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According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, one of the major reasons his company entered into a new release delay deal with Warner Bros. is consumer ignorance. Last week, during Netflix’s fourth quarter earnings call, Hastings said that most Netflix subscribers don’t have a clue when movies are released on DVD. Here’s what Hastings said about the subject:

“For us, most consumers are not sure if DVDs come out 90 days after the theatrical release, 120 days, 150 days, 180 — it is all over the map. It constantly changes, not only between studios but also between specific releases.
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So there is not a high expectation of any perfect day when it is supposed to be out.
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. . Subscribers are just not that aware of when DVDs come out relative to [their theatrical release].”

Hastings went on to say that his company had received few complaints about lack of availability of The Invention of Lying, the first Warner film affected by the new deal, and that Netflix was “happy with the decision”. Only about a quarter of Netflix’s rentals are new releases, according to the company.

Are consumers really as clueless as Hastings claims when it comes to DVD release dates? If there’s a movie that you want to purchase or rent, Insiders, do you a bit of research and learn when it’s coming out on disc? Let us know if the comments.

[via NewTeeVee]

33 Responses to “Netflix CEO: Most Consumers Don’t Know DVD Release Dates”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jack [visitor]

    Netflix didn’t receive a lot of complaints about “Invention of lying” not being available probably because it wasn’t one of the better movies. I saw it at the theater and was disappointed. When the delay involves a real “blockbuster” movie, there will be many more complaints. Especially if the street date is advertised on TV much.

  2. Member [Join Now]
    lakrow [jbromert]

    I, for one, have never paid attention to release dates. To me, new movies don’t necessarily equal good movies. So, if I see a movie that looks interesting, I may rent or even buy it (after renting it first AND the price comes down). I don’t care if the movie was in theaters a few months earlier and just came to video or if it’s a 70 year old movie, it’s the quality that matters. When renting, I’ll pay just as much attention to the latest Spider-Man movie, the first Rocky (late 70s) or the original Uninvited (mid 40s) and so on.

    I do, however, check from time to time to see if a favorite classic that’s never made to dvd has come out yet – the original Uninvited, for example.

  3. Member [Join Now]

    Yeah… maybe most customers aren’t aware of release dates, because they have never made it easy to find upcoming movies or just released titles on their website.

    I mostly use Hollywood Bitchslap to track movie releases.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    Robert [visitor]

    Yeah, I don’t pay attention to release dates either. The typical moviegoer will drop $20 on a movie and popcorn because it kills time and it gives them something to talk about around the water cooler. That’s not why I watch movies.

  5. Member [Join Now]
    MovieWatcherSupreme [moviewatchersupreme]

    I don’t understand why there customers think they have any right to complain about this. Really Netflix Members? You are upset that the movies have a delay? You sit on your asses all day and are to lazy to go get a movie from a store, and to cheap to see it in theatres, yet you feel fine with complaining about this short delay? Gee it must be upsetting when you stare at your computer screen and don’t have the pleasure of clicking on a movie you want that gets mailed to you anyway. So depressing. Take a chill pill people.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Volcanicast [visitor]

    I am usually quite aware of release dates. I am subscribed to this site, after all. :) In addition, I listen to a SciFi podcast that says, every week, what new SciFi movies are coming out on DVD. I am under no illusion, however, that I am like “most consumers.”

    And while I know when movies are coming out, this rarely impinges on me. When I see a movie I want to see I plonk it in my Netflix queue. When I’m out and think “Hey, I want to see a movie but I don’t have any at home” I go to the local Redbox and see what they have. It matters not one bit to me when the movie became available.

    There exist far more movies (and TV shows on DVD) RIGHT NOW that I want to see, than I’ll be able to watch for probably a decade. And in that time more will be released. I am not worried in the least that a delay in rental release dates will cause me to not have anything to watch.

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    Zeta [visitor]

    I don’t care about release dates also.

  8. Member [Join Now]

    I am very aware of all DVD release dates. I’m constantly checking on when the newest movies will be available…and then going to Wikipedia to look up whether the movie is distributed by Fox, Warner, or Universal, so I can decide on when to check my local Redbox for the embargoed titles. However, if it is decided that a title won’t be available for an additional 30 days then so be it. I don’t go to the theater to see movies anyway so i’ve already waited for awhile to see the movie anyway. There are very few movies that i’d die to see on the first day of DVD release anyhow.

  9. Member [Join Now]

    blissfully unaware of release dates. I honestly don’t even care when movies come out. I go to the theater once or twice a year at the most. I’d much rather watch at home.
    I only know new movies come out when I get an email form Redbox or when the studios are promoting a release and I see a commercial for it. However with TiVo I don’t see all that many commercials so I get recommendations about new DVD releases from friends more than anything.

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    dontcare [visitor]

    After having kids, I don’t even know when movies hit the theaters much less when they hit the streets to buy or to rent. If I see a trailer on TV, I make a mental note that the movie looks interesting and I’ll probably rent it. Point is, I’ll never buy a movie, I’ll only rent and I have a lot patience and very little “fun” time so waiting doesn’t bother me at all.

  11. Member [Join Now]
    LABASAUTOMOTIVE [labasautomotive]

    I don’t pay attention to release dates except for maybe 1 week in advance. Further than that…I wouldn’t remember anyway.

    When I see someone on this site post the releases…I read them and look over their posting, but I wouldn’t normally track this.

  12. Visitor [Join Now]
    IHateBlockbuster [visitor]

    I think many people DO keep track of when DVD’s are released. If I can’t get a title from Netflix, I just go to Redbox.

    The whole issue of delaying titles is a game that does not have much real impact. If someone is willing to wait for a title to be released on DVD instead of going to a theater, they are not likely to buy it just because Netflix or Redbox does not have it for a few weeks.

    I am amazed how little the studios understand the rental customer.

  13. Visitor [Join Now]
    Paula [visitor]

    I don’t pay attention to release dates–I only know if It’s a movie I’m absolutely dying to see and they mention the date of availability on a commercial. It’s no big deal.

  14. Member [Join Now]
    Schnarr [schnarr]

    Is there a new code useable today??? Beings it’s Feb 1st??

  15. Member [Join Now]

    Thanks because they never have the new releases available. I hardly ever able to get the new releases when they come out. I always get a Very Long Wait or Long Wait status on Netflix. It’s more like Netflix doesn’t know when the release date is. I’ve been thinking of canceling my Netflix membership altogether.

  16. Visitor [Join Now]
    wells carey [visitor]

    netflix ceo is an a$$ has he ever heard of the internet? there are many places to find out what movies are being released and when!! myself I use it lists all the movies releasing each tuesday and month by month
    he is the one that is ignorant!!!!!

  17. Visitor [Join Now]
    Olderman [visitor]

    I signed with netflix about 2 weeks ago and so far its been very good. The only things I see that I would like to changes is. the ability to sort movies by year and view they that way
    Also I don’t think there enough instant viewing movies. All movies older that 2000 should be able to view instantly. I will keep netflix for awhile to see how things go,but there are alot
    of other way on the enternet to watch movies and new release. I wanted to watch
    Benny Hill series and all the shows are on Dvd only I should be able to watch then
    instantly… Well enough for now.

  18. Visitor [Join Now]
    kd dotson [visitor]

    I set up my Netflix cue top movies by release date.

  19. Visitor [Join Now]
    Mike [visitor]

    how do i get my public library on the list?

  20. Member [Join Now]

    I do check the release dates for dvds. I use and A lot of times I forget the release date until I either see it in the Target ads or on those websites

  21. Visitor [Join Now]
    usafsam [visitor]

    I also place movies I want to see on my Que long before they come out and track the release dates. The imbicile who thinks we are not aware needs to think before he speaks. We place things in our Ques but it is Netflix who are the asses for not sending it to those who have had it in our Que the longest. I have had Avater listed in mine since the first TV ad for the movie… doubt I will get it the first week of release because the company has no sense of customer service. Reed Hastings, get a clue!!!

  22. Member [Join Now]
    Cypherdude [cypherdude]

    I was a Netflix customer for over 1.5 years. I used Netflix, and before that BlockBuster online, to tell me the release dates. Release dates are very important to me because I like to see new movies ASAP. I NEVER had any problems getting new releases from Netflix on the day they came out. There was NEVER ANY delay for me.

    Now that Netflix is delaying movies, there’s no way I’ll stay with them. I’ll probably just use a couple small independent B&M rental places and Redbox. I don’t have the time to be seeing a lot of movies anymore and I have cut down on rentals anyway. BTW, I plan to use VideoETA to see when new movies are released. The idea that consumers can’t figure out when a new movie is released is ridiculous.

  23. Visitor [Join Now]
    alvin [visitor]

    I ALWAYS check for DVD release dates and put DVDs in my Netflix queue based on them. Now I have to pay $6 through Comcast to watch new releases or go to my local DVD kiosk at the grocery store. This is seriously compromising my customer status with Netflix and could very well lead me to look elsewhere for DVD rentals. This is absurd. Bye Netflix.

  24. Visitor [Join Now]
    Cindy [visitor]

    This really pisses me off. I could not figure out why Invention of Lying had a pushed out release date and tried to contact netflix about it. If they are going to pull this crap they could at least let their customer’s know. And yes I do know when movies are released…I add them to my que the week before they come out. Latest one…..The Informant….release date 2/23/10…..Netflix release date….3/23/10. Netflix….YOU SUCK!

  25. Visitor [Join Now]
    James [visitor]

    As someone who has worked in entertainment retail for 15 years, I can promise you that most customers are aware of DVD release dates. If not from searching the Internet, they are aware of when a movie is released from the television, newspaper, circular and billboard advertising purchased by the DVD distributors to drive the release. Of course a company that makes finding new releases as difficult as Netflix has on its site would make such a ridiculous assumption. If anyone (read: Hastings) is clueless enough to think the consumer is unaware of when a movie is released, all that person needs to do is to look at the DVD sales and rental charts each week. The #1 DVD and most of the top sellers/rentals are new releases.

  26. Visitor [Join Now]
    Joe [visitor]

    I am one of the weirdos that does keep track of release dates and I abhor the new Netflix policy of not releasing dvds that I can rent elsewhere before they become available to me on Netflix. It bothers me that films like “Crazy Heart” are out now but not available on Netflix until late May. Netflix can twist the reality any way they like, but the new policy doe suck.

  27. Member [Join Now]
    LABASAUTOMOTIVE [labasautomotive]

    at Joe:

    It only should bother you if you feel the need to be the first to rent it. If that was the case you probably would also feel the need to see it first at a theater too.

    Once you get on a schedule of knowing whats coming out at the place that you rent most..for me its only REDBOX…then its a mute point.

    In your defense…my husband asks me when he sees an ad on TV “isnt that out yet?”. So the uninformed are disappointed….but not someone like you and me who track and research and read other Insiders’s reviews.