Netflix Caves On DVD New Release Dates With Warner Bros.
Posted 01/07/2010 at 7:03am | by J.R. Bookwalter
If you enjoy getting brand-new DVD releases from Netflix on the day of their release, you might want to start looking elsewhere.
The popular rent-by-mail DVD service has cut a new deal with studio Warner Bros. which will force new release DVDs and Blu-rays to have their availability on Netflix delayed until 28 days after the discs are available in retail stores, according to The Business Insider.
The deal comes as Hollywood is facing a protracted legal battle with kiosk renter Redbox over the very same problem, as more and more customers head to that outlet to pony up $1 per night for any new movie they please, rather than going out to buy it. Redbox hasn’t been as quick to bend to the studios, however, even going so far as to sidestep the studios and acquire new release discs from traditional wholesalers and other outlets.
Hollywood studios continue to lose money on disc sales. Blame it on the economy, consumer boredom with collecting shiny discs, or even a gradual shift toward electronic services such as Apple’s iTunes or even Netflix’s own Watch Now streaming service, which works on the Mac & PC, or to a variety of set-top boxes, televisions and Blu-ray players. The studios claim that 75% of their DVD sales are in the first four weeks a title is available, a number they’d like to see go even higher.
Netflix doesn’t come out of the new deal totally empty-handed, however. They’ll now get a better discount on Warner Bros. discs, and also beef up their streaming catalog with more content from the studio (presumably with older catalog titles instead of newer fare). But Netflix head honcho Reed Hastings anticipates that more studios will come calling for similar deals, especially as home video revenue continues to level off.
In another sign of the troubled times for the DVD business, trade publication Video Business announced yesterday that they’re ceasing publication this week after 29 years of home entertainment coverage.