Oct 23, 2009

DVD Rental May Be Delayed to Up Revenue

From The LA Times:

In an effort to push consumers toward buying more movies, some major film studios are considering a new policy that would block DVDs from being offered for rental until several weeks after going on sale.

Under the plan, new DVD releases would be available on a purchase-only basis for a few weeks, after which time companies such as Blockbuster Inc. and Netflix Inc. would be allowed to rent the DVDs to their customers. The move comes as the studios are grappling with sharply declining DVD revenue, which has long propped up the movie business.

I'm just shooting from the hip here, but this seems like a very bad, ill-advised, and quite bewildering turn of events. This new policy - I'll call it DVD Blue Balls - may work for the first few DVD releases, but one people (smart enough to use Netflix instead of Blockbuster) will just mentally change the release date to "seven weeks later" and just wait for the movie, rather than rush out to buy it.

There are movies that I will buy. I'll go to a local (chain) establishment and pluck the DVD from the rack and pay for it, regardless if I COULD rent it or not. If the movie is worth buying, I'll get it the same day.

If not, though, I usually won't buy it at all, and I usually don't have a burning desire to see the movies I didn't buy, so I could totally wait the seven weeks to see it. I'm not everybody, I know, but I still probably buy more movies than most people, and I think this is a demonstrably silly proposal, so I can't wait to snicker at its imminent failure. I do hate that the movie industry is losing money, but initiating such backwards policies makes them a necessary and deserved target.

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