Warner Bros. Claims That Annoying Customers With 28-Day Rental Delay Is Working
from the correlation? dept
Warner Bros. studio was among the more adamant about getting Netflix, Redbox and others to delay rentals of movies until 28-days after the DVD release, in the hopes that it would drive more people to buy. We suggested that was pissing off customers, just at a time when they’re discovering they have (perhaps not very legal) alternatives, and it probably isn’t a great business strategy. However, Khyle points us to the news that Warner Bros. CFO is claiming success with the program, claiming that DVD sales are up 15% following this strategy.
Of course, that leaves out all sorts of important details. Beyond the simple correlation ≠ causation issue, there are so many other variables here, I’d be hesitant to believe that the higher sales were due mostly to this delay. Perhaps there was just a popular movie that people really wanted to own when it came out. Or perhaps there were other promotions. Or, maybe, it’s just a dead cat bounce. Either way, let’s wait and see before declaring that pissing off your customers so much is a good idea.
The best part, though, might be the confident quote from the guy:
“You make money in the film business by putting your content in appropriate windows that matches up with the way consumers like to use it.”
Thing is, he’s got it wrong. It’s not the “windows,” but the different convenience and values that people consider. You can offer “the way consumers like to use it,” all at the same time, if you want. The studios aren’t doing this because they’re so in love with the “windowing” system as a way to price differentiate, that they keep wanting to introduce more and more windows. At some point they’ll realize that this is really dangerous short-term thinking. Pissing off people eventually comes back to bite you.