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Author Topic: The End Is Near - Go to the movies while you still can (Article)
Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 04-05-2017 10:57 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well this is depressing but well written. I don't know why the studios can't see the less-money-in-the-future handwriting on the wall.

The end is near for cinema. Go to the movies while there's still time

by Josh Dickey (4/3/17)

It's been a great run for cinema, a business that began with the Lumière brothers' early creations flickering in Paris playhouses in 1895, then generated untold billions in ticket sales over its 120-plus years since. Sadly, it's about to suffer a mortal wound, right there in your living room.

The movie theater as we know it is poised to die a slow, mostly peaceful death. But it is certain.

The cause: Premium VOD, digital on-demand delivery of films to your TV and devices on a much shorter schedule than the traditional 90 days. The latest proposals bring movies to homes 10 or 45 days after they hit theaters; others have aspired to deliver them day-of.

But these particulars are immaterial. They are coming, and they will prove fatal to the movie-theater business.

Why? Because Hollywood is selling out the one thing that's always put butts in seats. It's not giant screens, or booming sound, or "the communal experience of a darkened movie theater," all things that movie people love to romanticize.

The magic of the movies has been, is, and always will be exclusive content. Something you can't see anywhere else at the moment. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

The major studios (minus Disney, which has its own path) are on the brink of deals that will make new releases available to stream for $30 to $50, with pricing depending on how soon they're available, according to multiple reports out of Cinemacon, the annual gathering of movie-theater owners and the media conglomerates who supply their product.

Once that deal is sealed, the doomsday clock starts ticking down. It may take a year or two to finalize, but it's inevitable.

While theaters and premium VOD will co-exist for a little while, make no mistake: once that deal is sealed, the doomsday clock starts ticking down. I give it 10, maybe 15 years. And I'm feeling generous.

Since the mid-1970s, the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) has held its annual springtime gathering in Las Vegas, where Hollywood studios present their upcoming slates. It was nothing if not a mutual love-fest — we are making so much money together! — until 2011, when the trade press reported that certain studios were looking at renting films for $30 on a shortened window.

Theater owners were livid. Studios, caught with their hands in the cookie jar, were embarrassed. And that conflict spilled out all over the Cinemacon stage.

For the next five years, Cinemacon was peppered with fiery language, blustery speeches and robust applause every time someone implied that the 90-day window — a sacred pact that stood since the advent of VHS — was here to stay. Even last year, when Sean Parker floated his $50 same-day Screening Room streaming venture at Cinemacon, it was mostly met with ridicule and scorn.

But something was different about Cinemacon 2017 (tagline: "Celebrating the Moviegoing Experience"). Former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, acting chairman and chief lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America and once-vigorous advocate of preserving the theatrical experience, skipped his annual address for the first time since taking the job. (A rep for Dodd tells Mashable that he was unable to attend because of a family obligation.)

The fire was gone from the speeches; a conciliatory tone took root. In place of a "not on my watch" hard-line on the exclusive 90-day window, speakers extolled the virtues of laser projectors, improved seating, fancy concessions and the "shared experience." Applause was tempered, polite ... and knowing.

While mom-and-pop exhibitors were privately telling reporters that PVOD would be "horrible" for their business, it was clear that they were feeling their power slipping away. Time to take the deal.

For its part, Hollywood has offered to cut exhibitors in on a percentage of PVOD revenues, but that arrangement will only stand as long as those theaters can carry their own water. That won't be long — not when families can choose to watch a new release on their giant flatscreen at home for $50 over spending twice that at a cineplex, with all its inherent hassles and associated costs.

Once that genie is out of the bottle, the price will fall. Over the coming years, $50 will turn into $39.99, then $29.99, then $19.99. The smallest first-run theaters will shutter soonest, followed by mid-sized chains. Megaliths like AMC and Regal, with their outsized amenities and global market penetration, can probably hold out longest, but only by showing only the biggest blockbusters on a tight turnaround. In that mode — less like cinema and more like an amusement park — some may survive indefinitely.

"It's what consumers want," goes the new mantra, repeated many times last week at Cinemacon. But it comes at the expense of another, more time-tested one: "Leave them wanting more."

If you can get it too easily, you don't want it nearly as much.

PVOD takes the effort out of movie-watching, and that effort, annoying though it may be, is a critical part of the transaction. "If you want to see it, you have to come to us" makes the movie itself feel special. It turns on a fundamental truth of human nature: Anything worth having is worth some effort. If you can get it too easily, you don't want it nearly as much.

It wasn't all that long ago when if you wanted to hear new music releases, you had to drive to a record store, or listen to the radio for countless hours. Both took work, and some form of payment. How is the music industry doing these days? For that matter, radio?

Give the movie studios credit. At least they're smart enough to carefully rappel down the cliff rather than be shoved into freefall, like what Napster and streaming did to music. On Tuesday, industry leader Spotify took a small step to put that toothpaste back in the tube, announcing that only paid subscribers would get new albums on their release date. But whatever new subscriptions that generates will be a drop in the bucket.

It's important to note that in this analogy, the movie studios are the record companies; they'll have to downscale and experiment, but they'll survive. By being cautious and incremental, they can make PVOD lucrative — maybe even moreso than theatrical in the long run. Movie theaters, after all, keep half of their revenues. PVOD cash is mainlined right into the studios' coffers.

Movie theaters, on the other hand, are the record stores. They are doomed.

"But the box office keeps breaking records! People love going to the movies!" ... say people who love going to the movies. And it's true. They do. I do! But the reasons we love it won't hold up to instant availability, affordability, the comforts of home and the eroding "specialness" of a commodity that's no longer scarce.

(On a small scale, this was borne out in downright pathetic box-office results for two major Hollywood releases that got day-and-date VOD releases in the past few years: Beasts of No Nation, which Netflix released that way on purpose, then never tried it again; and The Interview, which Sony was forced into trying because of its catastrophic hacking scandal.)

A generation enamored of the "movie theater experience" will keep cinema on life-support for a time, much like a generation enamored of going to Blockbuster to rent VHS tapes delayed its inevitable demise. A generation accustomed to PVOD will, in time, pull out the rug.

So go to the movies, folks. Go while there are still theaters near you.

Mashable.com Article

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Jay Glaus
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Better yet why don't the large circuits see that their luxury seating full service restaurants and bars mean nothing with out patrons. No one seems to be doing anything but drinking the kool aid and going along with this. I know theres little that can be done but when the CEO of the circuits put their stamp of approval on this it gives the studios the green light to proceed. If it is going to happen instead of counting on profit sharing from VOD perhaps much lower film terms would help offset the lost of attendance and there will be a decline in attendance.

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Dave Bird
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It's well written and reasoned. I also comprehend why studios, having exhausted every type of financing and leverage scheme figure they need to "grow revenue". This story, however, has been told a thousand times in regards to anything anybody ever paid money to sit in a seat for. TV was going to kill everything, sports, live performances. Personally, much as I like movies, I'll never pay $30-50 to NOT get to go out and eat popcorn. And by the time it does get cheaper? Probably not then either. I'll move on (as I suspect many will) to things that still do offer me a seat and a night out with company.

As for cinemas themselves? Many billions of dollars have and continue to be spent on the physical plant to accommodate people sitting in chairs in the dark in front of screens. There is no reason to believe that those buildings can't show content that hasn't been distributed by Warners, Paramount or Fox (etc). Will the tiniest of the tiny (ie: me) get their hands on this content? I guess that depends on whether anyone except the AMC's and Cineplex's of the world decide to fill the need.

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Bobby Henderson
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I still believe if America's movie theater business dies so will American movie studios. Without theaters to showcase their products the studios are nothing more than production companies for TV networks.

It won't take 10-15 years for theaters to die. That death will happen much faster. I give it less than 5 years once the premium VOD concepts become widely available. Day and date PVOD availability will speed up the death process. Just look how little time it took for streaming services like Netflix and Spotify to lay waste to video rental stores and retail music stores.

quote: Josh Dickey, Mashable Article
For the next five years, Cinemacon was peppered with fiery language, blustery speeches and robust applause every time someone implied that the 90-day window — a sacred pact that stood since the advent of VHS — was here to stay. Even last year, when Sean Parker floated his $50 same-day Screening Room streaming venture at Cinemacon, it was mostly met with ridicule and scorn.
90 days is sort of the current window between a movie's theatrical release date and the date when its DVDs and Blu-ray discs arrive on retail store shelves. Take another 2-4 weeks out of that window for the "HD Digital" download version.

The theatrical and home video release window was much longer when VHS tape and deck sales were booming in the 1980's. A six to eight month window was common. An epic movie that was a big summer release wouldn't debut on home video until the dead of winter or dawn of spring. Some movies would take a year or longer after theatrical release to arrive on video.

Movie studios started playing around with the window for holiday sales. They figured it would be better if some of their big summer theatrical releases were arriving on retail store shelves by Thanksgiving. I think that release model became standardized with DVD sales. The Matrix was a huge seller on DVD, the first movie on the format to sell more than 1 million copies. It was released theatrically March 31, 1999. The DVD hit store shelves September 21, 1999. Many stores were selling it for well under $20. Back then that 5 month window felt really short.

The 90 day window is a relatively new standard, if it can be called that.

quote: Josh Dickey, Mashable Article
If you can get it too easily, you don't want it nearly as much.
That is so true. When it's easy to watch a certain movie or hear a certain song immediately on demand you take it for granted.

30 years ago I can remember listening to the radio, suffering through lots of songs I didn't like just to hear the one tune I wanted to hear. When the song finally played I was a lot more excited about it. The same thing went for watching music videos on MTV. Yeah, MTV used to show hours and hours of music videos. Now I don't give two shits about MTV because they no longer show music videos. If I want to see a particular music video I'll bring it up on YouTube or Vimeo and watch it immediately. I bought a lot more music on vinyl LP and CD in the past because I needed a physical recording of the songs if I wanted to hear them on demand. Now there's little need to do that, other than perhaps the audiophile angle, but modern music is so badly afflicted with harsh dynamic compression tricks it sounds barely any better than a stream from Amazon music.

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Leo Enticknap
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quote: Article
Why? Because Hollywood is selling out the one thing that's always put butts in seats. It's not giant screens, or booming sound, or "the communal experience of a darkened movie theater," all things that movie people love to romanticize.
I think he's dismissing that aspect a little too hastily. There is certainly a price and inconvenience threshold beyond which someone who isn't a committed movie buff won't go to the theater. But the price threshold can potentially be lowered and the business model tweaked if market forces push theater operators into doing so. Improving home viewing technology is certainly putting pressure on the theaters, just as VHS and the DVD did, but the theaters are responding with technology upgrades of their own.

I wouldn't be surprised the end of the 90-day window causes significant change in the theater business, but I would be surprised if it kills it outright. If that was going to happen, the introduction of earlier home viewing innovations would have done it.

Anecdote alert: we took some relatives to see Hillary's America last summer, which was literally the first time they'd set foot in one since the 1960s (I suspect that a lot of the theatrical audience for that particular film was doing likewise). Just as the article's author noted, it was because they wanted to see that specific movie, and not wait for it to be available for them to see in their home. But they commented that the experience was "quite fun," and were talking about taking grandkids to see Disney stuff in the future.

He also doesn't cover the alternative content angle. Again, it's nothing new. In 1950s Britain, Rank/Odeon experimented with big screen live events of football (soccer) matches using Eidophors. The screenings were very popular, and the only reason they were short-lived was that licensing fee negotiations between Rank and the BBC broke down, and opposition from film producers.

Televised opera and live theater (either actually live, or recorded and DCP-ized) is now starting to make an appearance in arthouse venues, and I suspect that in the US, the slow decline of the "cable monster" (Clark Howard claimed on his show last week that IPTV services such as Roku were causing a now significant increase in households "cutting the cable," and in particular consumer resistance against the package/bundle business model) could create opportunities for movie theater sports events.

So if the 90-day window does go away permanently, it'll be a challenge to the theater industry, but I'm skeptical of the author's claim that it'll be a fatal blow.

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Alexandre Pereira
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This article like so many others before do not take the reality of the exhibition industry into account. Regardless of the release window - two weeks is all that any film ever has. Watch rentrak and the pattern is 40% to 60% drop on week two.
Straight to VOD or on a short window release was never going to make any money. It is nothing but a desperate ploy to find money on the floor for dogs.
Ultimately the crux of the problem is the lack of content - especially studio content. The more movies the better - whether they go to VOD or straight to the dvd dump bin at the supermarket (yes those are still around: dump bins)it does not matter.
Think about it - how many nitwits are actually going to sit at home and pay $30.00 to watch whatever. If they can figure that out they will pile in all their frat brothers into one room - better yet they will torrent the latest release with the Korean subs and watch it for FREE.
Netflix and cable companies are filled with on demand garbage - and yes it is all garbage at that point regardless of the film. The fact that it is on your tv makes it garbage because the experience has been devalued so who cares what the release date is - none of the rubes care at that point.

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Mark Ogden
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On my way into work each morning, I drive past three multiplexes under construction: the AMC Riverside Square, the Landmark 57th Street and the iPic Hudson Yard. Guess the word that they are all doomed hasn't yet made it down to these long-time theater operators. [Roll Eyes]

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Bobby Henderson
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quote: Leo Enticknap
I think he's dismissing that aspect a little too hastily. There is certainly a price and inconvenience threshold beyond which someone who isn't a committed movie buff won't go to the theater. But the price threshold can potentially be lowered and the business model tweaked if market forces push theater operators into doing so.
What are the current profit margins for commercial movie theaters? Just going by how many major chains went into bankruptcy or went bust over the past 20 years it doesn't appear to me they're rolling in lots of loose cash. If theaters are forced to lower their prices how far can they go without going into the red?

quote: Leo Enticknap
Improving home viewing technology is certainly putting pressure on the theaters, just as VHS and the DVD did, but the theaters are responding with technology upgrades of their own.
Commercial theaters are trying all sorts of things to attract customers. Upgrading sound and projection technology works only so well when the content they're playing is being rendered for the ordinary 1080p HDTV screen at home. The consumer Ultra HD Blu-ray format is suffering for all the phony 2K to 4K blow-up discs that make up nearly all the titles available. A theater operator can sink $100,000 into a well-appointed Atmos surround sound system, but that investment will be worthless if nearly all the Atmos tracks sound barely any different than an ordinary 5.1 mix one can easily play at home.

On the technology end I think theater operators are caught in a terrible bind since Hollywood studios are going through the motions generating the "software" that plays on that new high tech hardware. The studios are also not helping with all the groan-inducing remakes. I just heard Dirty Dancing is getting a remake. Ugh.

Installing recliners, going crazy with lush decor, serving real food and alcohol are all ideas worth trying. But all of those ideas are going to be eating into what doesn't seem like a very big profit margin.

quote: Leo Enticknap
I wouldn't be surprised the end of the 90-day window causes significant change in the theater business, but I would be surprised if it kills it outright. If that was going to happen, the introduction of earlier home viewing innovations would have done it.
The key thing for theaters is being able to maintain a balanced equation. What is the minimum number of paying customers a movie theater needs in order to survive? Only a small minority of Americans visit commercial movie theaters on a regular basis. An even smaller number are "movie buffs" who feel loyal to movie theaters and value the theatrical movie going experience. Most people don't care.

The math is pretty simple to me. The earlier a theatrical movie release is made available to watch at home translates into fewer and fewer people watching the movie at the theater. At some point the theaters will fall below the level in ticket sales needed to stay in business. Day and date release would be an immediate disaster. A mere 10 day window could easily cannibalize enough ticket sales to prove fatal to theaters.

quote: Leo Enticknap
He also doesn't cover the alternative content angle. Again, it's nothing new. In 1950s Britain, Rank/Odeon experimented with big screen live events of football (soccer) matches using Eidophors. The screenings were very popular, and the only reason they were short-lived was that licensing fee negotiations between Rank and the BBC broke down, and opposition from film producers.
I think alternate content has limited appeal. Shows like live/taped music concerts, plays and operas don't do well in markets like mine here in Oklahoma. They might do better in large cities. Sports events also struggle. When people are watching an event like a football game or UFC pay per view event together in a group like they to eat, drink, party and socialize while the event is underway. Movie theaters aren't really set up for that. Bars and restaurants do a better job drawing those kinds of crowds.

quote: Alexandre Pereira
This article like so many others before do not take the reality of the exhibition industry into account. Regardless of the release window - two weeks is all that any film ever has. Watch rentrak and the pattern is 40% to 60% drop on week two.
It is true very few movie releases have "legs." They get most of the ticket sales they're going to get opening weekend and then drop off preciptiously. Still, the average person has the understanding that if he wants to save money and wait for the home video release he is going to wait 3 or 4 months in order to rent a disc and considerably longer for it show up on Netflix.

If a movie is availble to watch at home in a much earlier time frame it will change customer psychology and habits regarding seeing the movie in the theater. I don't expect many people to fork over $50 for a premium VOD rental. I certainly wouldn't do that, not when I can buy a Blu-ray of the movie $30 cheaper if I'm willing to wait a few weeks. Like Josh Dickey said in the article, once the genie is out of the bottle the price will fall. It will turn into $39.99, then $29.99 and then $19.99. And that PVOD rental will be available earlier and earlier.

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Mike Schulz
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quote: Bobby Henderson
Like Josh Dickey said in the article, once the genie is out of the bottle the price will fall. It will turn into $39.99, then $29.99 and then $19.99. And that PVOD rental will be available earlier and earlier.
This is exactly what will happen. I remember when I was a kid in the 80's and renting VHS videos on a Friday evening was a routine thing for our family. Most of the "new release" videos were of films that were in cinemas 6 months ago or more, and none of them were available to purchase in department stores for another 6 months or more. The only people who could purchase a "new release" were the video rental stores and they were not cheap. I remember asking an employee one time how much it cost the store to buy a copy of a new movie, and it was $50-80 for each copy the store purchased.

Not many years later, by the time I was a teenager, the "new release" videos started appearing on the shelves of our K-Mart and Wal-Mart on the same day that the rental stores got them, and they were only about $20 to buy. From that point on, the release window shrunk a little every year until they hit the magic 3-month window that happened (from my memory) about the time that DvD started taking off in the late 90's.

There is no doubt in my mind that once the Pandora's Box for VOD is opened, it will only be a matter of time before the rental prices start to fall and the window gets shorter and shorter.

I'm reluctantly happy to join the pessimist club on this and say that the beginning of VOD for theatrical releases will be the beginning of the end for first-run movie theatres.

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Martin McCaffery
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quote: Mike Schulz
There is no doubt in my mind that once the Pandora's Box for VOD is opened, it will only be a matter of time before the rental prices start to fall and the window gets shorter and shorter.
Just to be clear, the Pandora's Box of Day and Date VOD was opened years ago by the small indy distributors. It is hard to say if it has hurt our business as the target audience tends to be old and not tech savvy. But it probably will do a job on the big boys once their target audience figures it out and decides they have better things to do on a weekend than go to a movie theatre.

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Steve Guttag
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There are flaws, in my opinion with the record industry comparison. While good studio time can indeed create a much better product on audio, what it takes for people to create their own music became very cheap, relatively speaking and the avenues to release a single were quite great. The RIAA had very little to bring to the table besides promotion.

In the movie industry, while yes it has never been cheaper to make a movie with the likes of DSLRs and such, the difference between that sort of production and a $100M studio movie, or even a $10M studio movie is VERY apparent because there is more to making a movie than holding a camera at people acting (and there is more to acting than memorizing lines).

The record store/theatre comparison is also wrong. The record store, while some had listen areas and many had knowledgeable people selling the records was really in the distribution of the product, not the end user. For movies, the cinema is the end user. The patron doesn't take the movie home with them to view later.

The continual flaw with D-A-D video releases is that it turns two markets into one, which cuts revenue. It turns profit-per-viewer into profit-per-household and an indeterminate amount of viewers. In short, you will sell your product even less. And if the studios think that having movies in theatres need security, once it is in the home, you really have no idea how many copies it could have. You are giving them digital perfect picture and sound.

What a studio should be ballsy enough to try on an A-list movie, like Star Wars, is announce that it will have zero home market release for AT LEAST one year. See how THAT affects the cinema ticket sales and then in a 1-2 year time, see how the home release goes (either streaming or physical media). I claim that they will increase sales of the cinema market, for sure (exclusivity) and due to its time out of the market, it will create an entirely second "buzz" for the home release and gen up those sales too. Regardless, the studio will no make less money by the double release but it will delay the back end money.

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Leo Enticknap
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My guess is that the studios would be worried about having to suppress pirate distribution for that long; but still, it might be worth trying.

Something like it is already done with recorded classical music, whereby the main labels operate their premium brand, on which a new recording of a symphony or opera will be issued, and a budget brand, which will typically be used for reissues of recordings that are 10 years old or more (same thing in book publishing for reprints of best-selling classics). However, that world operates on much longer product lifecycles, and the productions are budgeted and marketed with the expectation of a recording recouping its costs and turning a profit in decades, not the opening weekend.

I'm not sure how well this approach would work with mainstream movies, though, unless you're looking at reviving the roadshow format. And even that was restricted to a small number of prestige venues.

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David Stambaugh
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Does anyone besides me think that the abundance of high quality TV shows has anything to do with this shift? Personally I'm going to fewer movies because there's so much good TV available. A movie has ~2 hours to tell a complete and compelling story. TV shows like Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, etc have the luxury of creating more complex characters and storylines. Characters and stories are more important to me these days than flashy movies that are basically empty vessels. Not saying that applies to all movies. But a lot. I can buy an entire season of Better Call Saul for what, $30? That's a lot of entertainment vs. $50 for a single VOD movie.

EDIT: The entire Season 3 of BCS is $25 on iTunes.

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Bobby Henderson
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quote: Mike Schulz
This is exactly what will happen. I remember when I was a kid in the 80's and renting VHS videos on a Friday evening was a routine thing for our family. Most of the "new release" videos were of films that were in cinemas 6 months ago or more, and none of them were available to purchase in department stores for another 6 months or more. The only people who could purchase a "new release" were the video rental stores and they were not cheap. I remember asking an employee one time how much it cost the store to buy a copy of a new movie, and it was $50-80 for each copy the store purchased.
The concept of "sell through" pricing of movies on VHS didn't become standardized until the early 1990's. Prior to that it was common for a new release on VHS to cost $89. That's probably more like $150 or more in today's dollars. Meanwhile Laserdiscs weren't nearly as expensive, but they weren't widely available either. Countless thousands of video rental stores had their own window of sorts for renting tapes (and even laserdiscs in some cases). The outrageously high rental pricing on VHS tapes was one of the ways Hollywood got its cut of the rental store business. When rental activity died down for a certain title then it would maybe fall to sell through pricing. That would happen about the time the same movie would start showing up on premium cable channels. Video rental stores were at their peak during the late 1980's. Once movie studios did away with rental pricing of VHS tapes that began the long, steady decline of video stores.

When I first moved to Lawton in the early 1990's this small city had a lot of video stores. Many of them were locally owned. A couple of the local players like Super Video had multiple locations. All the mom and pop operations disappeared by the end of the 1990's. Super Video went under in the early 2000's, leaving Blockbuster, Hastings and Hollywood Video as the only rental stores left in town. Then Redbox and Netflix arrived to lay waste to those survivors. Family Video opened in the late 2000's and is now the last video rental store in town. I don't think that store will be around much longer either.

quote: Steve Guttag
There are flaws, in my opinion with the record industry comparison. While good studio time can indeed create a much better product on audio, what it takes for people to create their own music became very cheap, relatively speaking and the avenues to release a single were quite great. The RIAA had very little to bring to the table besides promotion.
I agree that technology has greatly "democratized" music production. Some of the latest audio editing packages, like Maschine Studio or Cakewalk's Sonar Professional will allow you to build up music beds with very realistic sounding virtual instruments. These packages aren't insanely expensive and don't require top of the line computing hardware to run.

On the other hand, it is an absolute bitch for a budding artist or band to get their music heard. Traditional outlets like radio and streaming services are monopolized by the handful of global media companies who also own all the major record labels. These companies have iron-fisted control over what styles of music are to be played. They absolutely hate any music that is fresh and different. They love trying to sell the same old shit. They're not going to market anything that will make huge swaths of their existing music catalog suddenly sound dated.

The music industry was far better prior to 1990. Giant changes in style could happen. The music scene was far more interesting then. It wasn't nearly as much fun for the business people though. One year you're making money hand over fist selling disco. Next year your label is going out of business because you didn't see New Wave and Punk coming. Media companies don't allow any more of that upheaval to happen. But then they're selling far less music now too.

Movie studios should look at that example and see what they're risking by feeding customers more and more sequels, re-makes and other derivative crap. They're falling into the same trap as the music industry.

quote: Steve Guttag
What a studio should be ballsy enough to try on an A-list movie, like Star Wars, is announce that it will have zero home market release for AT LEAST one year. See how THAT affects the cinema ticket sales and then in a 1-2 year time, see how the home release goes (either streaming or physical media). I claim that they will increase sales of the cinema market, for sure (exclusivity) and due to its time out of the market, it will create an entirely second "buzz" for the home release and gen up those sales too. Regardless, the studio will no make less money by the double release but it will delay the back end money.
There are prior, historical examples of this. Look at what Steven Spielberg did with some of his movie releases. He waited for years before releasing E.T.: The Extraterrestrial on VHS. He was catching all kinds of heat from both the public and entertainment press for the embargo. He waited over a year before allowing Saving Private Ryan to be released on DVD, although some of the delay had to do with him being friends with backers of the DiVX shit disc format. Remember that whole ordeal with DiVX? Damn. Anyway, both those releases on VHS and DVD sold lots and lots of copies. Saving Private Ryan was one of the must-have discs for home theater demo material.

quote: Leo Enticknap
My guess is that the studios would be worried about having to suppress pirate distribution for that long; but still, it might be worth trying.
I'm all but certain pirates will be cracking whatever PVOD system the movie studios try to deploy. They're not going to be able to use something nearly as complicated as the encryption system in d-cinema. I can tell you right now consumers aren't going to spend hundreds of dollars on some specialty movie player that only plays $50 PVOD movie rentals. They're going to demand an app that can be loaded on the smart TV, iPad, computer or Roku box they already own. The PVOD stream will have to go over regular HDMI. And the pirates are going to crack it.

quote:
Does anyone besides me think that the abundance of high quality TV shows has anything to do with this shift? Personally I'm going to fewer movies because there's so much good TV available. A movie has ~2 hours to tell a complete and compelling story. TV shows like Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, etc have the luxury of creating more complex characters and story lines. Characters and stories are more important to me these days than flashy movies that are basically empty vessels. Not saying that applies to all movies. But a lot. I can buy an entire season of Better Call Saul for what, $30? That's a lot of entertainment vs. $50 for a single VOD movie.
I think this new "golden age" of TV is definitely having an adverse effect on the movie industry. People have only so much free time to spend on entertainment. They're blowing a lot of the time binge-watching TV series. A 10-14 part season of a TV show on HBO, Netflix, etc. can take a lot more chances with its story and characters than a conventional 2 hour Hollywood movie. The shows are often more unpredictable and edgy than most movies. They can even get away with more regarding sexual and violent content. There is no worry about the dreaded NC-17 on premium cable or streaming services.

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Mike Blakesley
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Posts: 12392
From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 04-07-2017 01:09 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Guttag
What a studio should be ballsy enough to try on an A-list movie, like Star Wars, is announce that it will have zero home market release for AT LEAST one year. See how THAT affects the cinema ticket sales and then in a 1-2 year time, see how the home release goes (either streaming or physical media). I claim that they will increase sales of the cinema market, for sure (exclusivity) and due to its time out of the market, it will create an entirely second "buzz" for the home release and gen up those sales too. Regardless, the studio will no make less money by the double release but it will delay the back end money.
I would love to see them try that. The only "flaw" would be, what if the movie underperformed? I guess they could create a threshold - if it's a sub-$150-million movie, it comes out on video sooner, but if it's a blockbuster, theaters get to keep it longer.

But I can see their point, they feel like their "valuable property" would be sitting in a vault for months while people were out there wanting it...and therefore (they think), pirating it.

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