Warner Delaying New Releases to Blockbuster-Treating It Now Just Like Netflix/Redbox - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:39 AM
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Default Warner Delaying New Releases to Blockbuster-Treating It Now Just Like Netflix/Redbox

Warner Delaying New Releases to Blockbuster
26 Oct, 2011

By: Erik Gruenwedel

Warner Home Video reportedly will impose for the first time a 28-day embargo on new release movies to Blockbuster and other video stores beginning Nov. 1.

The embargo, which was first reported by Home Media Magazine Sept. 23, would include new releases Crazy, Stupid, Love Nov. 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 Nov. 11, among others.

An employee of a Blockbuster store in Laguna Niguel, Calif., confirmed that a distribution agreement with WHV granting the chain access to new releases 28-days before Redbox and other kiosks had expired. He said it was his understanding that Dish Network Corp., owner of Blockbuster LLC, was working on an interim solution and that new release Warner titles would be available on street date.

Reports in the Los Angeles Times and Financial Times indicated the solution included buying new release titles at retail and then renting them, which is allowed under the First Sale Doctrine.

Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, told the FT that Blockbuster “rather than work with us … went around us.”

Warner, which has long advocated buttressing physical sellthrough and transactional video-on-demand, apparently changed its tune toward Blockbuster after the chain rolled out its Movie Pass platform, including a subscription VOD component.

Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes has been a long-time critic of SVOD – spearheaded by Netflix
– characterizing the channel as a low margin alternative best suited for catalog programming with limited retail or syndication value.

It still remains unclear whether Warner, beginning in January, would impose a planned 60-day embargo on new release titles to all rental channels or just kiosks.

The studio’s deals with Redbox and Netflix expire at the end of the year.

A Dish/Blockbuster spokesperson declined comment; a WHV rep was not immediately available for comment.
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:45 AM
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FT article:

Warner stops giving Blockbuster latest films


Warner Brothers has stopped supplying discs of its latest releases to Blockbuster after the DVD rental chain refused to agree to a 28-day delay between the films going on sale and their availability to rent.

The move is the first step taken by Warner Bros to stimulate retail sales and make owning film content more appealing to consumers. It will be followed by efforts to expand similar release “windows” already in place with other movie rental services, such as Netflix and Redbox.

Blockbuster has rejected the Hollywood studio’s request for a 28-day window and has instead bought discs of Horrible Bosses and The Green Lantern on the open market in order to rent them to its customers.
“They felt it was important to continue to offer day and date rental so rather than work with us they went around us,”
said Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner Bros Home Entertainment. Blockbuster declined to comment.


“The question is: how do we make ownership more valuable and attractive?” said Mr Tsujihara. “We have started the process of creating a window in bricks-and-mortar DVD and Blu-ray rental.”

Horrible Bosses and The Green Lantern are the first two titles to be released by Warner Bros through the Ultra Violet service, which allows consumers to store the movies in a cloud-based locker and watch them on a device of their choosing.

Hollywood has pinned its hopes on Ultra Violet to arrest the slump in DVD sales. But with an increasing number of consumers choosing subscription rental services – such as Netflix – over ownership, the industry has to convince consumers that buying movies represents good value for money.


Netflix currently has to wait 28 days to make Warner Bros titles available to its subscribers. Mr Tsujihara indicated that the studio wanted to increase that window. “The Netflix and Redbox deals are going to be expiring at the end of the year and beginning of next year and it’s likely we will try to extend those windows,” he said.

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Old 10-27-2011, 04:48 AM
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LA Times

Warner Bros. withholds films from Blockbuster

October 26, 2011 | 3:38 pm

Warner Bros. doesn't want to make it a Blockbuster night.

The studio has said it will no longer authorize the video store chain to carry its new movies when they are released on DVD. At issue is Warner Bros.' desire to have outlets such as Blockbuster offer its films only for sale for the first 28 days of release before allowing consumers to rent titles. Netflix and Redbox also have to wait 28 days before offering Warner Bros. titles for rent.

Warner Bros. has long enforced this policy with Redbox and other outlets, but this marks the first time it has played hardball with Blockbuster, which was recently sold to satellite broadcaster Dish Network.

That Warner Bros. made this move soon after Blockbuster announced plans to create its own online streaming service to compete with Netflix is no coincidence. When Blockbuster was strictly a retail outlet, Warner Bros. was friendlier toward it because it wanted the video chain — which has struggled financially — to survive and compete against Netflix and Redbox.

Blockbuster is apparently taking matters into its own hands and buying up copies of Warner Bros. releases to stock the shelves in its stores. A spokesman for Dish declined to comment.

Warner Bros. has indicated that it will seek to increase the length of the 28-day window with Netflix and Redbox when it negotiates new deals with the two companies later this year.

The Financial Times first reported this story.

— Joe Flint
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Old 10-27-2011, 04:50 AM
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related older article LA Times

Dish and Blockbuster to offer new service to challenge Netflix

September 23, 2011 | 12:22 pm

Seeking to challenge Netflix without undermining its own satellite television business, Dish Network has launched a new service, available only to its television subscribers, that will stream movies and TV and send DVDs by mail under its newly acquired Blockbuster unit.

Called "Blockbuster Movie Pass," the service includes DVDs and video games by mail along with 3,000 movies and television shows available to stream on TV and an additional 1,000 for computer. It will launch Oct. 1.

The offering costs $10 per month, the same price that Netflix previously charged for a combined streaming and DVD service before it unexpectedly raised the price in July, leading to a public outrage and the loss of an expected 400,000 subscribers by the end of September.

To entice new Dish subscribers, the Blockbuster Movie Pass will be free to them for the first year.

Because the new offering is only available to people who subscribe to Dish for at least $39.99 per month, its appeal may be low to those who are currently happy with their cable or DirecTV services or already use Netflix alone.

Dish Network, which has 14 million subscribers, acquired Blockbuster for $320 million in April at a bankruptcy court auction.

At a news conference held in San Francisco, Blockbuster President Michael Kelly said the company is working on a similar subscription offering for non-Dish subscribers that will launch in the future.

Acquiring movies and TV shows for such a service is costly, however, as Netflix investors have learned. But because Blockbuster Movie Pass is tied to a Dish subscription, the company can offer content to which it already has the rights to through program deals for its satellite TV business.

Netflix currently offers more than 12,000 movies and TV shows for its streaming subscribers, significantly more than Dish has. It also has signed some exclusive agreements for series like "Mad Men" and movies from independent studios including Relativity Media.

But Blockbuster Movie Pass will have a key advantage: Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures movies from Starz, which recently announced it will end its Netflix agreement when it expires in February. The Dish-Blockbuster offering will also have Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films from those studios' pay channel Epix, which also provides content to Netflix.

Blockbuster's television shows will come from networks including Fox, A&E, TNT and AMC.

In addition to getting DVDs, Blu-ray discs and video games through the mail, subscribers will be able to swap discs at the more than 1,500 Blockbuster stores still operating in the U.S.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:38 AM
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Hmmmm. Sure doesn't sound like the studios are happy with disc sales. We get a different picture painted around this place. Interesting article. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:59 AM
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I don't see making the delay 60 days adding any significant increase in disc sales. The sales to rental ratio is still 15/20 to 1. The economy hasn't improved. People's disposable cash hasn't increased. And there are so many different choices for consumers to get their "entertainment fix" today. I just see this move by WB as another anti-consumer greed based one. Call it an act of desperation if you will. LOL - most of the crap coming out of Hollywood these days isn't worth paying a premium to see anyways (purchase versus rental).

Who has more patience . . . a Hollywood studio or a consumer?
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:12 AM
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Wow deja vu, it wasn't that long ago that Redbox and Warner were playing the same cat and mouse game. I assume the next phase will be Warner strong arming retail establishments into not selling to Blockbuster and then an eventual deal for Blockbuster to get price reduced films after 28 days.

The various home video distribution companies (netflix, blockbuster, red box, etc..) just really seem to have a difficult time grasping that they live or die at the whims of the studios. Blockbuster should have just inked a deal for the 28 day releases, now they're just peeing off Warner management which will hurt them when they finally capitulate on the discs later. Plus they'll have to negotiate with the same people when they're trying to get streaming product. Brilliant.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:22 AM
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Good going, Warner! Just looking at one torrent on one website, Horrible Bosses has 868k downloads. And that's one out of the 50+ ones posted. Betcha that's more people who downloaded the movie than bought it on Blu-ray. Just off a single torrent. And now, you want to tell consumers to wait even longer at another place if they want to rent it? Good luck with that. All they are doing is allowing consumers the time to find other alternatives to watching their films.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:04 PM
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It wouldn't suprise me if Fox and Universal place delays on Blockbuster as well.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:32 PM
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I look forward to 2012 when there is a 180 delay on rentals from every studio. I just dropped Blockbuster last week because they were taking 4 days to send me a movie. I think I'll continue to use Vudu/Amazon for those few titles that I really want to see right away when they hit video. Otherwise, I can wait them out.

It's pretty amazing that back in the VHS hey day, everything was basically rental only, and then a loooong wait to purchase. Now the studios want things reversed.
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