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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » Studios starting to lower the price on early PVOD, before it even starts

Author Topic: Studios starting to lower the price on early PVOD, before it even starts
Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12448
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-22-2017 04:09 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So everybody knows that nobody's going to want to pay $50 to watch a movie in their house on opening about $30, four or five weeks later?

Studios Flirt With Offering Movies Early in Home for $30 (EXCLUSIVE)

by Senior Film and Media Editor
Brent Lang
MARCH 21, 2017 | 02:56PM PT

Six of the seven biggest Hollywood studios are continuing to push to offer movies in
the home mere weeks after their theatrical debuts.

However, the companies, particularly Fox and Warner Bros., are showing greater flexibility about timing. Initially, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara had kicked off negotiations with exhibitors by offering to cut them in on a percentage of digital revenues if they agreed to let them debut films on-demand for $50 a rental some 17 days after they opened. Currently, most major movies are only made available to rent some 90 days after their release. Some studios offer films for sale electronically roughly 70 days after their bow in theaters.

Other studios, particularly Fox and Universal, felt that $50 was too steep a price to ask consumers to pay. They are now trying to get exhibitors to agree to a plan that would involve a lower priced premium on-demand option that was made available at a slightly later date, according to three studio insiders and two exhibition insiders. Fox and Warner Bros., for instance, are considering making films available between 30 to 45 days after their opening, but at $30 a rental, a price they believe won’t give customers sticker shock. Universal, which is seen as being the most aggressive negotiator in these talks, would like the home entertainment debut to remain in the 20-day range.

Studios are looking for ways to shore up home entertainment revenues as DVD sales continue to slide. They also believe that their advertising can be more effective and cost efficient if a film’s home entertainment release is closer to its theatrical debut. By grouping those two things closer together, studios wouldn’t have have to launch a massive promotional campaign to reintroduce consumers to a movie months after it was on the big screen.

Then there’s the issue of shifting consumer tastes. Younger consumers, used to streaming services such as Netflix, are accustomed to being able to access content whenever and on whichever device they would like — they’re not used to having to wait months to watch something.

Lionsgate, Paramount, and Sony have also been talking with a group of exhibitors that includes AMC, Regal, and Cineplex. Disney is not interested in shortening the release window, the industry term for the amount of time a film runs exclusively in theaters. That’s unsurprising because Disney releases Marvel, Star Wars, and animated movies that tend to have long runs in theaters and have a size and scope that tends to work well on the big screen.

Because of anti-trust laws, the studios cannot work together to sign deals. They have to reach agreements with each participating chain on an individual basis. The talks have been going on for over a year, and are still very much in flux, insiders caution. Many issues have to be resolved before a final pact is in place.

Further complicating the picture is the fact that there are a number of different models being circulated. Some studios, for instance, are weighing a scenario where movies could be made available for rental at a higher price as soon as they dip below a certain number of screens. The thinking is that it doesn’t make sense for a movie to stay exclusively in theaters if it isn’t being widely shown.

Universal would like all of its films to be released on premium video-on-demand early, but other players like Warner Bros. and Fox seem more amenable to having a different release pattern for different movies. In that kind model, bigger franchise films that tend to have longer runs in theaters might be held back from release on demand.

No deal is imminent. Theater owners are engaged in the talks, and they’ve spent million of dollars researching consumer behavior. They’re particularly concerned that if movies are offered to consumers too early and at too low a price they will stop showing up at the cinema.

Sony is very early in its discussions, but it would be in favor of an early on-demand debut that’s somewhat later than the one being floated by the likes of Universal and at a higher price point.

Exhibitors are firm on one point. If they agree to shrink the amount of time they have exclusive access to movies then studios must agree to keep the window for lower priced rentals and copies of movies at roughly 90 days. Those movies typically cost between $3 to $6 a rental and in the range of $20 for a disc or digital copy. Exhibitors want studios to make a pact not to try to alter the traditional home entertainment distribution model for between five to ten years.

Variety article

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 864
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

 - posted 03-22-2017 06:20 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Can't leave well enough alone.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5198
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 03-23-2017 03:33 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
E.T. (Universal Pictures / Amblen Entertainment)

Theatrical Release: 1982
Home Video Release: 1988

How's THAT for a theatrical-to-home video release window?! [thumbsup]

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10703
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 03-23-2017 11:04 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ugh. Even at $30, if I want to spend that much money just to watch a movie at home I'll simply wait a little while longer and BUY the Blu-ray for $10 less.

If I'm really itching to see a certain movie ASAP I'll pay to watch it in the theater. If I'm already waiting 20 or 30 days to see a certain movie then obviously the movie wasn't that important for me see immediately. So there's no problem with waiting another couple months for the normal (and far less expensive) video release.

My advice to Hollywood studios: Make better movies. And by that, I mean take some actual damned chances rather than giving us so much regurgitated, paint by numbers junk. Additionally, work with movie theaters to improve how these "better" movies are seen and experienced. Stop undermining the theaters. They're the glitzy show room for the brand new product. But they're being treated as if they're a used car lot. If movie theaters do a better job showcasing the product then customers will see more value in it. They'll have a better time watching the movie in the theater. They'll be more likely to buy the home video product to remind themselves of the great experience they had in the theater.

I bought Die Hard on two different DVD releases and once on Blu-ray. I probably would not have made those repeat purchases if I didn't have a blast watching the movie in 70mm 6-track Dolby Stereo in a big Manhattan movie theater.

Right now movies have become a very commoditized thing. The traditional 2 hour movie is being reduced to just "stuff" to play on an ordinary TV screen. There isn't as much value in that. Playing games with release windows and various premium VOD models will only further erode the value of movie studio product and further erode the viability of movie theaters.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

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From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-23-2017 11:18 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How's THAT for a theatrical-to-home video release window?!
Well, include silent movies and you can really open the window [Wink]

Wasn't ET during the period where the distribs would release some of their product only to video stores, because they'd sell them to the stores at about $100 a tape instead of $25 (or whatever, never owned a VCR).

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10703
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 03-23-2017 12:13 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
E.T.: The Extraterrestrial was a unique case. I can't remember the specifics since 30+ years have passed. Steven Spielberg and his Amblin company refused to release the movie on home video until late 1988. There were concerns about piracy (the VHS tape was encoded with Macrovision). IIRC, Spielberg wanted people watching the movie only on a big movie screen, not on little square TV sets at home via a crappy videotape format. The movie was re-released theatrically in 1985 and earned $60 million from that run. I think Spielberg originally had intentions of bringing this movie back to theaters every few years in the same manner Disney had been doing with its animated movies during that era.

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2114
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 03-23-2017 12:28 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Given that some model of this premium VOD is likely to happen eventually, I think the idea of a $30 rental which doesn't come out for 30-45 days might be the most reasonable compromise. Especially for those movies that are effectively done after 2-3 weeks. I also like the idea of longer windows for movies which are successful in theatres.

The one issue I'm concerned about is how they would handle those Oscar pictures which typically don't see wide release until January and February. Are they going to keep the same basic pattern, or are theatres going to basically lose out on the opportunity to play those movies.

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