A while back when I was writing about movie piracy I happened across an article that stated if the studios really want to work with the consumer and help slow down online piracy, they need to make movies available on the same day across multiple platforms. It was an interesting thought.
I'm guessing Warner Bros. was not listening.
Netflix announced a new agreement with Warner Bros. that is going to allow them to have more direct-to-video offerings and streaming titles from Warner Bros., but there's a massive catch... One that leaves the consumer out in the cold.
This agreement is going to force Netflix to wait 28 days after a movie has been released for sale on DVD/Blu-ray before they can offer it up as a new rental to members.
I'm surprised that Warners would create this kind of agreement. In the consumer market, I speak my opinion with my wallet - but sometimes that's very difficult if a particular movie is released that totally knocks your socks off and you want to get your hands on it ASAP. Of course, that's what Warner Bros. is banking on, isn't it?
Other studios are probably sitting back and waiting to see how this pans out, but we know how it's going to end up as some folks will indeed buy the DVDs who might have otherwise just rented them during the first month of release. But for those who tend to rent more than buy this is no bargain. Renting is the more economical method to see a movie and if you cannot afford theater tickets or the purchase price of DVDs, you're going to be punished and made to wait even longer now.
WB says 75% of a DVD title's sale takes place in the first 4 weeks of its release. So even with rentals being available at the same time as purchased discs, they're making 75% of their sales in those initial weeks. So why the reason for the wait? To drive that number to 80% or 85%? Is that worth the ire they're going to raise among movie fans?
Netflix, playing ball with their new arrangement, calls this a win-win situation all around. They call it win-win because they will get more titles and projects from Warner Bros. to offer their customers. But I have to wonder about this "offering more to the customer" bit. In time, won't we all be able to access this stuff online anyway? It is the digital age. It is inevitable. It looks like Warner Bros. is jumping the gun on the future to make some additional bucks while they can.
Right now, I have a choice of whom I wish to support: The studio holding out on me with their rentals vs. the other studios. But if other studios follow suit, then heck, I'm not sure what I'll do.
Regular readers know my usual stance on online movie piracy. Piracy is a big issue in the industry and this kind of bad policy is not going to help their arguments to stop it.
I'm wondering what Screen Rant readers have to say on this issue? Sound off gang! Let your comments tell Warner Bros. what you think of this. (I don't blame Netflix. They had a business opportunity, weighed the financial pros and cons, and decided to take it.)
Source: Business Insider