CONSUMED BY MEDIA

Netflix got what it wanted. Will other retailers follow suit?

Posted in DVD, Netflix, Redbox, rentals, studios by Diane on January 6, 2010

Remember when Netflix CEO Reed Hastings talked about studio plans for a DVD sales window?

At the time, his comments seemed incredibly self-serving: Warner Bros. was already trying to impose a window on Netflix and other subscription-based rental services. If stores renting movies on a disc by disc basis followed suit, Netflix wouldn’t be operating under a competitive disadvantage.

So Hastings talked about the advantages of such a scheme. “If we can agree on low-enough pricing,” the LAT quoted Hastings saying, “delayed rental could potentially increase profits for everyone.”

And maybe Hastings could get more access to movies for streaming purposes, which is what HE really wanted. Under the vagaries of studio window policies, Netflix has access to movies for a limited period.

Sure enough, that’s what happened. Netflix, Ben Fritz reported in the LAT, got a price break, and more content for its streaming service. Don’t be surprised if other studios broker similar deals with Netflix, and potentially Redbox as well.

The question remains, however, whether ailing chains like Blockbuster will take a similar deal. Even if they did, however, I would expect indies to try and find ways to subvert any DVD sales window studios attempt to impose on rentailers industrywide.

Earlier: Studios playing with fire: Why a DVD rental window is a bad idea; Now we know: WB insisting on a 28-day kiosk windowStudios are trying to withhold movies from Redbox. Is this wise?

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