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It’s not a secret in Hollywood that theatrical windows—the time between when a movie is released in theaters and on video or VOD—have been shrinking. Whereas a few years ago it was common for six months or more to pass between theater and home release, the window has shrunk down to an average of around four months. And that’s still not short enough, according to one analyst.

BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield believes that studios need to cut theatrical windows to a mere eight weeks, after which films should be made available for electronic sell-through for a premium. Such a move, according to Greenfield, would allow studios to charge upwards of for content while pocketing a much larger share of the revenue.
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Says Greenfield.

“Studios need to create an earlier release window where consumers do not have the ability to choose low-priced options such as Redbox or Netflix .
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. . Given that the first-sale doctrine does not apply to digital, it is logical to offer digital movies for sale/rent well before physical versions are made available.”

Premium VOD has been much-discussed recently by Hollywood, especially by Warner Bros. Many commenters on this site have expressed the view that they would never pay $20 or more just to see a movie at home a few weeks or months earlier than they normally would.

Regarding likely opposition from theater owners to such a vastly diminished theatrical window, Greenfield says that as compelling as theater owners’ case may be, for Hollywood it will all come down to consumer preference:

“Disregarding what consumers want in a period of rapid technological change/development is a recipe for disaster.”

Greenfield’s comment is correct, but he believes that shorter theatrical windows and premium-priced video-on-demand are “what consumers want”. Spot on or spotty logic, Insiders?

(via Home Media Magazine)

15 Responses to “Analyst: Theatrical Windows Should Be Cut in Half”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jack [visitor]

    Would only pay $20 if it was released to VOD the same day it is released into theaters. It would save me money in the long run – usually costs around $50 for my family to go… I can make my own popcorn and watching it at home on a 120″ projection screen isn’t bad either.

    I would NEVER pay $20 for a month or even 2 months VOD release prior to dvd rental.

    Stupid studios….. I’ve purchased LESS videos since this delay window garbage.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    sali colburn [visitor]

    People want things now. Theatre is a luxury these days and so expensive.
    Release it within a week, so we can watch it at home. A smaller price than the theatre, but probably 5 times more viewers. They’ll actually make money!

  3. Member [Join Now]

    I’m not paying twenty bucks to watch it at home. I’ll wait for it to get to a cheaper format.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    firstlawofnature [visitor]

    This guy needs to get a job at a studio so he can make all these changes. I suspect though no matter how the pie is cut up that it won’t get much bigger. Movies are simply competing for time against a plethora of activities that were underdeveloped or didn’t exist in the recent past. By definition the value of movie content has been diluted.

    If they come up with a new format that blows the mind – like the interactive 3D scene in ‘minority report’ – then the pie will get bigger. Until then watch your costs Mr. Studio.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jamie [visitor]

    if he really thinks the public wants it earlier for $20 a pop he needs to get a new career because he doesn’t have a clue what the public really wants.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    haha [visitor]

    if they would provide a dvd copy of the movie when you go to see it at the theaters without raising the already overinflated prices then more people would go to the movies instead of waiting.

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    Russ [visitor]

    A shorter window means the price the theaters are willing to pay will decrease. The studios will therefore be driven even more by hit movies than they already are, which will make their portfolios riskier and their investors looking for increased risk yield to compensate for the increased risk.

    At some point you will begin to see small studios pop up to compete with the fat tigers.

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Michael [visitor]

    Funny how lip service is now being paid to “what consumers want”…. I’d think it’s obvious that what we want is a better price point, and that Joe Q Public does not either care or notice the difference in “windows”. $1 a rental is certainly better than $0 from Bittorrent!

  9. Visitor [Join Now]
    Video Store Owner [visitor]

    Sorry, but you are not seeing how many customers run into the store on every Tuesday to get the latest movie that comes out. They refuse to wait. There will always be a large segment of our population that have no patience. Good for business though :)

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      James [visitor]

      I do not feel it is because people have no patience. I do not like going to the video store only to find a movie i want and it not available. I go on Tuesday so that I can get all the movies I want the first trip to the store. The rest I get at Netflix and Redbox. Also at my video store(Family Video) for every new release you rent you get an older one free(Tuesday thru Thursday). I also have the half price package. Last week I rented 17 movies(half new releases) for $25. That includes my once a month fee for half off. I used to go to Blockbuster but they all closed. We have no BB Express kiosks here. Today I will get 4 from Redbox, 3 from Netflix and hopefully 5 new releases from my video store(plus 5 old ones). I have a large family with a variety of tastes. I rent from Redbox online. Today I make 1 trip to Redbox and the Video store. I usually get 6 movies a week from Netlfix on my $25 dollar monthly plan. That is a little over a dollar a movie. So Today I will get 17 movies for a total of $15. Personally I do not watch many movies but my grandparents, children and grandchildren do.

      • Member [Join Now]
        LindaJean [labasautomotive]

        When do you have the time to watch all those movies….then I got to the end of your comment and all the movies were for you family. But how do they watch them so quickly for the ones that are a 1 night rental?

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jimbo [visitor]

    The idea of releasing movies earlier on VOD and then later on DVD sounds good but has it’s own problems. Once a movie is available on VOD the counterfeiters will download, copy and sell them. DVD’s are already easy to copy. Video capturing software is available for VOD. Encryption will always be broken. Copies of screener dvds are being sold all the time. I think the movie studios are over evaluating their product.

  11. Visitor [Join Now]
    Zelma Cressell [visitor]

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  12. Visitor [Join Now]
    3 day cleanse diet [visitor]

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  13. Member [Join Now]
    ROSSINFL [rossinfl]

    public wants to watch movies at home. thats why more and more people are building their own home theater systems/rooms. the price to go see a movie at the multiple is insane. our economy is terrible yet every year you see ticket prices at your local movie multiplex go up but you havent seen the price to rent a dvd/blu ray at redbox go up have you?

    movie studios spend way too much money making movies esp on actors salaries. a movie is good based on the plot/story not whos in it. how did all the
    big stars become big. they were in good movies thats how. a good movie makes the actor not the other way around.