Warner Bros. Latest Movie Release Strategy? Confuse The Hell Out Of The Market And Prop Up Blockbuster?

from the at-least-that's-what-it-appears-to-be dept

It's tough to figure Warner Bros. out these days. It got both Netflix and Redbox to agree to delay renting new release movies for 28 days in an effort to get more people to purchase DVDs. For this, it got hit with a class action lawsuit. But now comes the news that it's signed a new deal with the financially troubled Blockbuster that has no such restriction. This has lots of people scratching their heads. The obvious answer is that Blockbuster is promising Warner a lot more money...

But there's a bigger issue here, which goes beyond just commentators scratching their heads: this is going to confuse a lot of customers at a time when that's the last thing Warner Bros. should be doing. Your average movie renter isn't paying attention to the silly games that Warner execs are playing, and all they want to know is how come they can't rent the latest release. If Warner somehow convinced all players not to rent until a certain date, then that would effectively have just shifted the release date further back (a dumb move in an age when windows are shrinking... but that's Hollywood for you). However, by having the movie available for rental in some places, but not others, it's now setting itself up for mass customer confusion, where people will hear that a movie is available, but then get pissed off that it's not available in their preferred rental system.

It's as if the folks in Hollywood haven't been paying attention to what happens to companies that aren't providing what their customers want.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 7:06pm

    Considering that Blockbuster is a failing retail business the move is even more questionable. Warner is tying their leaking rowboat to a sinking ship.

     

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  2.  
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    Tankszuba, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 7:07pm

    Umm?

    normally i like to leave a thoughtful comment but... you were expecting Warner to make sense?

     

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  3.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 7:17pm

    It's as if the folks in Hollywood haven't been paying attention to what happens to companies that aren't providing what their customers want. It is kind of like that! Wait a minute...

     

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  4.  
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    zaven (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 7:29pm

    Antitrust Issues

    Since I first heard about this, it seemed to me like an antitrust issue with the movie studio giving special treatment to one company over another? I'm no lawyer so I'm wondering if this is the case.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 8:17pm

    Earth to WB:

    I'm not buying a DVD movie, paying full retail price plus almost 10% in city, county and state sales taxes. If I can't rent the movie from Netflix or buy it used from an Ebay seller, I really won't miss it.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 8:26pm

    Blockbuster shares its revenue with the movie studios. Netflix does not.

    Any questions?

     

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  7.  
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    ervserver (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 8:30pm

    dead dog

    Nobody can save Blockbuster

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 8:31pm

    Of course they are helping blockbuster

    They see Blockbuster as the new up and coming thing. They reinstated late fees, RETURN TO THE OLD WAYS! Next newspapers will only be selling their paper copies there and disband this crazy internet stuffs. Just you wait and see, hard copies will rise again, DOWN WITH THE DIGITAL AGE!!


    /sarcasm

     

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  9.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 8:45pm

    Blockbuster's Last Gasp

    I've said right along that Blockbuster is part of the impetus behind the studios' displeasure with Netflix and Redbox. If collusion can be proved... watch out!

     

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  10.  
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    Simple Mind, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 9:42pm

    chicken or egg

    People are willing to pay if they can get what they want. When they cannot find what they want at pay sites, they just torrent it. Media companies should be working harder to make it easy for people to pay them. Instead they are making it more difficult (or impossible). Stupid move.

     

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  11.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 11:08pm

    THEN to make it more funny

    they divest in DVDRS in canada and thus will have fewer to actually sell.

    YUP good management strategy there....

     

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  12.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 11:08pm

    Maybe Warners plan is to show "see, if we can prop up an obsolete business model, why can't the govt prop up ours?"

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 11:31pm

    its 2002, the world never changes.. owait

     

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  14.  
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    MasBoost, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 12:14am

    All this makes me do is spite Warner Bros, now, not only will I not buy their movies, they wont make my Netflix queue either. Torrents FTW.

     

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    ComputerAddict (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 4:53am

    Mike I think you forgot to add your SarcMark to the end of that post :-)

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 5:45am

    Dear Brothers Warner. I just wanted to let you know that every single movie you're delaying from Netflix and Redbox was already available for free from bittorrent in high def MKV and DVD quality Xvid formats... before the movies were even released for sale.

    Do you really want to make free but high quality bittorrent rips the attractive and rational alternative for consumers? Think about it, please.

     

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  17.  
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    Xan, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 7:23am

    I'll just keep using Netflix.

    Whenever the movie is available for rent through NetFlix is the official release date for me. Until I see it in the New Releases section I don't even think about the movie. This won't change anything for me.

     

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  18.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    Seeing as Blockbuster is closing almost 1,000 stores by the end of this year, exactly what revenue will it be sharing with the movie studios?

     

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  19.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:41am

    Re: Of course they are helping blockbuster

    They can change their name to Blockbuster Retro. DVDs. CDs. Newspapers. Magazines. Books. The content providers will be so happy.

     

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  20.  
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    Wild about NEW movies, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 9:22am

    It's a business, stupid!

    So Netflix and Redbox both agreed to the Warner window, so they could get better pricing and more title depth of OLD movies. Netflix publicly said that over 70% of their demand is for older titles, so what does it matter that they won't be able to offer Warner movies until 28 days later if they are getting a better deal?

    For Blockbuster, they don't just have stores - so have you not been paying attention??? They have a by-mail subscription service too, kiosks with NCR and a very strong a-la-carte digital rental service where the studios get a piece of the pie. If Warner can get a piece of every rental dollar from Blockbuster (and none from Redbox or Netflix) why wouldn't they do such a deal to make the most money on their precious new releases???

    This is a business, and it's up to each vendor to make the hard choices to ensure they can actually make money. Blockbuster is a partner to studios with the revenue sharing agreements. Netflix/Redbox are just customers.

     

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  21.  
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    Joel (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    WB and the Sinking Ship

    This is just going to create more animosity against both companies; the bad part about this is that no one will boycott WB movies...If peopl did that would send them a message.

     

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  22.  
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    The Mad (Patent) Prosecutor, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Mike sometimes over estimates, sometimes under estimates . . .

    Mike:

    Just a somewhat related comment. It seems that sometimes you greatly over estimate the competence of the average consumer, and sometimes greatly under estimate their competence, depending on the point you want to prove.

    I know no specifics of this deal. Seems to me, though, if Blockbuster started a campaign "Blockbuster has new releases four weeks before anyone else," even a so-called "moron in a hurry" would have little confusion that, indeed, Blockbuster has new releases before Netflix, Redbox, etc.

    Of course, this (my opinion) is coming from a guy who thinks if his town was covered in speed cameras to the extent that everytime he ever broke the speedlimit, once he got 12 tickets in a ten day period, he'd make darn sure he slowed down. But, since apparently everyone on TechDirt argued that this would do nothing to slow anyone down, I guess it's (once again) just me.

     

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  23.  
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    Danny, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Blockbuster Online could have mitigated their downward spiral

    with online game rentals. Honestly the only reason I chose Blockbuster over Netflix back with it first started was because I thought they would eventually do online game and movie retals at the same time. But low and behold 6 years later they still haven't gotten the idea. So they lost out on online movies to Netflix and online games to Gamefly. Damn shame...

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    "...However, by having the movie available for rental in some places, but not others, it's now setting itself up for mass customer confusion..."


    "Mass Consumer Confusion" = Mass Consumer Downloading

    Good luck, Mr. and Mr. Warner

     

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  25.  
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    Jerry, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Netfilx

    I am giving up. They are not offering good releases at all anymore.
    Redbox here I come.

     

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