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Archive for November, 2009

circling_vultureIt seems the buzzards might be circling a little lower over once-mighty Blockbuster, whose third-quarter results revealed a massive hemorrhaging of both dollars and customers. The nation’s largest video rental company has revealed that its revenues sank 24% this last quarter, a steeper drop than investors were anticipating. Additionally, same-store sales declined at double the expected amount.

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familyRemember the scene at the end of The Aviator when Leonardo DiCaprio/Howard Hughes stares into a mirror and repeats “The way of the future, the way of the future,” over and over? He may well have been talking about online media viewing, based on the results of a recent study by Parks Associates. According to the study, the number of U.S. broadband households that watch television shows and movies online has doubled in the last year.

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statueA topic that comes up fairly frequently in discussions on this site is the First-Sale Doctrine. As not all of our readers may be familiar with this term and its relevance to the home video industry, we thought it would be a good idea to offer a brief explanation of this often misunderstood tenet of copyright law.

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Binary codeIt looks like Blockbuster is not the only kiosk vendor getting into the digital downloads game. Paul Davis, the CEO of Redbox parent Coinstar, announced yesterday at an investor summit that the kiosk operator is testing a new digital service with CinemaNow.

Through the arrangement, a selected group of Redbox’s most active customers will be able to purchase prepaid rental packages, which will include a digital download, at redbox.com. Read the rest of this entry »

BBexpress digitalBlockbuster and NCR Corp. have partnered to create the Redbox-fighting Blockbuster Express kiosk network, and hope to have 10,000 of the machines in place by the end of next year.  The companies’ latest bid to steal market share from Redbox and VOD is a new pilot program consisting of digital download kiosks at select locations.

Customers use the kiosks to purchase an SD card containing a digital copy of a movie. Also installed on the SD card is digital rights management software (better-known by its sinister acronym: DRM). The software allows the movie to be watched for 30 days from the date of purchase. Additionally, once the customer has begun to watch the film, they have 48 hours until the content is locked to prevent further viewing.

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Netflix_logoWe’ve known for a while now that Redbox is not the only DVD renter that has a pricing/distribution arrangement Hollywood finds unacceptable. We reported a few weeks ago that several major studios are trying to impose a 30-day rental embargo on all new releases, which would also impact Netflix, the other quickly expanding DVD rental provider.

In our previous piece on the issue, we quoted Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who said that he was amenable to the proposed delay as long as the numbers were to his liking:

“If we can agree on low-enough pricing,” observed Hastings, “delayed rental could potentially increase profits for everyone.”

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DVD Price Wars 2009

price warThere’s a new war being waged for DVD retail dollars, and the winners are consumers looking for a home entertainment bargain. In the last few days, three of the largest DVD retailers in the industry have gotten into one of the most heated online pricing battles in recent memory.

Last Thursday, Walmart’s website slashed the prices of ten of the most anticipated DVD releases of the year–including Star Trek, Angels & Demons and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince–to $10. Within hours, Amazon and Target matched the prices on their own sites, which has since prompted Walmart to further lower its prices on the titles to $9.98.

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A pretty full list of releases this week. What will you see?

American Virgin R
Starring: Jenna Dewan,Rob Schneider,Brianne Davis
Genre:
Release Year: 2009
movie details / trailer
Bajo La Sal NR
Starring: Humberto Zurita,Irene Azuela
Genre:
Release Year: 2008
movie details / trailer
Ghost PG-13
Starring: Demi Moore,Patrick Swazye,Whoopie Goldberg
Genre: redbox Replay
Release Year: 1990
movie details / trailer
Major League R
Starring: Tom Berenger,Charlie Sheen
Genre: redbox Replay
Release Year: 1989
movie details / trailer
Mike Epps: Under Rated, Never Faded NR
Starring: Mike Epps
Genre:
Release Year: 2009
movie details / trailer
Natalee Holloway NR
Starring: Tracy Pollan,Grant Show
Genre:
Release Year: 2009
movie details / trailer
Nostradamus 2012 NR
Starring: NA
Genre:
Release Year: 2009
movie details / trailer
Spongebob: Truth or Square NR
Starring: NA
Genre:
Release Year: 2009
movie details / trailer
Spread R
Starring: Ashton Kutcher,Anne Heche
Genre:
Release Year: 2009
movie details / trailer
Summer's Moon R
Starring: Ashley Greene,Barbara Niven,Peter Mooney
Genre:
Release Year: 2009
movie details / trailer
The Accidental Husband PG-13
Starring: Colin Firth,Uma Thurman,Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Genre:
Release Year: 2008
movie details / trailer
The Christmas Clause NR
Starring: Lea Thompson,Andrew Airlie
Genre: Family,Family,Holiday
Release Year:
movie details / trailer
The Line R
Starring: Andy Garcia,Esai Morales,Ray Liotta
Genre:
Release Year: 2007
movie details / trailer
The Ugly Truth R
Starring: Gerard Butler,Katherine Heigl
Genre:
Release Year: 2009
movie details / trailer
Up PG
Starring: Ed Asner,Christopher Plummer,Jordan Nagai
Genre:
Release Year: 2009
movie details / trailer
Varsity Blues R
Starring: Jon Voight,James Van Der Beek
Genre: redbox Replay
Release Year: 1999
movie details / trailer

graph-going-down-300x300Industry journal The Wrap has once again given Mitch Lowe a soapbox, and the Redbox CEO has made the most of it.  Lowe has seized the opportunity to discuss his take on the protracted decline of DVD sell-through, as well as reiterate his commentary from last month that Redbox increases, not decreases, demand for DVDs.

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time_warner_logo2.standardTime Warner has released its third-quarter earnings, and according to Video Business the company is “upbeat. . .  noting improved studio performance plus stabilization of the overall DVD market.”  Time Warner also appears confident that continued growth in the rental, digital delivery and high-definition sectors will help keep home entertainment revenues in the black.

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