Blockbuster Weeps As Comcast Offers On-Demand Films Same Day As DVD Release

from the demand-it-and-it-will-come dept

Comcast has been beefing up their video-on-demand offerings this year, launching several barely exciting initiatives such as politicians holding babies on demand and high-definition art on demand. With the popularity of VOD content exploding, they’ve gained some negotiating leverage with major studios, and are now exploring the possibility of offering on-demand movies the same day they come out on DVD, for the same price as a traditional rental. Tinkering with the sacred institution of theater film release windows traditionally hasn’t sat well in the industry, so it will be interesting to see if Comcast has enough financial muscle to move this out of two city (Pittsburgh and Denver) trials. This 30- to 45-day gap that exists between DVD release and VOD release is the bread and butter for brick and mortar retailers like Blockbuster, but becomes increasingly absurd with the growth of VOD and on-line distribution. What is the point of such a release window when the goal is to reach the maximum number of viewers? Just give the users what they want, when they want it, in the format they demand.

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Comments on “Blockbuster Weeps As Comcast Offers On-Demand Films Same Day As DVD Release”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Just like most film development shops in the age of digital photography, video rental places are going to slowly go the way of the buffalo. However, probably not quite so quickly. Rental stores have TONS of older movies around that you’ll never find on VOD. And I doubt VOD systems will be able to archive releases for as long as rental places can. And of course there’s the fact that there’s an awful lot of people in this world who can’t afford fancy cable and VOD services, and just want to rent a movie once in a while to play on their little $40 DVD player and 15″ TV (i.e. us poor people). That’s not even counting video games and other stuff that rental places have. Granted, something like this will hurt rental stores, but it won’t put them out of business for quite a while. Or at least not all of them.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

VOD Doesn't Have The Selection?

RE: “stores have TONS of older movies around that you’ll never find on VOD.”

The suggestion that a Brick and Mordor store has better selection than a VOD service is an opinion stuck in 2006.

It’s like saying Pop’s Corner Bookstore has more books than

In fact, one of the main benefits of VOD and digital delivery is access to the “long tail” of content. For now, Comcast and friends are limited in what they offer, but VOD has the ability to offer basically any movie ever made, at your home, when you want it…for a price. A VOD retailer is like a video store with unlimited floor space. Within a couple of years, the business models will flesh out, and the content will become more available. There are already numerous stores selling old films on the Internet.

Block and Buster stores are always limited to the square footage they lease…more and more of which is devoted to DVD sales, games, and candy.

anon says:

I will never understand the appeal of non traditional music/movie purchases. It is a one time expenditure, and you OWN the media, to do with as you see fit. I would much rather just wait 6 months until the novelty of a new release has worn off, then purchase it on DVD or CD to enjoy in my own home as many times as I want with no additional cost. All this on demand bullshit requires an e fucking normous monthly subscription fee, and usually comes with all kinds of other BS features that you don’t want.

Lyle Holmes (user link) says:

I Want My dammit!

The reason the studios don’t release DVD and VOD day and date is that they will make less money. VOD, with the studio participating in the revenue, is just another source of rental income. The studios don’t want the rental income — they would be happy if rental went away all together. DVD is where the studios make their money — the sale of DVD. With VOD revenue splitting, the studios would (my estimate) have to see seven or eight VOD rentals to equal the revenue earned from one DVD sale. They are concerned, rightfully so, that VOD will erode DVD sales. Further, streaming/downloading VOD could have the unintended consequence of commoditizing video rentals. If you could “rent” a VOD for $2 or less, why buy the DVD?

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