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calendarWe’ve already heard about at least one major studio putting the squeeze on Netflix to obtain more favorable terms. Now it appears that something more wide-reaching is afoot. According to the Los Angeles Times, several unnamed major studios are considering a new policy that would impose a moratorium on ALL DVD rentals for the first few weeks a title is available for sale. The plan’s obvious aim would be to push more consumers into purchasing titles, a transaction that is much more profitable for studios than a rental. Studio sources consulted for the story stated that “such plans were under consideration and probably would take effect next year.”

According to the Times, “Under the plan, new DVD releases would be available on a purchase-only basis for a few weeks, after which time companies such as Blockbuster Inc. and Netflix Inc. would be allowed to rent the DVDs to their customers. The move comes as the studios are grappling with sharply declining DVD revenue, which has long propped up the movie business.”

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, is quoted in the story saying that he has already discussed such delays with several of his suppliers. Said Hastings:

“The studios are wrestling with declines in DVD sales while the DVD rental market has been modestly growing. . . One of the mitigating steps some are considering is introducing a DVD retail sales-only window for a few weeks.”

Hastings went on to add that depending on the details of the arrangement, the delays could have a positive impact, as studios may have to offer rental companies lower wholesale pricing to obtain their acquiescence.

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

Interestingly, a Redbox spokesman consulted by the Times gave the impression that Redbox would go along with a sales-only window if it wasn’t the only company placed under such stipulations, since a blanket rental delay would level the playing field.

Would an inability to rent a title the first month or so it was available push you into buying more movies, Insiders? Could this be a canny move by studios, or is it just one more example of Hollywood’s insular thinking and devotion to an obsolete business model?

[via The L.A. Times]

59 Responses to “New Release Delays: Redbox Could be Getting Company”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Carson [visitor]

    I’ll buy maybe one or 2 more movies for the rest of my life. I don’t hardly watch the ones I have now, I’d rather rent something multiple times than own it.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    slidecage [visitor]

    you know i sort of hope this really happens.. why you ask ? for the simple reason it will allow small companies to get their dvds out … People will then start to see why the hell should we give 20 million bucks to one person to make a movie when an independ, person can make a better movie for 100,000 bucks. Yes for the short term the movies may suck but there are better movies out there then what the big guys will put out.. just look at

    .Paranoid Activity

    that movie is better then half of what the so called big boys put out … they only reason a big boy got it cause the person who made it sold out, instead of just releasing it themself…..(what you cant do now since the big boys own all of the rights..)

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      FalconFour [visitor]

      “…when an independ, person can make a better movie for 100,000 bucks.”

      I take it you’re familiar with the movie “Primer”, then? I think their budget was $5,000… they rented a camera, and a few months later, the world collectively shat bricks at the cinematic and story-telling genius. An excellent example, there.

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Sean [visitor]

    It will not make me buy more movies at all. But I don’t mind this idea. At least it’s fair. They need to quit picking on redbox. I wait months for movies to go through theaters, 30 more days is nothing to me…as long as it’s the same for all renters, and not just redbox customers.

  4. Member [Join Now]
    lakrow [jbromert]

    I’ve got no problem with this if the studios are going to do it to all the rental companies, though I don’t see it helping their sales much, if it all. I think all we’ll have are two new phrases – instead of having just a “release date”, we’ll have a “retail release date” and a “rental release date”. So, unless it’s a movie you just have to own IMMEDIATELY, I think most people will pay more attention to the “rental release date” as being the true release date.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    John Small [visitor]

    This would make Mom & Pop Video stores the best place to rent movies since they would just buy the movie and then rent it out.

    The studios can’t prevent people from renting out the product. First Sale Doctrine is in effect.

    It sounds like Hastings is in panic mode too.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      MomAndPopFan [visitor]

      Its nothing but great for you guys John Small…I like it. Now you can still get a few copies from your distributor on Friday to maintain the relationship, etc so you can still break street date with those….PLUS you go out and get the rest on street date at WalMart for $4-$5 cheaper than you paid from your distributor….keep that steady flow of porn going and now you can still make a decent living.

      Now let’s hope the studios don’t screw this one up……..AGAIN!

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      torc [visitor]

      cheapest is the best not soonest

    • Member [Join Now]
      Mark [rb123456789]

      It’s so funny that from some people’s point of view, when Redbox buys at retail it will never work, but when someone else does, its an advantage!

      Redbox is more like the Mom and Pop stores in the way they deal with the studios than Netflix and Blockbuster. Netflix and Blockbuster need to keep in the studios’ good graces to obtain licenses for streaming, Redbox and other video stores have no such need. So an across-the-board street rental date wouldn’t necessarily work the way the studios hope.

      Personally. I think all Walmart etc. need to do is raise their prices so DVDs are not a loss leader, then any reduced sales will be more than made up by all the rental outlets buying their stock!

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    The [visitor]

    Sounds like the studios are trying to move towards a settlement with Redbox and are testing the waters.

    This may seem more fair, but the line between retail sales and rentals is a thin one. They still sell a DVD to Redbox, it’s a sale. I think it’s still anticompetitive because they are offering to sell only to one group and so Redbox has a good case if they want to continue.

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    just me [visitor]

    Unless it is a movie I absolutely, no-question-about-it, want to own, I will wait and rent first. That doesn’t happen too often. The only time I buy movies before renting them is when they are deep discounted ($2-3 each) at going out of business sales and those usually end up being traded in at the local used book/video store. I know that i will survive waiting a few extra weeks so it won’t effect me at all.

    Because of the way I buy movies, to me it seems like selling to places like Redbox helps sales. I rent from Redbox for the “preview” and then, if I really like the movie, I buy it from the retailer. I also use NetFlix, mostly for older and odder films that aren’t available at Redbox. Same thing – rent it for the “preview” then, if I really want it, buy it from a retailer.

  8. Member [Join Now]
    ChadCronin [chadcronin]

    They can try doing that if they want. I don’t know anyone who is more likely to buy if that is the option before rental. I certainly would love to buy more movies but I don’t have the money. Also I am waiting for more catalogue titles to hit Blu-ray. Scream series, Nightmare on Elm Street Series, The Crow, Never Been Kissed, The Skulls. The studios need to focus on all their areas not just their release windows. I also was happy when they came out with letting you have a digital copy, but then dropped the ball by making it SD quality only. If I bought Blu-ray I did it for higher resolution, now to look at a crappier version on my laptop. If they want us to give, then need to give more. Entertainment is easy to walk away from when the providers seem too greedy and unwilling to listen to customer demand.

  9. Visitor [Join Now]
    Charlie [visitor]

    As mentioned above you can do whatever you want with the movie once purchased. Sounds to me like they are still just trying to cut redbox out because of their business model. Any rental stores that want to pay full price should still have the movie available. I would think people would be much more likely to make illegal copies with that type of limited availability.

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    mike [visitor]

    If the movie industry is going to be a bunch of jerks and make you wait a month in order to rent movies so you’ll be more likely to buy them that’s just going to make consumers less interested in movies cause their being jerked around. Brilliant idea.

  11. Visitor [Join Now]
    dillyclm [visitor]

    As with any policy, the key is enforcement. If all rental companies are to adhere to this agreement, this means that the Mom & Pops will have to follow these rules too. Although the first sale doctrine contradicts this agreement, it does give them the right to go and buy the title when released to retail and rent it out at their store. And this my friend is where the anti-trust issue comes into play. Unless the industry can monitor and enforce an even playing field, Redbox vs. the studios are right back at square one!!

  12. Visitor [Join Now]
    Ernie Beckley [visitor]

    This won’t change a thing for me. I still won’t buy a DVD until I’ve rented it first. Try before you buy is the best thing about the DVD rental industry. You know what would get me to buy more DVDs? Sell them for less money. I mean a LOT less. I’m sorry, but I will NEVER pay $15.00 for a DVD, no matter what. Get the prices under $10, and I’ll consider it. Sell them for $5-$7, and you can count me in. Of course, I am well aware that will never happen. So I’ll be sticking with Redbox and Netflix.

  13. Visitor [Join Now]
    Tanner [visitor]

    See here’s the thing for me:

    Everytime I buy a movie, two months later they come out with the ULTRA SPECIAL EDITION!
    I Have completely stopped buying movies new because of this. I will not spend $15-20 when a better version of the same movie was already planned to be released.

    I also won’t buy DVDs now because Blu-Ray is out. I don’t have a player for it yet though, but know I will in the not too distant future. Why would I buy DVDs when I know for $5 more in the future I’ll be able to get a HD copy?

    I believe that them jerking us around with special editions & ultra special editions and never before seen editions is what is causing many people to not buy movies anymore. Also the fact that there are multiple formats of the movie and people planning on upgrading is another reason sales are down.

    Just my opinion….I could be wrong.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Stephen [visitor]

      Not only that, but right now many Blu-Ray titles are $9.99 – $12.99 because they’re trying to build the BR consumer base. AND they generally throw in a DVD version for free! I got my BR player a few months ago and love it. However, since I rarely buy movies, most of what I have are concert videos (most cost me $9.99 and a couple cost $14.99 and were replacements of DVDs I previously purchased at $19.99 – $29.99). Who knows when/if BR will catch on, but I really don’t think it’s going to make a whole lot of difference to the sale of movies unless the quality of movies improves.

  14. Member [Join Now]
    unome

    I guess it really doesn’t matter to me. I’ll wait 30 days to rent from Redbox for $1 instead of on release day from BB for $5 anyway.
    It would be good to level the playing field but the rental stores with the big studio ties will rent on release day anyway.

  15. Member [Join Now]
    rock_star

    I do not think it will increase sales, and would probably increase piracy and online activity because there would be versions out there for people to buy and place online. I would wait a little longer to rent, because I don’t watch that many movies anymore anyway, since most of what Hollywood puts out is total crap.

  16. Member [Join Now]
    sunnyakano

    I don’t buy DVDs anyway. So nothing will change. I will keep renting and there are millions of movies out there that have not been rented. Just keep recycling old movies while waiting for the 30-day release.

  17. Member [Join Now]
    ambennis

    Waiting another month or so to rent won’t make a whole lot of difference. If I have the self-control to avoid spending $20 to see it at the movie theater and am already waiting 3-6 months for it to show up at rental kiosks, what’s another month? I’m not going to rush out and buy the DVD just because I *can’t wait* the extra 30 days to rent it.

    Over time, the quantity of movies churned out of studios have increased 10-fold; however along with that, the quality of those movies has declined as well. I would have to say only 8 out of every 10 movies I rent are actually “worth it”. Often times my wife and I turn to each other after a movie and say, “I want two hours of my life back.” It’s gotten to the point where it’s not about how much the rental costs or when it comes out, but rather is it worth my time to watch. Yeah, I’ve been disappointed a lot lately.

  18. Visitor [Join Now]
    Writeman47 [visitor]

    I think the last movie I bought was on VHS tape. This will make no difference to me at all.

  19. Visitor [Join Now]
    Pootroot [visitor]

    I also do not mind waiting. I will not buy a movie until I rent and watch it. I have really been disappointed at an awful lot of movies I have rented and would never buy them, such as all of the Matrix movies, the newest Transformers movie. I even went out and bought The Dark Knight on bluray because I had heard so much about it. What a waste of money. Like some people say, they don’t make very good movies anymore. The most enjoyable movie I ever bought and I bought three copies encase one or more become defective is “The King of Masks”

  20. Visitor [Join Now]
    torc [visitor]

    i just don’t buy movies….i rent movies at the cheapest price!

  21. Visitor [Join Now]
    Rick [visitor]

    I think that “Hollywood” is missing half the point here. I often BUY movies that I rented -first-. If I really like the movie, then I add it to my home library. I rent alot of movies, many times the number I buy. So if they delay the rental period, there is less of a chance I will find a gem that I want to buy (will it still be on the sale shelf a month later, where you can find it, to buy??). The real problem is that Holywood is turning out so much carp that it is no wonder that no one wants to buy them. Not to mention the prices are too high for lousy movies.

  22. Visitor [Join Now]
    senigami [visitor]

    I would just imagine that the release date was the rental date and not even think about the purchase date. If I already had to wait months for it to become available then what’s a few more weeks? I mean really, what’s the harm in waiting? There are other movies to be watched and once the initial delay is past then I still have a constant stream of movies to rent. I’m fine with the idea and all for keeping rental costs down.

  23. Visitor [Join Now]
    Stephen [visitor]

    It would make absolutely no difference to me. I RARELY purchase a DVD and when I do, it’s from a deeply discounted website (and never within the first 30 days of release). Frankly, I think the studios have tunnel vision. DVD sales have been decreasing for some time, and it’s not completely due to the rental market. I believe they’ll sell even fewer DVDs and more people will wait 30-45 days to rent it for $2-3. Hollywood doesn’t get it. Make great movies and people will want to watch them . . . in theaters, purchasing DVDs or rental. Make crappy movies and box office will decline, DVD sales will decline, but rentals will likely stay stable or increase because you don’t mind risking two bucks on a potential bomb, but who wants to spend $15-20 to be disappointed.

  24. Member [Join Now]
    TattoozNTech [blade_incyahoo.com]

    i don’t buy ever, and this won’t make me start buying. i get my flicks from either redbox or netflix when they are available, and there’s already a wait when a good new flick comes out anyway when everyone rushes to get it, so this will be no different. nothing will change on my end, and i suspect from many other posters here, the same will be for the majority of folks too. i think this will backfire on the studios and it probably won’t last long. rental is the new thing and it’s here to stay. just go to your local walmart and check out the lines that are sporadically present at the redbox kiosks. even with walmart having bins in the back overflowing with movies for $5, that’s still 5 rentals at the redbox kiosk. so buy a movie for $5 that you might not watch again for a month or 2 or longer? or rent 5 movies for $5 that you really want to see? hmm… the math doesnt lie…

  25. Visitor [Join Now]
    Lance [visitor]

    Makes no difference to me. I buy from the $5 bin. How old are those ones? I’m a patient man :)

  26. Visitor [Join Now]
    Robert [visitor]

    If the studios were really concerned they should put more focus on putting out better products instead of wasted remakes! Also I thought I had heard that they were thinking of releasing movies that opened @ the box office and the DVD’s @ the same time. I think that would boost both DVD sales and box office. I never go to the movies I always wait for the rental but many people like going to the movies.

  27. Visitor [Join Now]
    james77777 [visitor]

    I rent to preview and then buy. But, by delaying the renting 30 days or so, the urge to buy wears off. So, I think DVD sales will continue to lag with this method. I’ve learned all that hype on TV for a new movie, is just that, hype. So, they shoot themselves in the foot with this method instead of making better movies. I really enjoy the TV series like 24, Desperate Housewives and many more because they are better written. Those I buy and keep on the shelf to use when the weather is too nasty to go out and rent something else. I then sell them on eBay and get most of my money back and it is cheaper than redbox.

  28. Visitor [Join Now]
    Concerned [visitor]

    IMHO, delaying the rental period of a new movie title will move the consumer to become more inventive in saving their money in this economy. I can see 4 ways of this occurring. First, we may find that sharing DVDs between friends may become more popular. (e.g. I buy one this month and loan it to a friend for the weekend to watch. He buys one next month and let’s me borrow it). Second, a small percentage of the people will buy the DVD before the rental period starts, but I really don’t believe this will be more than 5% of the people as who wants to be stuck with a movie they may or may not like. Third, people have had to wait 6 months to a year for VHS releases before. It has only been recently that they have gotten it down to a 3-6 month cycle. I believe most people will just wait the extra month. (I must preface this final possibility by saying I do not condone this final option). Lastly, I believe that their will be a small rise in the piracy of DVDs if they make this move. Either by burning a friend’s copy borrowed like in example one or downloaded via Internet as the purchased DVD is out and high-quality copies can then be made. I would expect this last group of people to also be small with more doing burned copies than downloading due to required technical experience, but this group will also be the most hurtful to the industry. In any case, the idea to make people wait 30 days after release to rent a movie will not force many new extra sales and may hurt the industry more in the long run.

  29. Member [Join Now]
    TattoozNTech [blade_incyahoo.com]

    who is trolling this thread to give EVERYONE a “thumbs down”. pretty cowardly of you. everyone has the right to comment here and a couple thumb downs is understandable, but EVERYONE? go troll somewhere else movie industry lozers!

  30. Visitor [Join Now]
    rachael [visitor]

    It probably wont change anything in the end. The people that want to REALLY buy the movie, will do so and the people that want to rent, will wait.

    Hopefully the movie execs put a positive spin on it by calling it a “pre-release DVD sale date” instead of making renters *wait* for their turn. There could be bad publicity involved where fewer people buy as they don’t want to be pushed into a sale, but I don’t buy so that could just be me!

  31. Visitor [Join Now]
    angryjerry [visitor]

    it won’t change a thing for me.we wait anyway a month more won’t make me buy it.i will wait the studios out.

  32. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jody [visitor]

    I pretty much agree with all these comments. I am not going to be buying a new DVD unless I know I like it first – which would mean – yes! – renting it first. That’s the way I have always done it for over 10 years! I am just sick of all the remakes on everything, ugh, terrible remakes….

  33. Member [Join Now]
    captmovie

    1. I don’t buy movies anymore

    2. See #1

    The movie studios are trying to Milk a Cow that is dead!

  34. Visitor [Join Now]
    hmmm [visitor]

    doesn’t that pretty much put blockbuster out of business? new releases are their biggest draw.

  35. Visitor [Join Now]
    Garbage [visitor]

    Most of the movies they make are garbage. They are hardly even worth renting. The last movies I bought were the Titanic and The Great Raid. Start making more good morale movies and they will get the sales.

  36. Visitor [Join Now]
    Sugus [visitor]

    As many have said before me, “What’s another 30 days?” I can’t seem to remember the last time I bought a movie at full price…….maybe it was a Harry Potter disc.

  37. Visitor [Join Now]
    Kristen [visitor]

    I think that they (studios) have a flawed logic if they think that they can force consumers to purchase DVD’s/Bluray’s if they delay the ability to rent the movie. Sales are obviously lacking – right now they are literally throwing the movies at consumers. We got Snow White on Bluray/DVD for $9.86 + a $5.00 rebate. We use Netflix for streaming and for a lot of television seasons – but often use Redbox (when there’s a free code) to get the new releases – but what’s another few weeks? We didn’t run to the theater to see it overpriced there. I can wait 30 days to save another $20. Ugh. Stupid studios.

  38. Visitor [Join Now]
    Richard [visitor]

    “Dear Hollywood: Don’t Be Idiots; Don’t Delay Movie Rentals”
    http://techdirt.com/articles/20091026/0347016672.shtml

  39. Visitor [Join Now]
    John Small [visitor]

    I was talking to my Warner contact and he laughed when I told him about this article.

    He said that, if anything, the studios are looking at a rental window with higher priced DVDs on non-AAA titles of about 30 days. This has been done with Dance Flick already (which is Paramount I believe) and more title are lined up for this Rental Window.

    The studios know full well it would be impossible to monitor a sellthrough only window. However a rental only window is definitely a possibility in the near future.

    Bare bones DVD, priced about $10.00 above sellthru levels and then a special edition 30 days later at normal pricing. That would cripple Redbox but not hurt the other rentailers in the business.

    • Member [Join Now]
      kduit

      Another example of how out-of-touch the studios are with consumers.

      Who cares about delay windows, advance rental windows, etc.

      When the movies are available for rent at reasonable prices, that is when they will be rented. Otherwise, say buh-bye to money spent on all but a select few movies. (the way it was before Redbox option came along)

  40. Visitor [Join Now]
    218 [visitor]

    You all are missing the point, first we go see a movie at the theatre and pay $12 for the movie, then $10 for popcorn and drink, then another $20 when the dvd comes out, thats $32 roughly you just paid for that movie. I can’t stand to pay twice to own a movie I saw at the cinema, so a $20 dvd turned into $32 with the cinema included, screw that, I will never pay for a movie or dvd again, and haven’t for the past 3 years, your not gonna get my hard earned cash, screw the mpaa and the video stores, etc…. They need to seriously take in concideration when we pay to watch a flick at the cinema then charge us again even more money to buy dvd, they need to give us a discount if we watched it at the cinema, like half off the price of dvd, and if not just wait until it comes out on cable and record it on a blank dvd/cdr.