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 $20 for content while pocketing a much larger share of the revenue. 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 . . . 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)