Blockbuster brags about its windows. But will they help it survive?

Posted in Blu-ray, DVD, Netflix, Redbox, rentals, VOD, Warner by Diane on March 23, 2010

Armed with an updated (presumably) revenue-share agreement with Warner Bros., Blockbuster is squaring off against Netflix and Redbox.

The ailing chain is touting today’s availability of “The Blind Side” at Blockbuster stores, by mail or on demand. Netflix and Redbox, which recently agreed to a 28-day rental window in exchange for improved terms, does not yet have access to the movie, which notched an Oscar win for Sandra Bullock earlier this month.

The question: How much will this new window help the chain, and rental stores in general, compete against popular Netflix and Redbox? Blockbuster is making a big deal out of the fact that it’s the only “multi-channel provider” with access to big movies on street date. But is it really that great a selling point with consumers?

Studios would prefer consumers buy their movies on disc or via download. Barring that, they would prefer consumer rent  movies on demand or at a Blockbuster; the economics are better that way. (Netflix operates on a subscription-based model; Redbox’s bargain pricing is considered a threat to sales, VOD and revenue-sharing rental chains like Blockbuster.)

As for digital: The release carefully notes that existing deals remain in place. The updated deal only applies to DVD and Blu-ray.

So no, bloggers, the studios aren’t really giving Blockbuster scandalously preferential treatment. They’re just agreeing to continue supplying the ailing chain with discs at a time its future looks shaky.

UPDATE: LATimes reports that the new revenue-sharing arrangement improved terms for both parties.

Blockbuster release (via paidContent)


3D overload

Posted in 3D, awards season, Blu-ray, Variety by Diane on January 8, 2010

Between “Avatar” and CES, it’s hard to avoid the 3D hype machine. Does everyone want to watch 3D at home? Consumer electronics companies, and all the studios pumping out 3D movies, sure hope so.

Here are a couple short stories I wrote for Variety about 3D moves: The first is about RealD’s flurry of deals with TV manufacturers, and the second about the movies arriving on 3D Blu-ray this year.

Last, forgot to post a link to this Variety story about those confusing Oscar rules. Do they really have to be so complicated? Oscar members defend themselves.

If they wish hard enough, maybe families WILL watch movies on PS3

Posted in Blu-ray, rentals by Diane on August 26, 2009

ps3consoleSo Sony believes that if they just try a little harder to market PS3 to moms and families, they will sell more Blu-ray discs. Color me skeptical.

Sony has been trying to get that movie market from the start, but the massive sales predicted by studio Blu-ray proponents never came. You know what PS3 owners like to do on their consoles? Play games.

Still, can’t blame Sony for trying to make the most of its price reduction. According to the LAT, the Japanese consumer electronics giant plans to remarket its console as an all-in-one entertainment device. The company gave Ben Fritz a sneak peek at its campaign, which will play up users ability to play games and watch movies on disc or via download. An exec told him research “confirmed there is a larger  proposition under our nose,” confidently adding, “we feel like we can really own entertainment.”

More technology than consumers need?

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