Studios, Theater Chains Far Apart on Early Home Movie Release Deal – Variety (Feb 23, 2017)
This effort has been underway for some time, but mostly among smaller players at the periphery, not the big studios. But it now appears that major movie studios are becoming more open to the idea of at-home rentals within weeks of theatrical openings for at least some of their movies. The thinking is apparently that the studios have to give consumers what they want or they’ll find it illegally, though I’m not sure that $50 at-home rentals two and a half weeks after opening is exactly “what consumers want”. Unless you have a large group, that’s going to be significantly more than you’re paying for movie tickets, and you’ll still have to wait 17 days. Of course, theater owners make far higher margins on concessions than they do on showing movies, and that revenue goes away entirely under this scenario, so the studios are having to promise to compensate cinema chains for any lost revenue, which is partly why the cost is so high. Lots of evidence here that, though the industry understands the need for change, it’s still resistant to really giving people what they want, largely because the existing value chain is so entrenched, which is very similar to the dynamic in the closely related TV industry.
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