake?). But they also no longer owned all of the "JVC" brands (hence JVC Taiyo Yuden). I've not seen any JVC branded merchandise in years now, so I think the brand is idle in North America. No idea what it's doing in Japan or Europe. For a few years (2006-2008), JVC was pulling a Polaroid, and nothing more than a brand selling goods from other manufacturers. DVD recorders, for example. Even their lousy pre-TY DVD media was that way: WFKA (Wealthfair Investments), some of the worst crap Chinese discs ever.

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  #7  
12-13-2011, 12:02 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
For a few years (2006-2008), JVC was pulling a Polaroid, and nothing more than a brand selling goods from other manufacturers. DVD recorders, for example. Even their lousy pre-TY DVD media was that way: WFKA (Wealthfair Investments), some of the worst crap Chinese discs ever.
I think the only consumer products they are actively marketing are their Everio line of camcorders, otherwise its all pro video equipment nowadays. JVC definitely had the NIH (not-invented-here) mindset in the 80s though. Their bickering allowed their cousin Panasonic basically own the VHS market (just about every machine in the early 80s was a Panasonic re-badge) and allowed Panasonic's "variety" of VHS to become a defacto standard. To this day, VHS tape interchange between JVC and "everyone else" (Panasonic and the clones) is bound to result in some tracking issues.

As for media, Imation is playing the same game. They own the TDK brand now and continue to market it side by side with the Imation brand. Its a shame, TDK made great media back in the day (both magnetic tape and optical), now its just rebranded crap. Even Imation used to sell good optical media back when they were re-branding Made in the USA Ricoh discs.

Quote:
For years, I had a laugh about HP and Compaq being perceived as "rivals" (after the 2002 merger), or Philips and Magnavox.
HP had some issues "repositioning" the Compaq brand. I think they wanted to market HP as the premium and Compaq as mid-range, but it never happened. Phillips was an interesting case. Philco prevented them from using the Phillips brand in the US, so they went with the Norelco brand and later bought out the Magnavox. They finally got to use their own name on consumer electronics in the US after Philco went under (which they also bought).
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  #8  
12-14-2011, 02:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
TDK made great media back in the day (both magnetic tape and optical
Yes, they did!

My best VHS and S-VHS tapes are easily TDK branded tapes. Just overall excellent quality, both in build and in the quality of the recorded signals. Tape grades really determined how many dropouts your tapes had, percentage of grain, color depth, etc. Analog video took more art that digital does, when it comes to recording.

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