Hollywood's Strategy: Missing The Point
from the head-in-the-sand dept
There’s a battle going on in Hollywood over the staggered release of movies — first putting a movie out in theaters, then releasing it later on DVD, then later on pay-per-view and so on. The disagreement stems from the thought that studios would be cannibalizing theater revenues by making movies available on DVD at the same time they’re in cinemas, and instead of competing with DVD sales by improving the movie-going experience, they’d rather rely on the artificial protection of windowed releases. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that movie studios and cable companies are “discussing strategies to release movies through video-on-demand cable services the same day they come out on DVD”. Is it any wonder that nothing changes in Hollywood when movie studios have to have a “strategy” for something so simple? Again, they’re worried about cannibalization, this time thinking that people watching movies on video-on-demand won’t buy the same film on DVD. But that shows their typical misunderstanding. After all, a person watching a movie on video-on-demand isn’t likely to want to own it for posterity, and isn’t going to shell out $20 to watch a DVD one time — even if they can’t get the film from VOD, they could go to a video store and rent it. What the movie business fails to understand is that sales aren’t like a seesaw: when one area goes up, something else doesn’t necessarily go down. It stands to gain the most by doing a better job of catering to its audience — whether those people prefer to watch movies in theaters, on DVD or from video-on-demand.