Warner Bros Extends New Release Window, Makes Consumers Buy Or Wait Two Months

Warner Bros Extends New Release Window, Makes Consumers Buy Or Wait Two Months

What the hell?! Warner Bros. just revamped deals with Redbox, Blockbuster and Netflix effectively doubling the wait time for them to get new releases. What it really means is, they're making you wait longer and trying to force you to buy discs earlier, it sounds underhanded to me at a time when they just seemed to be seeing the light of the modern era. Personally, I'll just boycott new disc purchasing.

I mean seriously, the overall effect is probably going to be heightened piracy. Someone will buy the Blu-Ray, rip it and off it will go round the world. Those who were tired of waiting 28 days are certainly going to be far from pleased with having to wait 56 days and so, will turn to piracy. Maybe this is their ploy and then they can say "See we NEED SOPA!" (which we don't, that bill is horrible, just go read it.)

What I think they fail to realize is that consumers who buy is not equal to consumers who rent or stream. For example, I hate discs. I think they are nothing but archaic clutter and since I'm never going to star on Hoarders, I don't buy. There are very, very few movies/TV that I will watch enough times to warrant purchasing a full physical package and I can name them on one hand - Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Cowboy Bebop, Doctor Who (I have them all, so far, so no new sales from me). Everything else I watch ends up regularly on places like AMC or FX. Well, the majority of my viewing is on BBC America and on-demand actually so I'm not a normal consumer I guess.

Basically, it sounds like Warner Bros. wants to force consumers to buy discs and get the Ultraviolet digital copy included instead of going and paying someone else [Netflix, Redbox] to get their content. They apparently fail to realize that there are a vast number of consumers like me, consumers who only want a digital version and who don't need all the garbage they stuff onto a Blu-Ray, just because they have the space. I'm not saying that it's all crap and I'm not saying that it's all consumers. They seem to believe that this move will bolster DVD/Blu-Ray sales.

BZZZTT! Someone who has Netflix, is not going to buy the discs either way. That's the whole point of having a Netflix account, so you can rent them and not have to buy them. $8 a month means you could, if you're vigilant and quick, watch a half dozen movies in a month (5 day turnaround of receive, watch, return). If we wanted to buy all of those discs it would be $150-200 a month. See the difference WB? Apparently not.

What I think the real problem is that they get paid just once from Netflix when they buy a stack of wholesale discs in bulk for rental. They think that by pushing it all off for another month they can get more sales because people would rather buy than rent?

On top of all that, this new deal doesn't even guarantee streaming rights to all the content. According to All Things D:

This time around, though, Warner won't be granting any additional digital rights to the studios. It will simply be offering them the ability to buy discs in bulk, at a significant discount to retail pricing, like they already do.

Anyone else have a feeling that it's like 1999?

If they were to say, sell standalone Ultraviolet versions, for a reasonable price (as in, way below the physical packaging in line with the lack of disc, packaging, logistics and shipping) I might buy more. I might even buy before renting was available. $10, sure. $15, probably not. $16 for Green Lantern? Hell no. I mean, it was OK, but not $16 worth of OK.

Think about it, they don't have to pay licensing fees for the disc technology, don't have to pay for printing of the package, shipping of the package, returns, etc. Whittle all that out of the equation and $10 seems good. Then again, there haven't been all that many movies that I've even deemed worthy of my time and money to go see in a theater, why would I pay just about the same amount to watch it at home?

Speaking of yanking chains, HBO, also part of the Time Warner pseudo-monopoly, has ceased to sell to Netflix altogether. Now, Netflix will have to get their HBO discs like the rest of us, from retail. No more wholesale discount for them. I'm guessing that they can still get a discount from a major retailer if they're going to order a thousand at a crack. The two view each other at chief rivals. Of course, HBO already has an ass-backward view of it all because in order to get HBO Go (their digital service) you must subscribe to their pay TV channels. It's like the Friday Follies here! Perhaps if they'd unbundle they'd see far more revenue, but they don't want to cut into the profits of Time Warner Cable it seems.

Perhaps the whole lot of them should deny wholesale deals to the disc rental places, and then we'll see just how well they, the studios, do in disc sales. I mean, if Netflix, Redbox and Blockbuster can't turn a profit on the rentals, they might just drop down to a small number of each further cutting into the bottom line for WB and their ilk.

What this means for online video content providers is, far more time to get your original content in front of those consumers who will wait the two months. They'll certainly be looking around for other things to watch in the mean time, so why not pump out some quality content and get them hooked. They might even forget they ever wanted to buy some of the rubbish that studios like WB put out

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About the Author -
Christophor Rick is a freelance writer specializing in technology, new media, video games, IPTV, online video advertising and consumer electronics. His past work has included press releases, copy-writing, travel writing and journalism. He also writes novel-length and short fiction as part of Three-Faced Media . View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Glenn Arcaro

    "Make your customers happy? What's that? " lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647021009 John Robins

    hmmmm - I'm not sure I fully understand this move on any level. If WB were going to create the WB online channel and then start charging for streaming/direct download from their own website I could sort of see why they would offer secondary, delayed sales/distribution to other online channels. But trying to force us back into shops to by discs, blimey! Next thing you know they'll be buying up a few old vinyl companies! Surely this is just going to increase the likelihood of pirating?

    As a consumer that only buys/watches movie and TV content online. There is no chance I am ever going back to a store to buy a disc of any kind. There is more good material being distributed/sold online than I can ever watch so surely all this will do is reduce customers.

    In the same way that Apple keep on forcing themselves into niche customer scenarios through a megalomanic approach to products and marketing, this seems like a similar, but less viable strategy. Perhaps I am missing something, I am not an expert, but certainly it wont work for me, or many viewers that I connect with.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=796829185 Melissa Ziarno

      Shamefully even IKEA appears more visionary - I don't think they even produce or sell CD/DVD racks anymore!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647021009 John Robins

      @ Liam, I hear what you are saying, but actually supporting legitimate online distribution channels and making content available online at reasonable prices is the fastest way to cut down piracy. Taking stuff off the web will have the reverse effect and gambling on SOPA at this stage is extremely optimistic.

  • http://www.danieltwoods.com Daniel Woods

    I think your story might be wrong look here: http://m.deadline.com/2012/01/allthingsd-warner-bros-pacts-with-netflix-and-others-to-extend-dvd-release-window/

    But on the other hand not good to wait 56 Days.